– Salam Alejkoum I greet the custom’s agent as I hand him my papers and passport.
– Are you a Moroccan resident, the custom’s agent asks me?
– No,  I simply love Morocco. I help 500 children since three years and trade here with Vilostrada.
The stiff agent smiles behinds his desk and keeps tapping the keyboard to register my arrival into Morocco.

– Mrs Ahlén?
– Yes, Marhaba I reply. I can see the second smile in his face. I think to myself, yes, welcome Mrs Ahlén to your home. Welcome. (Marhaba = Welcome in Arabic = Ahlan means welcome).

I am on my first trip to Tangier for the year in January 2016 and many more on the same route to follow and done in the past. The last few trips, I have wondered when the question would come, about the many stamps from entry and exit to Morocco during the last 2.5 years. What once seemed strange and new now feels like a walk in the park. I plan to write a blog post to help others to the journey to my African home. It is a sunny Sunday in the end of January and the boat fills up with Japanese, American and European tourists mixed with a big group of Moroccans. I expected a crowd since there is a school holiday for the next two weeks. Even still, the ferry company gave me the lowest rating I ever had on the journey.

Each time I go I feel torn between worlds. Leaving my family in Spain and going to see people I see as family, visiting children dear to my heart, my life’s mission. In Tanger Ville, dear friends await and we will share laughter, meals and work on the future process with my daughter’s Common Ground Art project, continue building our trading network and pick up personal shopper orders. Each day carefully planned to meet the people waiting for me but also like always lots of space for the unknown and what could happen. The philosophy of me and our life is “Live to Love the Road” which means one of the principals is not to jam pack each hour.

In Sahara, I found my soil in December 2015. It resembled the feeling when I came to Chefchaouen for the first time in September 2013, but when I sat my feet in Sahara close to Tanmirt, an even stronger feeling came to me. It will still take years to learn what but I know this: I found me.

Sahara mohamed commongroundtanmirt vilostrada common ground

Many years ago in Sweden, I realized that I knew myself but whatever I did there did not grow or did not produce a harvest. I traveled to America to find answers to the questions: “Where do you come from? Where is your soul?”

In Chefchaouen, I was first taught about the Nomad Cross and the Berber philosophy of all of us coming from the same tree. Will finding clues to your earth give you information on how to grow your roots, I wondered? I realized in Sahara what my heart had been trying to tell me for years.

I knew I did what I loved and had the right seeds, but I also did know I kept planting them in the wrong soil for them to grow. Ever since I realized this, I have been looking. You might imagine the smile in my heart when I realized where I needed to go. That feeling also has been distinct in Andalusia, Spain, where we set roots with our children in 2013.

You can plant seeds wherever your heart tells you to. It might be in your backyard, a few miles away or on the other side of the world. Go look and follow your heart!

More about how we decided to sell most of our belongings, change our lives and start all over to follow our dreams will be revealed in our new webinar series launching soon. Sign up here.