I Live Where?

Brennan Weiss
October 31, 2014

As midterms come to a close and fall break approaches, all anyone can think about is Europe. Milan, Madrid, Barcelona, Florence, Paris, and Amsterdam – these are among the places to which some of my classmates are going. As much as I’ve emphasized traveling in my previous blog posts, I want to instead devote this one to pointing out the importance of staying in one place.

Traveling within and outside Morocco is part of the reason many others and I chose to study in Rabat. There is not doubt about that. But I think sometimes we forget that we actually live in one of North Africa’s most important cities.

I’ll be honest. The urge to get up and go somewhere new is always on my mind. Even when I am visiting a new place, I’m thinking about where I could go next. There’s no better feeling than that anxious, excitable sensation that gets shot up in my bones just before every trip. Yes, it may impede my focus during midterms, but it’s worth it.

Most of us spent last weekend eating, swimming, dancing and watching soccer by the beachfront. (photo courtesy of Sam Macfarlane)

Last May, New York Times travel writer Stephanie Rosenbloom said, “Taking a vacation won’t necessarily make you happier. But anticipating it will.”

As counterintuitive as this sounds, there is some truth to it. It’s the romanticization of a faraway place that tricks us into believing that life is somehow better elsewhere; but we soon discover that places really aren’t that different.

We also discover that traveling isn’t always a reprieve from the stress and rigors of our normal routines. This often leaves us exhausted, even excited to return home by the end of our trip.

That’s why this past weekend was so much fun. For the first time in what felt like eternity, I didn’t have a train to catch. I didn’t have to book any hostels or worry about getting ripped off by some scamming taxi driver. I, and most everyone else, stayed in Rabat and lived.

A few of us played soccer in a Salé gym. I went kayaking in the ocean…for free. We all gathered Saturday night to watch the highly anticipated Barcelona v Madrid Champions League match, eat dinner at one of the beachfront surf clubs and relax by a beach bonfire.

After the Barcelona-Madrid game, we turned the restaurant into a dance club. (photo courtesy of Sam Macfarlane)

One of my biggest fears of returning to the States is being asked the question, “So tell me about Rabat?” and not knowing what to say. Of course I’ll be able to recall the popular tourist sites, describe my classes and elaborate on my experience living with a family, but more importantly, will I be able to report on the culture of the locals? Will I be able to recommend a good hotel or restaurant?  Will I be able to give directions to someone who wants to get from A to B? Will I be able to suggest an off-the-beaten-path excursion?

That’s what these types of weekends are meant for- to be able to answer these questions.

Now with all this said, let’s go to Europe.

“Too often…I would hear men boast of the miles covered that day, rarely of what they had seen.” – Louis L’Amour

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Brennan Weiss

<p><span style="color: rgb(29, 29, 29); font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal; background-color: rgb(237, 237, 237);">My name is Brennan Weiss and I am an aspiring international news reporter from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. I am a Journalism major with French and Global Studies minors at Marist College in Poughkeepsie, New York. Since spending my freshman year of university in Florence, Italy, I&rsquo;ve grown to love adventure and travel. I hope my work as an international journalist allows me to navigate the world endlessly until every culture, land, and people has been met.</span></p>

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