The Art of Travel + with an Open Studio

 
 
aitisfoul entrance

In a world of instant gratification, waiting is for losers. But this is folly. Waiting is an art form that can make us live more fully. When you delay gratification, when you look forward to something, the pleasure is that much more intense when it finally arrives. Anticipation is the secret sauce that makes everything taste better.


Over a year ago, a then stranger, who since has become a very dear friend, with a similar story. An artist who bought a Riad in Marrakech to host creative retreats, renovating and making it her own, Maison 28. It is well done, and she is a dynamo, creating beauty on every surface with local artisanal and repurposed treasures.

I had just come to the Sahara to restore a huge Kasbah in the desert. I was naive, a bit of a risk taker, fearless and in LOVE. Over time, and with the help of social media, and we decided we would have chat and see about doing a trip that would encompass both Marrakech and the Sahara. It became Marrakech Hues and Desert Blues!

This past October, what started as an idea, became reality. The 4x4’s arrived, tribe in tow, Kamal and I had just showered, my hair still dripping wet, standing at the entrance, holding each other up from exhaustion, as we watched our augural tribe of Aitisfoul’s soul family, ascend our sandy stairs.


The weather had been unusually bad the previous 8 weeks and the project was behind schedule. This experience had been hard . . . new culture, the desert which has a completely different way of life, no common language, friends, family or support and a revolving crew of workers, to do an extreme overhauling of most every surface.

We were still cleaning rooms and making beds, trying to find the supplies that we needed to take care of this crew, somethings were located and others, like duvet covers, never where? There is no Target, or Ikea or any shopping for at least an 8 hour drive of the desert, everything was handmade and shipped down from Marrakech in bags via vegetable trucks, that supply food down to the weekly markets. Many, many blue bags filled with textiles and supplies but no duvet covers appeared?

That week was all about being one with the shifting sands of the Sahara. Pushing, pulling, and forcing as we struggled to get things done. The desert truly humbles you, a lesson that I continue to learn. The more pressure I put on the deadline and myself, the more suffering I experienced, the speed or order was not being effected at all but I was loosing my mind. All the outpouring of energy wasn’t bringing about the desired outcome. Morocco has its own sense of time and the desert is another world in and of itself. With the pressure I became the opposite of mindful, the parts that I had loved about the desert were now causing me anxiety, trying to realize this vision and fast approaching timeline. My western culture was running me. . .

The majesty, and simplicity, of Kamal’s ancestral property, prevailed, not without many small issues, but with a lovely captive and creative tribe, they reminded me of why I decided to do this so long ago.

The power of the land, the beauty and the resilience of the people, the simple things that we truly need to live happily in the world.


The days were followed by art classes, music festivals. Daraa Tribes where rocking the Kasbah, sharing the desert beats with us all!!

We went to the deep desert and spent the night in tents and sat around the fire and listened to the drums, road camels and enjoyed the magic that is the vast starry filled indigo sky.

Sand in our hair, in our beds, hot water sometimes, room keys working, sometimes, sand storms, sometimes, power outages, not this time, yay!!

Time lines became a suggestion.

This is the dream I dreamt of North Africa, a gathering place. It is becoming, s l o w l y.

We had such a special time, it is happening again March 2020, Marrakech Hues to Desert Blues, if you feel called to the wild edges of the Sahara and want to join our #aitisfoultribeforever.

We would love to have you along.

Peace + Paint,

Michelle xx