I was feeling miserable, lying in fetal position on our mini couch. Being sick is never fun, especially not in a cramped Volkswagen van. The thermometer showed a serious fever. I could not remember the last time I had suffered one. There were two possibilities: either I had washed my hands with soap too little (I could very much imagine that the dingy place in Marrakesh where we had stayed for some nights had not contributed to my health resistance) or all the impressions of the past two weeks traveling in Morocco had demanded the better of me. In the first week we drove at a good pace from Tangier to Marrakesh because my sister would arrive, and the week after we had taken her on a fantastic tour around the Atlas Mountains, including desert and coastline, to seven days later bring her back at the airport again.
Those sorts of things always seem awesome in advance, even though you never really think them through. And that’s where it goes wrong. A thousand kilometers in one week is not nothing.
Now I might have slacked off washing my hands lately, but the fact remains that I demand too much of myself. Even when I started to feel sick (which is often worse than actually being sick, because then at least you have something to surrender to, without having the idea that pretending as if you feel not too bad at all might also still do the trick) and we stopped near Essaouira for groceries, and I asked Jeroen if we could explore the town centre right after. I could almost not stand up straight because of how bad I already felt, but hey: the weather was great. I do not need to tell you that we have not been into Essaouira that day – and still not, by the way.
We’ve got it all mapped out to neatly, don’t we? The things we want. But this reality, man, can he ever just lend us a hand?
Things simply never go as we want them to
Lying in this fetal position, I tried to think of the concept of duality and how it’s better if that does not occur. What I would like to say is, feeling all sick and feverish is not stupid – it just is. And given the fact that I cannot change anything about it, except maybe for making myself a nice hot cup of fresh ginger-turmeric tea, I’d better be alright with that. That way my body also retains more energy to recuperate.
At the very moment I was realising this, I immediately felt a bit lighter. There was even a little spark of happiness going on. Surrounded by my own stiff in this old van of ours, my new home which already feels so familiar, with my loved one take caring of me and my dogs cuddling up to me because they feel I need it.
Once the fever has subsided and I feel like it, I go for a walk. I take a stone-strewn dirt road leading through a low and open forest of argan trees. As always, I see everything. I see a scarab pushing a big brown ball with his little paws, neatly following the path and with a dozen or what ants riding along on his back. Some strength. Then I see a donkey. He grazes and waits for the time when his services are needed again, when stuff needs to be carried to the nearby village or maybe a village much more distant. Some patience. Then I see an old woman and a young girl dragging along bundles of branches. They’re taking all the time to tell to say hi. Some peace and quiet.
I start to think it’s better to let yourself get carried away by life and not judge what then happens, instead of expecting all too much and revolt because things don’t go as you want. Because they simply never do.
This article has previously been published in Dutch on 365dagensuccesvol.nl