Traveling Trauma

Camille Smith
February 7, 2016

It’s easy to romanticize traveling. And travel is indeed a beautiful, wonderful, enriching thing. You become exposed to fascinating new people, cultures, experiences, languages, food (very important), architecture, you name it. However, there is absolutely nothing romantic or idealistic about the logistics of travel.

I thought I’d seen the worst of it. I’ve gotten stuck in Houston for over 12 hours while a blizzard hit the Midwest canceling every flight I tried to take home. I’ve slept in London Heathrow in order to catch an early flight and avoid paying 80+ pounds for a cab. I’ve dealt with other ridiculously long layovers, delays, traffic jams, flat tires, etc. at the worst times in the worst places. But, believe it or not, after just one leg of my trip to Morocco, I’d have say this experience already takes the cake.

Shockingly, no airlines run directly from Ohio to Morocco; who would’ve thought? So my trip was booked in three segments. First, from Columbus to Boston, then Boston to Paris, and finally, Paris to Rabat. Even before all of this was an hour and a half drive from my hometown to the airport, so I had a long journey ahead. Little did I know just how long it was going to end up being.

It’s safe to say the day I departed for Morocco quickly became one of the most stressful days of my life. I was already running on high adrenaline and energy—I mean I was leaving for MOROCCO alone for 4 months. Then, the man at the check in counter at the Columbus airport freaked me out and vehemently insisted I would not get into Morocco without a visa (and almost didn’t let me go through security) no matter how much I showed him evidence otherwise—flashforward: I only spent 30 seconds at the customs desk in Rabat upon arrival, no questions asked, just a passport stamp and a “Bienvenue au Maroc.” So take that cranky man at CMH. Unfortunately, he ended up being the least of my troubles.

After finally getting in to my gate and waiting for a while, I found out my flight had been delayed by 10 minutes. Alright, no sweat. Then it was delayed 10 more. Slight panic. As I get up and head to the gate desk, I see the flight has now been delayed an hour. I only had an hour-and-fifteen-minute long layover to begin with, so full panic mode commenced. This was everything that I was hoping wouldn't happen. The woman at the desk couldn’t do anything for me, because at this point in the evening, flying to Boston and trying to catch my flight was the only option. And I did get to Boston, but I didn’t make my connection. Instead, I got put up in a hotel for the night. I couldn’t get to Paris until the next flight 24 hours in advance in order to catch the only flight to Rabat that leaves from Paris each morning. I couldn’t believe that after spending all day anxious and mentally preparing myself to be in a foreign country within a matter of hours, I’d be stuck alone that night in the States. On top of this, I was going to miss out on the first day of my program: the first activities planned, exploring, and meeting the people I’d be spending the next semester with. The most frustrating part of the sitation was that it was all out of my control. I was livid, distressed, and exhausted all at the same time, but I accepted my fate and trudged my way over to the hotel to get some sleep.

And finally, after another 24 hours of traveling, 8 of which were spent at the Boston airport because my hotel kicked me out at noon and my flight wasn’t until late evening, I MADE IT TO RABAT. Oh, this was also after I sprinted through the Paris airport after waiting in the security line for the wrong terminal, managing to not miss my flight a second time. I was slightly (very) delusional after not sleeping for about two days, but I made it. That night I skipped dinner and went to bed at 5 PM so I could finally start to feel human again.

So here I am in Morocco! I’m so happy to have finally made it safe and sound after everything I endured to get here. I’m currently in Meknes and I will stay here until Saturday for our orientation week. It took me a while to get around to finishing this post because this week has been such a whirlwind and I’ve had limited wifi and sleep (sleep just hasn’t been in my vocabulary so far on this trip.) It’s been a blast so far and everywhere has been equally breathtaking and exciting. As a recap, I’ve already been to Rabat, Meknes, Volubilis, and Fez in my 5 days here. And to think this is just the beginning of my adventure! Enough storytelling for today, though. Time to go study for my Survival Moroccan Arabic course! Beslama!

More Blogs From This Author

View All Blogs

Camille Smith

<p>Assalamu Alaikum, Bonjour, Hello! I&#39;m Camille and I&#39;m currently in my second year studying Political Science and International Studies at Loyola University Chicago. I&#39;m thrilled to be spending my semester in Rabat, Morocco and hope you all enjoy hearing about my journey! Expect bad puns and lots of pictures of food.</p>

2016 Spring
Home University:
Loyola University Chicago
International Studies
Political Science
Explore Blogs