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  • Writer's pictureHiker Sorrel

Enjoying the View

Tizi n’Ououraine, Toubkal National Park, Morocco

It’s said that it’s a small world. I certainly seem to think so. Having spent years living and working in various places, there’s always someone you meet through the second or third degree of separation. Once such small world scenario happened in my final year of university (in Exeter) after having spent the previous year studying in the remote town of Antigonish, Nova Scotia in Canada.

While studying abroad, I had been lucky to form some truly great friendships. Parisian, Oscar D, had been one of those and we had spent the 8 months in Canada exploring Montreal, Cape Breton Island and the wonders of our university town together.

While preparing for our goodbyes at the end of our study abroad, Oscar D mentioned that he had a childhood friend, Oscar R, who was also studying at the University of Exeter and that it would be great for us to meet up when I returned to the UK. But perhaps in classical fashion, that was a promise I was likely to fail at fulfilling.

That was until I re-joined the university’s swimming team.

To encourage a better social atmosphere and mixing between year groups, the swimming team committee had decided to split the 150 or so members into four groups. And lo and behold, who was on my Facebook group listing, but Oscar R.

I immediately messaged him with excitement, dismissing the fact that we’d never spoken before, confident that he’d be as keen to get to know his best friend’s other friend, as I was. Luckily, I was right.

Oscar R, who had spent his last year at university involved in the Raise and Give Society (university society for charitable enterprises) was at that time looking for volunteers to join a fundraising trek to the High Atlas Mountains in aid of The Children’s Society. Knowing of my love for travel and hiking through Oscar D, he knew I’d be the perfect fit. I took little persuasion.

At this moment, our group of student trekkers were on our third day of a 6-day trek through Toubkal National Park on our way to summit Mt. Toubkal – the highest mountain in North Africa. We’d just gone over the pass Tizi n’Ououraine (at 3,120 metres) and were heading down the ridge towards the gorgeous mountain village of Amsouzert with views over to the Toubkal Massif on our right and the park’s plains shown in this picture to our left.

So, there we were: two people who had met through an absent mutual friend and chance encounter on Facebook, enjoying the vast expanse of the national park together, not 10 months from when we’d first met, completely thankful that the opportunity had arose to not only come to this beautiful part of the world, but create a new, long-lasting friendship.

That is perhaps one of the reasons that I love travelling so much – meeting new people in the far reaches of distant places that can teach you something new about the world or even meeting someone new close to home that loves what you love. Exploring is more than just about seeing beautiful things, it’s about finding a new perspective on things.


🌏Where can I find: Toubkal National Park 🌏


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