I had a dinner with my grandparents a couple of days ago. Besides a lovely meal and lots of wine they also asked me about my plans for the future. They wanted to know where I was working and if I was planning on staying there. They wanted to make sure I was paying all my insurances and saved money for my pension. And they asked me what kind of career I wanted to strive for and what I expected from my life.
Today I was sick at home and could not help myself but to watch cheesy love movies to keep myself entertained. And I felt like I discovered what I would call the comfort problem: The young couple falls in love. They fight their way to their loved one against all odds and after some misunderstandings and complications they finally fall into each other´s arms. THE END.
This is where comfort kicks in. Now the both of them are comfortable – and will live happily ever after. And I find myself planning and striving for this kind of comfort.
That´s what many people see as the ultimate goal in life. You know, having enough money to live without worrying. For most of us that means being able to pay your bills, finding a reliable partner, that we can come home to and who loves us unconditionally. Oh and let´s top it all off with some amazing children and a friendly social circle. What could be more comfortable than that?
Dreaming the dream is more exciting than living the dream
Why do so many people including myself believe life will just be roses and teddy-bears once you´ve built up to that so anticipated level of comfort? Actually, in my case, it has often been quite the opposite. Let´s take moving into an apartment with a romantic partner. Creating the idea was – exciting! Playing around with the idea in our imagination – simply wow! Apartment hunting and furnishing the place – lots of fun! But when it came to the act of REALLY living together… that´s when things all of the sudden were not so exciting anymore. Sure, I´d give it a couple of months. We can call it the “honeymoon phase”. That´s the time when you still wake up to your spous and say things like “Honey, I am so happy to live with you. You are the best person and partner I could wish for.” or “Good morning new flatmate – what shall we do today?”. But (in my case) things quickly turned sour and conversations were more about who should be doing the dishes this time or fights about who forgot to water the cactus. (NOT me.)
Yes yes, I know what you will say. Such is life and this is just everyday routine. That´s how it is and we all have to cope with it. But guys, I am not so sure about that. Maybe it´s just our extreme high level of comfort that leads us to complain about the little things? Or are we just too bored with our lives?
Maybe comfort should not be the ultimate goal after all.
But if not comfort – What goal could there be instead? I was about to create a goal for me and my year of 2015. However, when I tried to think about goals for myself, I paniced. I did not want any of these comfortable goals. The goals I want to create for myself are way beyond what I believed to be possible for me. So I had to open my mind and think a bit differently. A goal does not have to follow the traditional way of doing things. What is it that would truly make me happy? And that´s when I realized my goal could be to stay open to different possibilities. A NOT-goal so to say. I decided not to give in to the comfort of having a little box to creep into thinking “gosh, I am happy I finally put a lable on myself”. Instead I will be out there, boxless. Or you can put me into the “other” box if you wish. I´ll keep my mind open to new ideas and possibilities in the meanwhile.
Avoiding comfort is not the solution
However, avoiding comfort in a 21st century western country is pretty unrealistic. We are born into a world where materialistic discomfort plays a minor role. It was complete chance to be born into this kind of world. And I do not take it for granted. It is luxury we live in and luxury to be thinking about all this. This article was not born out of a “simpler-life-nostalgia”. And I am not telling people to stay away from comfort in order to live some kind of Ghandi anti-materialistic lifestyle in order to reach true happiness. Nevertheless, I do encourage you to see beyond the traditional goals of comfort like paying your bills, buying a house etc. And eventually create your own goals that you truly believe in and that will guide you to become a better version of yourself.
We were suggested a trip to the desert and were both very excited for it since we have never been to a desert before.
The plan for the desert was to get there with a minibus and a group of approximately 15 people. Then we would sleep in a berber tent and drive back the same day. Some camel riding and nice views in the atlas mountains included. We were hooked and booked the package for 50€ each.
It´s funny, usually I am not a big fan of organized group activities where some travel guide is herding you around. But since we only have a week in Morocco and we want to see as much as possible – I was kind of happy about someone taking decisions for me.
Two full days on the bus – yep, that´s what I signed up for
The trip started early in the morning and as we only realized later on the distance to the desert was about 350 kilometers. Driving in a tourist bus with constant pee breaks and other breaks for snacks, lunch and picture taking means the distance was to be covered in the following 8 hours. Nevertheless, the drive was beautiful!
Winter is winter – even in the desert
We came to Morocco to escape the German winter for a bit. And our gamble was pretty good. During the days temperatures rose up to 20 degrees celsius. Definitely sunglasses weather. What we kind of forgot to put into the equasion of our desert trip was that temperatures during the night went down to freezing. And we were sleeping in a tent. Good that the Berber people gave us one woolen blanket.
We had a most interesting night with lots of shivers. Eventually we made it to the next day and the Berbers were already waiting in the food-tent for us with hot tea. We all warmed our feet up a bit before getting back on the camel and then back to our bus to drive us to Marrakech. The busride back was a well-used opportunity to catch up on last night´s missed out sleep.
I enjoyed the desert trip very much as an experience. Next time I think I´d rent my own car to drive when and where I want instead of being stuck to a group. And now I know that a desert is not always hot. It can be really cold as well. And then it´s good to have a warm camel in the area to keep you warm.
It´s a new year… And a new year can become a great year when starting it off with a new journey. That´s why my friend and I decided to take a girls trip to Morocco!
When we arrived in Marrakesh we were completely overwhelmed by … well, by E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G. To be honest, the way from the airport to the little riad we had booked was an adventure in itself. The taxi dropped us off at the “entrance” of the so called Medina – Marrakech´s old town with hundreds of small alleys. Then the driver handed us over to a little old man with a mideaval-looking cart. He put our luggage on the cart and lead us through hundreds of people who were casually strolling over the big market place Djemaa el Fna, dressed-up monkeys, dancing snakes, playing children and pregnant women. On top of all this there is also cars honking, motorbikes weaving through masses of people, and donkey carts transporting goods to shops. We felt lost here.
The old man carrier guy brought us to our riad, a moroccan guest house, and waited for his tip that he already suggested to deserve since we were half-way there. Exhausted we gave him a 1€ piece which he seemed to be happy with. Then, we were positively surprised that the riad Alamanda looked exactly as promised on the pictures.
Oh boy was I exhausted from our little walk. I felt like hiding in the hostel. The world out there just seemed too much. But we decided we needed to get some cash from the ATM and get a feeling for the crazy place out there. So we dared the first walk in the Medina on our own…