Full disclosure: the journey to Morocco was not exactly straightforward.
In the current covid-19 pandemic climate, travel seems like an impossible dream. For me, traveling to Morocco was more than just a castle in the sky, it was an opportunity to immerse myself in a culture that I work closely with. It was meant to serve as educational and was practical in the sense that we are extremely overdue for our usual buying trip to Morocco in search of new inventory. The wish to embark on this magical Moroccan buying trip was immense.
Like me, I know that many of you enjoy the visceral experience of entering into the Bay-ti store, in fact, it is one of the most common customer comments that we hear daily. The smell of the wool rugs and leather, the textural look and feel of the products, and the essence of the handmade quality these objects imbue. The experience is akin to being swept away to another landscape, out of the current context of home and into an exotic world. Metaphorically transported to Northern Africa, even if just for a moment. Forgive me for being allured by the very thought of a plane ride right out of here...no doubt you all can relate to the enchantment of overseas travel in this covid controlled world.
With that said, I was feeling more than fortunate for the opportunity to embrace the beautiful culture of which I have the pleasure of interacting, from afar here in California. To work with and be surrounded by the artisan-made products that are a part of Bay-ti’s collection, the artifacts, the history, and culture, is quite simply a joy! I knew that immersing myself in the Moroccan culture, learning about how these products are made, and more importantly, meeting the artists behind them, would deepen my understanding of our merchandise. I knew that my connection to Morocco would evolve and I wanted to share that experience with you in the hope that I might inspire a broad love of this country.
The unfortunate reality for me was deportation from Morocco on arrival to Casablanca due to my Australian nationality. A single night's stay in a holding area of the airport, with several fellow non-American citizens, was not the way I had imagined experiencing long haul flight jet lag. Many questions swirled around in my mind, such as why was I allowed to board the flight in the first place, and why my pre-flight research surfaced no hint of a nationality-based travel ban.
Luckily for the rest of the Bay-ti team, (American citizens) were free to travel within Morocco, and they are now the eyes and ears of the Moroccan experience for us, at least for now. While this ultimately is a story about being deported from Morocco, I choose to join you in the viewer’s seat and watch in awe as the Bay-ti team continues their journey through this beautiful country. I will be the vessel through which they can share the experience, and make productive use of my quarantine time! Stay tuned as the adventure continues to unfold and the team travels to new regions of Morocco in search of unique handmade goods and ethically made and sourced merchandise selected just for you! To paraphrase the kind police officer who was regretfully escorting me to my flight out of Casablanca; ‘the road is not always straight and narrow, but you will get through the difficult parts and one day will look back with a sense of fondness and be all the more resilient for the experience’.