I recently found myself in the Atlas Mountains of Morocco with my family, a Bedouin guide and me from 20 years ago – three of them, actually.
Let me explain – a few weeks ago, my family and I joined a group of travelers led by a Bedouin guide for a day trip through the Atlas Mountains of Morocco. We met our guide’s family, ate lunch in the home he and his brothers built by hand, hiked through the mountains, and took a camel ride through the desert. It was an incredible experience that I will cherish for the rest of my life – and there was an unexpected silver lining.
Along with my family, I got to experience this adventure with three versions of my 20-year-old self.
You see, when I was 20, I was doing a college study abroad in Italy. I’d planned to spend my spring break in Morocco but the Iraq invasion had caused anti-American sentiment throughout northern Africa to boil. So, my school and host family asked me not to go. I ended up spending the week in Spain, which was a wonderful adventure, but I always wished I could have seen Morocco.
Almost exactly two decades later, to celebrate my 40th birthday and complete my goal of visiting all six habitable continents, my family and I traveled to Morocco and, hence, the Atlas Mountain excursion. Accompanying us on this experience were three 20-year-old American girls who were doing their college study abroad in Italy, and had come to Morocco on break.
I’ll admit, it was kind of delightful. The past-me’s were very young and very excited, just like I was at that age (ok – I’m still abnormally excited). They wanted to discuss art, religion, politics, future plans, personal ambitions, everything about Italy and, of course, travel (typical past-me).
Fun fact – turns out current-me still likes her past-selves.
For all our similarities, there was one difference. When I was in their shoes, all those years ago, I was wandering around Europe with a three-pound Cannon film camera with built-in flash. I think it might’ve been carved from stone.
These new past-me’s were armed with the most current cameras – you know, the cell phone kind – and, like old me, who took pictures of everything she saw (within reason; I mean, there were only like 15 shots per roll and film was expensive!) these new past-me’s took pictures of EVERYTHING – but mostly themselves.
It’s cool. I mean, I get it. Who doesn’t love a selfie, right? I’m hip.
But that’s where it started to get a little funny. After our camel ride, when the group was disrobing from their desert attire and the camels were cooling off, past-me’s decided to do a little selfie photoshoot – specifically, a camel photoshoot … but not just any camel photoshoot – a sexy camel photoshoot.
Old me would’ve had no idea how to look sexy with a camel. They weren’t teaching us that in school yet and I don’t think it came pre-installed until the later models.
But current-me got a fast tutorial from the three past-me’s. And now I will impart that wisdom to you:
How to have a sexy camel photoshoot:
- Squat down and put face next to resting camel’s face. Turn head coquettishly. Make kissy lips. Take photo. Move head slightly and repeat. Repeat again. Repeat more. Also more. Do this for 10 minutes straight. Attempt to get camel to make kissy lips too. Consider kissing camel. Smell camel and change mind.
- Lean over camel and press cleavage together – like a boob hat. This will annoy camel, so photograph quickly.
- Lean against camel, tilt head back, and open mouth like you’re laughing – but don’t actually laugh. Just hold mouth open and move head from side to side like you’re in a silent film and the camel just said something hilarious, while taking 342 pictures.
- Have Bedoin guide take pictures of you and friends doing Charlie’s Angels around camel. Teach Bedoin guide to keep taking photos over and over, and over again, despite pose not changing at all.
One of the past-me’s stood next to the camel and bent over into a full backbend, with her hands resting on the camel’s shoulder blades and her hair dusting its face – Sexy Camel Yoga.
As past-me’s hair tickled the camel’s nose, it opened its fleshy lips and took a big horsey bite, trapping past-me in her backbend as the dromedary slowly masticated her perfectly straightened hay-like locks. As past-me cried out for help, the other past-me’s continued to shoot, issuing assurances such as, “Hold it right there – your butt looks tight,” and “Try to arch your back more; it’ll make your boobs look bigger,” and “don’t worry – this is hot AF.”
Undeterred by the sudden cacophony of noise, the camel continued chewing, reeling in its cache of hair like he was eating a carrot from the top down or steamrolling a cartoon character.
Ok, so those last three sentences only happened inside my head. However, me bursting into laughter at the sexy camel yoga pose very much happened in real life, making all the past-me’s think I’d gone sand-crazy.
It’s alright though; they’ll get it in about 20 years.