Working from Morocco during the Omicron surge
Call it visa issues, bad luck or just pure blessings, I’ve ended up in a small city called Agadir on the western coast of Morocco, just a two hour flight from Madrid, Spain — where I’m currently pursuing my Master’s degree.
To make matters better or worse, depending on how one sees it, Morocco has barred all incoming and outgoing flights for two weeks following the spread of the new Omicron variant of the coronavirus. There’s a good chance this ban is extended, and I have no choice but to go with the flow.
Coming into Morocco was a conscious decision; it is the same time zone as Madrid and I would be able to do all my work without disruption. It is also 15 degrees warmer than Madrid, which never hurts in the winter.
Finding a Daily Routine
Not much has changed from my life in Madrid to my new life in Agadir, I have internet, fresh orange juice, tennis, electricity and good fruits. The only big differences being that this part of Morocco is strictly a cash economy and the apartment I’m living in is entirely powered by solar energy; in fact the inverter just died as I’m typing this, I’m learning to charge my devices when I can.
Agadir is a city with not much to write home about. It is mainly a tourist destination with generic hotels and golf resorts for tourists coming in from the UK and Europe, but it is one of the few places in Morocco that has both mountains and beaches in very close proximity.
It also has a healthy mix of Islamic Arabs and Berbers, also known as Imazighen, an ethnic group indigenous to North Africa. The co-existence of these two groups leads to a combination of traditional Islamic values fused with a pinch of modernism. I’m unsure of which doctrine to follow while I’m here; I often find myself side-stepping cultural land mines.
Most of my day is spent at home taking calls and attending classes virtually. When I do get time to myself, I try to play a game of tennis or find new places to eat in the city. There’s not a hell of a lot to do in this town, and its a nice break from the constant activity and movement in Madrid, a city that never really sleeps — especially on the weekends.
Rediscovering My Love for Photography
After working as a photojournalist early in my career, I took a long break from photography. I never really stopped shooting, as I always have my phone with me, but its not the same when you’re not consciously editing the images at the end of each day. On this trip however, I decided to bring with me a DJI Osmo Pocket, a camera half the size of a phone with 4K video. It’s a beast of a camera in a tiny shell; perfect for street photography.
The quality of light in Morocco is unreal, and the sun is always shining; it is truly a photographer’s paradise. It’s like going to rehab for a photographer who’s lost drive and motivation to shoot. Brings you right back.
I’m really tempted to explore the rest of the country and photograph but I’m waiting to complete my semester at university by mid-December. There’s a good chance that there won’t be internet or ATMs in places I intend to visit, so I’m just trying to finish the first leg of the program on a good note.
I have a whole route planned up the coast from Agadir all the way to Casablanca, with transits through the Sahara desert whenever possible. What was supposed to be a short, visa-related transit is turning out to be a whole exploration style trip. I can’t wait to get started, with a camera in hand and a renewed zest for life.