About Me

My name is Lynn Sheppard and I am a maroc-o-phile!

I am a maroc-o-phile. Are you?

a windy day in Essaouira

I first visited Morocco in 2001.  I found the people incredibly hospitable, the architecture and crafts inspiring and the colours (the blue skies, sunsets in the Sahara, the spices and handwoven rugs) dazzling.  I stayed in a riad (Moroccan townhouse) in Essaouira over the new year into 2002 and there began my love affair with Essaouira and my dream of having my own place in Morocco.  Regrettably, my next visit to Morocco wasn’t until 2009 and I didn’t come back to Essaouira until 2011.  However, true love never dies and I am now in a position to live my dream.  After 13 years working as a civil servant for the Scottish Government, the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the European Commission, I have moved to Morocco!

For more of my story, read my interview with expat.com!

20 thoughts on “About Me

  1. Jerilyn Tabor

    Hi Lynn, I came across your blog while doing research on Morocco, so interesting and fun to read. I will be visiting Essaouira March 21t for a few days. I am a chef from NYC and I would like to visit La Fromagerie . In your opinion is it best to go for lunch or dinner? Is it hard to get to and from etc. I will be traveling with 2 friends , one is a vegetarian , is this a problem? How do we make reservations? Thank you for any suggestions you can give me. I am so excited, this is our first trip to Morocco! Jerilyn

    Reply
    1. lynn Post author

      Hi Jerilyn,
      Sorry for the delay! I’m glad you like the blog! I thoroughly recommend La Fromagerie! As long as your veggie friend eats cheese, you’ll be fine. Getting there is a little complicated – you’ll need to book a transfer or a big taxi. Lunch is lovely for al fresco dining, dinner is cosy in the atmospheric salon. More details and contact info in my new e-guide, The Best of Essaouria: http://maroc-o-phile.com/best-of-essaouira-e-book (also available via Amazon for Kindle). Have a great trip!

      Reply
  2. Joe Pinzone

    Dear Lynn

    My name is Joe Pinzone and I’m casting an international travel show about expats moving abroad. We’d love to film in Morocco and wanted to know if you could help us find expats who have moved there within the last 15 months or have been there for 3-4 years, but recently moved into a new home. The show documents their move to a new country and will place the country in fabulous light. The contributors on the show would also receive monetary compensation if they are filmed. If you’d like more information, please give me a call at 212-231-7716 or skype me at joefromnyc. You can also email me at joepinzone@leopardusa.com. Looking forward to hearing from you.

    Joe Pinzone
    Casting Producer
    P: 212-231-7716
    Skype: Joefromnyc

    Reply
  3. Daniela Frendo

    Hi Lynn,

    My boyfriend and I visited Essaouira in January and I completely fell in love with the place. Unfortunately we were only there for a day, and I got to explore most of the city on my own as Douglas was unwell (we later found out it was due to having too much Argan honey!). I’ve written a short narrative about my morning stroll in Essaouira: http://www.grumpycamel.com/#!a-stroll-through-essaouira/c15ma

    I’ve been to Morocco twice in the last two years. We would love to visit more often – our only problem is that there are no direct flights from Malta so it can be a bit costly to get there.

    We have often considered moving to Essaouira – we’re both EFL teachers, but I haven’t been able to find any English schools nearby. I’m also a freelance travel writer, but unfortunately it doesn’t always cover the rent. I’d love to know what other possibilities there are for expats in Essaouira.

    Would be nice to hear from you with suggestions!

    Daniela

    Reply
    1. lynn Post author

      Hi Daniela,

      it’s great to ‘meet’ another maroc-o-phile! Thanks for the link to your post – I’ll share it on my social media streams.

      Personally, I think the best way to live in Essaouira is to make your money elsewhere. It’s a small city and does not present the economic opportunities of larger centres such as Marrakech or Casablanca. The main activities are tourism and fishing! There are a couple of English schools, but the demand isn’t huge.

      I suggest you join the Facebook group I administer, Essaouira Expats and Friends – https://www.facebook.com/groups/552493944818838. You can get to know some of the other foreigners in town and kick off a discussion about how they make a living and maybe meet up with some of them next time you are in town.

      Feel free to send me an e-mail if you have other questions. There’s quite a bit of info on living in Essaouira on the FAQs pages.

      All the best!

      Lynn

      Reply
      1. Daniela Frendo

        Thank you!

        I’m surprised to hear that there are actually two English schools in the area – maybe I didn’t do my research well. In fact, we were actually thinking about opening our own English boutique school and cafe in Essaouira, but that plan has been put on the back burner for now. We’d need to get higher qualifications first.

        Thank you for your help! If I do return to Morocco I’d love to spend at least three days in Essaouira, and then possibly visit Fez and Meknes for the first time.

        Warm regards,
        Daniela

        Reply
        1. lynn Post author

          You’re welcome, Daniela. I can thoroughly recommend Fez and I think it would give you a good opportunity to meet other foreigners doing exciting things! Happy travels!
          Lynn

          Reply
  4. Una

    Hi Lynn
    I am planning to visit Essaouria in either September or October alone. I am a mature female. I want to visit for a long weekend now that EasyJet fly direct and I have travelled just a couple of times on my own before, but not to Morocco. I am quite confident but find I have just a slight hesitation travelling to Morocco alone and I would like to be as prepared as I can, particularly as it will be only for 3 days.

    Can you give me any guidance on finding a good guide to spend a day or two with so that I get the best out of my trip and if I stayed in a Riad in the Medina is it easier to navigate than Marrakech (which I found really complicated!).

