Facebook is perhaps not the best place to visit when you’ve just spent the Easter holidays locked up indoors with a moaning, scratching, chickenpox-ridden small child. Unfortunately, it’s the only place I can actually visit in my quarantined state. Glorious instagrammed photos abound of trips to the seaside, walks in the Lakes, rock-faces scaled and teas taken at National Trust properties. All very lovely indeed. Now if only I could unclench my jaw as I mutter that. Bitterness does not become me.
To be fair, I was actually rather enjoying my vicarious Easter-holiday photo trawl until I came across my friend’s surf trip pictures. There was Michelle, grinning up at me from the beach, wind in her hair, cheeky grin on her face. The photos varied in composition; some with board in hand, others with beer; some on the beach, some in the water. Some in the beach bar. But they all had one thing in common: that cheeky, care-free grin. The polar opposite to the care-worn look I seem to be sporting this Easter season.
As I clicked through the 56 pictures, cursing the invention of the digital camera and my inability to stop scrolling, I could almost taste the tang of salt on my lips and hear the waves crashing on the shore. I itched to get my hands on a block of surf wax, scented like the summer, and to prep my board for action. Then I looked up from the screen to the small four walls around me and the grumpy, itching child next to me. *Sigh*
Still, there’s no better antidote to the no-holiday-stuck-indoors blues than planning your next trip away. And Michelle has inspired me. It’s time for a surf holiday. Take one board and one wetsuit, add in consistent waves and blue skies and a mandate to surf every day and you have a fail-safe recipe for a great holiday. And a guaranteed cheeky, carefree grin.
Now you may not know this but there are two major pilgrimage routes that traverse our corner of northern Spain: the Camino de Santiago and a rather lesser-known surfers’ pilgrimage. The walkers of The Way of Saint James are easily identified by the shells they wear on their backpacks, the surfers by their campervans and well-thumbed copies of the Stormrider guide. The walkers make their way to Santiago but the surfers’ destination is more southerly: Morocco. Moorish land of souks, kasbahs and deserts. And of some of the most consistent waves and bluest skies within this hemisphere.
We’ve surfed in many places over the years, from Scarborough to Santa Cruz (one of these being my all-time favourite spot so far. I’m not saying which.) Morocco is somewhere we’ve never surfed though. I think that needs to change.
Time to join the pilgrimage? Well, sort of. I don’t think our hulking old motorhome would be quite up to the thousand kilometre plus trip by road. (Nor would my nerves.) Hopping on a flight and picking up board and suit hire at the other end sounds much more up my street and in keeping with a life that simply doesn’t have the scope for epic road trips any more.
So I’ve ditched my negative Facebook lurking and am now excitedly trawling the Explora Morocco site, checking out accommodation options and pondering how soon I can get there and book some classes to work on my somewhat rusty technique or if I could maybe even stretch to a week-long yoga and surf camp (no pun intended!) – the perfect combination to bring out that carefree cheeky grin that I’ve been missing.
*Disclosure: this post is brought to you in partnership with Explora holidays but all words, opinions and photos are my own.