Sold it all to move to Essaouira - Questions

Introduce myself & Questions on living accomodations
First off - I chose Morocco as my FIRST choice as to where I want to live.  It's diversity, people, culture, beauty call to my heart.  I have DREAMED to be in Africa for years.

Approximately 6 weeks ago (or less), in sunny Palo Alto, California (San Francisco Bay Area) I had an epiphany that it was time to move and do my own thing, as my child spread his wings, so should I.

Thusly, within 5 days, I proceeded to sell, give away, donate and toss just about everything I owned (a few items -my books & art supplies are in a tiny storage unit), Too late to turn back.... I sold the car, have temp digs in the spare room via the generousity of an aquaintance of a friend.

I got all the shots and bought passage on a freighter - CMA CGM Florida - departing NYC for Tangier on 24 September, arriving approximately 5 October - barring extraneous events.  Me and one small carry on bag.  I'll return stateside at some point (months down the road) and ship over a few things.

I am friendly, truthful, considerate... artist and bohemian with a sense of humour and curious to learn about everything, appreciating that in the vastness of life... I know nothing, or at least... very little.   I want a place to live modestly within my means (read:  fixed income), be a part of my community - meaning learn and adapt/adopt the language, customs, culture and call it my home.

Why Essaouira?  Well, at first I thought Marrakech, close to the Atlas Mts., because I love to snow ski...  but I kept reading about Essaouira....

I don't need to live in the center of town.  I'd like to live in a small house - a place for my books, to do my art: water colour, acrylic, collage, sewings, stone carving, building stuff; have a bit of a garden, do some community volunteer work, get to know and get along with my neighbors, even a bit outside of town in a village is fine. 

~  Who do I contact / where do I go to find a NON TOURIST place to rent?  What is the proper way to go about it? What are the do's and don'ts?  How do I make sure I do not offend / insult people? 
    I would like to eventually apply for a residence permit. I do not want to purchase a home.  I am researching documents and financial requirements and am gathering everything together.
~  Does anyone have any recommendations for an economical and nice hotel to stay while I find my feet for when I arrive?
~ Grocery shop in markets (like a local - I am not seeking "like they have in America")
~ Bank? I'll have to open a local account.
~ Public transport?
~ Cost of living?

I realize I am not thinking of even 25% of what I need to know before I arrive....  like, what do I do and where do I go when I hop off the freighter?  I have a big learning curve and am working on it...  but I won't know near enough.......

Thank you in advance.  I truly appreciate it.  Respectfully, e.

Hi Emmyht and welcome to Expat.com!

Thanks for sharing your dream with us.:)

First of all, for the accommodation, have you post an advert in Essaouira classifieds? This may help.
Concerning the bank, I may suggest you to take a look at this article > Banking in Morocco.
And for the other questions, you should take a look at the different discussions of the forum, it would be of great help.

All the best,
Harmonie.

e
Synchronicity?
I am doing the same thing! After the mango harvest and saying goodbye to students (I'm an English, Spanish & Guitar teacher) I will also be travelling to Essaouiri in October to check out almost the same answers! My own personal dream is to find a studio where I can live simply, aesthetically & (finally) record my (folk) songs.
Keep in touch
Gram Russell

Thank you kindly for your warm words.  Yowza!  I looked it up... I made the decision 10 August.  Surprised me!  Seems like it was further ago.  Thank you for the suggestions about the classifieds.  I shall do that now.  The freighter is happy with all my submitted documents so I am now allowed aboard.  Next is to get TO the ship, San Francisco to NYC.  The trains are sold out but I'm still going to give it ago.  I've driven N/S and E/W but a train takes you different places.

On to the specific blogs.

Again, thank you very much for your thoughtful replies.

What are your income in Morocco supposed to be ? I mean how will you get money here ? You must have a clear answer to that wuestion to know whether it'll be easy for you to get a resident visa...

My income will be very small for quite a while, so a simple understated lifestyle is what I seek.  I have the same amount every month auto deposited to my bank every month at the same time.  It will not be an extravagant lifestyle. Living in a small village near Essouira is fine as well.

I think you better check out with a moroccan consulate if it'll be okay to get a long term visa... It could be okay, but you better make sure of it. Thus, you should consider the way you'll make money for your every day life as the local authorities will want to make sure you can make it by yourself here before you get granted the visa...

If you want to live in a small village near Essaouira, remeber one thing: communication and transportation in Morocco may not be as efficient as in San Francisco... Definitely...

Thank you. You have been very generous.   I agree.  I have a set amount auto deposited to my bank,  I am bringing the letter, and bank statements, etc.  I appreciate it's important to substantiate my claim to my income.

hi
becareful for what you dream

morocco is one of the most beautiful places in the world but also one of the most frusting

Congratulations on the decision!  I have also been fulfilling my dream to live in Morocco, to learn more about the culture, people and lifestyle and teach English.  It has been challenging, but well worth it. I live part time in Marrakesh and part time back in Southern CA, at least for now.  I will be working to get my residency permit when I return next week (9/21) for my 90 day stay. My situation is a bit different in that I had a portion of my retirement set aside and was able to buy a studio apartment near the medina.  I will have property title to help me to get the residency permit. If all else fails, every 90 days, make your way to Tangier and go to Spain for a day and come back. You start another 90 day stay on your US passport with the exit and entry. Also, I was able to open a "convertible" bank account because I had documents from a notary about the property purchase. I can deposit USD and transfer USD into the account.  This is a MUST for large amounts of currency.  Otherwise, it is a cash and carry country so as long as you have access to cash, an account would only be necessary if it was required to obtain other government documents.  ATM cards work well and actually, I use the USA ATM for my "living allowance" and have the Maroc bank account for expenses related to the apartment. Eating is cheap and getting around is okay once you let go of the American habit of a timetable.  Maybe not so tough for you, but I came out of the corporate world so had a lot of letting go to do...it was LOTS easier than I thought it would be.  Overall, the cellular network is good, wireless is okay, so I would suggest an inexpensive pay as you go phone and if you need a laptop, the wireless access is inexpensive and also can be purchased pay as you go.  It may seem dumb now if you don't speak the language, but you will soon collect friends who do speak some English and they will always be willing to help and then will just be a phone call away.  Also, the phones are not restricted from international calling, so even though expensive, you can call and even text to the US from the pay as you go phone.  I am very excited for you and your adventure.  It is a very romantic dream (especially going over on a ship - you MUST blog about it.  I have wanted to do the same but don't think I have enough of the pioneer spirit - lol.) The reality of it all will be a bit challenging and as a previous post noted, frustrating at times, (sometimes VERY frustrating,) but I have a good feel for where your head is and even the worst day in Morocco is better than the best day at home, when one is on an adventure.  Be sure to keep OTC medication for intestinal discomfort with you at all times and you should be fine. Best of luck to you and keep in touch.  Be well - inshallah! :cool:

all i say  go with a open mind  not a romantic ideal
I not suggesting you dont go  but be aware that its not all romantic

It's nice to live such an experience a romantic way. Just be careful romance doesn't turn to nightmare... That's the reason of all the comment sthat could look as negative...

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