    Or if I choose a larger hotel outside the Medina, would walking around to/from the Medina in the daylight be simple and not take me too long and would I be safe walking alone. I can’t quite get a feel for how big Essaouria is.

    Could you suggest busy places/areas that are known for good food for me to dine in the evenings where there would be lots of people around – it would be early dining and I am not a night owl.

    And anything else that I should think about to make the most of my trip?

    Thank you so much.

    Reply
    1. lynn Post author

      Hi Una,

      thanks for getting in touch. Essaouira is the size of a British market town – around 70,000 inhabitants. It is easily navigable on foot and the medina is small, easy to get around and pedestrianised. Outside the medina walls, taxis cost 6.5dh per journey in the daytime, 8dh between 8pm-8am. They are plentiful.

      Everyone has a different experience, but in my opinion – if you follow the usual precautions you would anywhere – Essaouira is safe. The medina vendors are much less pushy than in Marrakech and any unwanted attention is easily brushed off. The more open (with common sense) you are, the more likely you will meet interesting and friendly people (as most Moroccans are).

      For an authentic experience, I suggest staying in a riad. If you want a recommendation, feel free to e-mail me. There is a female guide in town called Rachida. She comes highly recommended. Again, mail me for her details (or get your hotel to contact her). You’ll really only need a guide for half a day or a day at most. Essaouira isn’t that big and the fun is in discovering yourself.

      For other recommendations, I suggest you download my e-book. You can do so on my website (http://maroc-o-phile.com/best-of-essaouira-e-book) or on Amazon for only £2.99/£2.95.

      You may also find my FAQs section useful for your questions on Essaouira: http://maroc-o-phile.com/frequently-asked-questions/

      Have a great trip!

      Lynn

      Reply
      1. Una

        Hi Lynn

        Thanks so much! I would appreciate the contact details for the Rachida – do you know if she works on the weekends as I’ll be visiting Friday through to Monday.

        I have found a Riad called Riad Malaika which looks great and has good reviews – do you know it?

        Finally, can you recommend a local taxi to collect me and take me back to Essaouira Airport?

        Your website is brilliant by the way – loads of great information.

        And I shall download your eBook too.

        Thanks!

        Reply
        1. lynn Post author

          Dear Una,

          I’m glad you are enjoying my website. I will reply to your questions by e-mail.

          Lynn

          Reply
  5. Julia Samuel

    Hi Lyn
    I came across your website through another – wildmorocco.com – and found some soulmates!! There is such a thing as maroc-o-philes! I have gone back and forth over recent weeks pondering my own situation but here I am! I live in Australia and first visited Morocco in 2012 with my sister. It changed my life – its both magical and very “grounding”. I have been assisting our driver from that tour to improve aspects of his tour business, and have returned both subsequent years (I have family in the UK) , learning & seeing more of Morocco on short tours (including passing through Essaouira). I was marooned in Chegaga by the terrible floods last November … extraordinary! But what photos & what a story… a privilege really and experience money cannot buy.
    I am contemplating a longer stay (90 days?) soon.. but am concerned being a woman on her own on finding secure, reasonable accommodation in probably Marrakech. Or even a support organisation based there. I wondered if you might have local contacts or suggestions. My friend will help, but do you have leads I could follow up? As I will be more on my own this time, I face it with some trepidation – I will not have the same security as touring with a driver/guide every day!! But cannot stay away!! I can manage basic French.
    You are all inspirations! I love the definition above of maroc-o-philes! I suspect I have rubbed the lamp.
    Thanks…. and good luck in your endeavours.

    Reply
    1. lynn Post author

      Hi there!
      it’s great to hear from a fellow maroc-o-phile considering the move to Morocco like I was 3 years ago… My life has certainly been changed by that experience!
      As for contacts and networks in Marrakech, there are a few expat groups on Facebook you might find useful. There are groups called Expats in Marrakech and also American and English-Speaking Women in Morocco. Once you are in Marrakech, it’s relatively easy to meet other foreigners. Try Cafe Clock or Cafe du Livre. There are also plenty of Australians around. Look up Roam Like Queens and MyMorocco on Facebook for contacts.
      Good Luck on your adventure!
      Lynn

      Reply
  6. Julia

    Hi Lynn,

    Thanks very much for the info. I will follow it up…its much appreciated. If I get to Essaouira this coming stay, I will get in touch…. flights are booked! Shukran! Regards, Julia

    Reply
  7. tom drooly

    Hi Lynn,
    I am planning a trip to Morocco next month from the US with a friend who lives here as well, but is Moroccan. He is telling me that Moroccan art has gained popularity in the US and may be interested in importing some.

    I found an article that you did about 2 years ago on Moroccan arts and crafts, and wonder if you have any current insight into this trend and any thoughts. Hoping to arrive Marrakesh middle of next month and spend a few weeks roaming about the country.

    Reply
    1. lynn Post author

      Hi Tom,

      Thanks for getting in touch. I don’t know much about the US art market, but Moroccan contemporary art in general is gaining interest internationally. Here are some of my articles which might be of interest:

      http://www.travel-exploration.com/mpage.cfm/Art_Morocco

      About naive art from Essaouira, which has been popular abroad for several decades (search Frederic Damgaard): http://www.fodors.com/world/africa-and-middle-east/morocco/the-southern-atlantic-coast/experiences/essaouira-moroccos-art-town-2779353

      http://blog.travel-exploration.com/2015/03/31/naive-artists-of-essaouira-and-the-joutiya-market/

      Also, you might like to see this exhibit of Outside Art from Morocco curated by my good friend, Colleen Cassar, in Melbourne Austaralia: https://youtu.be/-cTLMIGtvi8

      Have a great trip!

      Lynn

      Reply

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