It’s getting dark when we drop her off at a bus station in a Moroccon city called Agadir. She’s still only 20 years old and is about to leave on a 19 hour bus trip to the desert as an English speaking girl in a country where they only speak Arabic and French.
Yup, our Erika is leaving.
“Aren’t you getting a little scared?”, is what I ask her in a silent voice as we approach the station. “It starts a little”, she responds. No shit, even I was getting scared for her. But there was also a huge feeling of respect that I could feel coming up. When I was 20 years old I wouldn’t have dared to do what she does. But neither was I as open minded, let alone as aware of and respectful to all the different cultures in this world.
I fulfill my last translator roll as we guide her through the station to bring her to her stop. An hour before the bus arrives it’s time for a goodbye hug and a big thank you for coming into our lives. A thank you for being a brave young women who said “yup” if a random Belgian dude asked to drive through Africa together. A big thank you to help kick start Surf Africa, which wouldn’t have taken place without her, that’s for sure.
As we walk away it feels like we left our little sister behind to take on a foolish adventure. And we did it at the end of daylight where she doesn’t even know how to ask for directions. I didn’t think I would feel this way for a person I only met a month ago, but apparently Sander feels the same way. We know she’ll be just fine, because she is probably more independent that the both of us combined. But still. The feeling is a mix of a small portion of anxiety, overruled by the warm flood of pride.
Having spent 20 days and about 4.600 km’s on the road together -most of which in her self designed fort on the back seat- we got to learn Erika a bit. She’s a beautiful young women inside and out, who will see a lot of the world and inspire many. I still can’t believe in what kind of a grown up way such a young person can talk about the current world problems and systems. The greatest respect from the Laperre brothers for this human being who shows the courage and intellect to take on any adventure and discuss anything while doing it.
They say travelling learns you a lot, but you learn a whole lot more if you travel with people like Erika. A great sense of (sarcastic) humour and a major consciousness on this thing called life are no bad characteristics to start off from. We already knew we are privileged just because of where we were born and look like, but she made sure we knew it for sure and wouldn’t take it for granted. The different views and ideas our Canadian princess brought to the table were delightful, as were the marvellous camping stove meals!
It only seems right to end this to share the great life advice Erika put on Touki’s hood:
We’ll try to live by that,
Bram & Sander