An Experience Money Can’t Buy

Life Out of the Box

After our first day of hand stamping leather for our new products, we went back to our work station in the fondouk to make even more leather tags. Although this part of developing LOOTB products is very time consuming, hand stamping the unique numbers into the leather is an essential part of Life Out of the Box. Therefore, we just put our heads down and put the time into making each one so that customers can look up that number on our website to see the child that was given school supplies on their behalf.

Life Out of the Box

Life Out of the Box Expands to Morocco

Hours went by as we hammered away and all of the sudden it was lunch time. Aziz asked Quinn if she could watch over his shop while we searched through the souk to find the ingredients for a special lunch that he wanted to prepare for us.

Life Out of the Box

Aziz and I headed straight to the vegetable market. He grabbed handfuls of peas, onions, carrots and more. He passed all of the vegetables to the vendor who placed it on the scale and then used nuts and bolts to distinguish the weight. The transaction was so simple: no computers, no batteries, no credit cards. We paid him and then headed to the butcher.

Life Out of the Box

Life Out of the Box

Butchers in Marrakech are like nothing I have seen anywhere else. There’s various carcass of different animals hanging from a hook out front of each butcher shop. You can see every part of the animal and are able to pick out exactly the cut that you desire. Aziz picked out the lamb and the cut he wanted, paid the man and we were off to the spice shop.

Life Out of the Box

Morocco is the spice capital, so each spice shop is filled with mounds of colorful spices from cumin, to chile and saffron. He explained in arabic the dish he was planning on cooking, then the spice man grabbed a pinch of seven different spices into a newspaper.

Life Out of the Box

Life Out of the Box

The vendor folded the newspaper up and Aziz handed him one dirham (12.5 cents). With all of our unique ingredients in hand, we headed back to Quinn. I had no idea what dish he was planning to cook, but I couldn’t wait to find out.

Life Out of the Box

We got back to Quinn who was hammering away on our little wooden table. She put the tools and leather away to assist with making lunch. We cut, prepared and placed the meat and the vegetables in a very precise order onto a clay dish called a tajine.

Life Out of the Box

The point of the cone shaped clay tajine is to the cook the meat and vegetables that are on the bottom while steaming the vegetables that are placed on top. He turned on his little gas tank and we were cooking–we had no idea what we were in for.

Life Out of the Box

Two and a half hours later Aziz turned off the gas, then purchased two loafs of freshly baked bread and a big glass bottle of Coca-Cola from the corner store near by. As he removed the top, hot steam blew into our faces and our mouths began to water.

Life Out of the Box


The aroma of the blended spices was unlike anything either of us had ever smelt before. He handed us the loaf and demonstrated how to eat it like the locals by using the bread to pinch the meal from the tajine. It took a few tries, but we finally got the hang of it and enjoyed every single bite.

Life Out of the Box

Life Out of the Box

Eating with Aziz that chilly afternoon was one of the coolest experiences so far in Marrakech for us. It was the best meal we’ve ever had here and it wasn’t in a fancy restaurant. It was an experience that we couldn’t even pay for. This is the kind of stuff that only occurs when you truly get out and explore the world–when you truly get out of the box. This is the kind of thing we live Life Out of the Box for.

Life Out of the Box


Life Out of the Box



31 responses to “An Experience Money Can’t Buy

  1. Gosh! I wish I could have tasted that meal! I actually have a tajine and it is orange. I have not cooked one single thing in it! You have inspired me to get lamb and vegetables and put all of that on the stove. You guys are awesome! I am in awe of your lifestyle and the courage and self-confidence it took to make it happen out of the box. You certainly didn’t make A False Start!

    • We’re so glad that our meal inspired you to make a delicious meal of your own in a tajine! Thank you so much for your kind words, they mean a lot to us both 🙂 Let us know how that meal turns out, we’d love to hear about it!

  2. I couldn’t agree more with your last two statements. These authentic kind of experiences are things that money can’t buy and yet sometimes they seem more valuable than what we can get with physical currency. It’s these kind of experiences you get when you truly put yourself out there and open up to experiencing the world around you that make exploring the world so special. Thanks for sharing this unique experience ! I wish I could taste some of that meal. Looks delicious!

    • Thanks so much Jessica, we’re glad to hear that’s what you got out of the article. Putting yourself out there isn’t always easy, but it’s experiences like these that make it all worth it. It’s also good to understand that money doesn’t get you everything, a lot of the time while traveling the world it’s the people you meet who make life truly special. Keep up the great work on your site and living your Life Out of the Box! 🙂

  3. The pile of fresh strawberries in the top picture has my mouth watering…yum!

    Safe travels my dears

  4. Oh man, i hear you. The most amazing experience of my travels (not to mention some of the best homecooked meals) came when we were volunteering in Italy. Seriously something money can’t buy.

  5. Great post! Students will soon be traveling to Sri Lanka in our first travel program, and I hope that they have some of the unique experiences that you experienced like this one in Morocco. Markets are generally a way to get excellent cultural experience. It is truly incredible how simple the market system can be. As you mentioned, a system free of computers and technological transactions is truly a wonder.
    As an organization, we are also trying to focus more on incorporating photos into our newsletters and blog posts. After all, “a picture is worth a thousand words,” and the photos included in this blog post really helped to solidify the mental image of the food that the words provided. We hope to soon have an Instagram account as well.

    • Thanks for taking the time to write the comment. We agree a picture is worth 1000 words. We hope to see you on Instagram too (@lifeoutofthebox). Keep going after cultural experiences. They are the best! Have a great day.

  6. Pingback: 10 Ways to Not Travel Like a Tourist | Life Out of the Box·

  7. Pingback: 10 Ways to Not Travel By A Tourist | Fearless Travelers Blog·

  8. Wow, Morocco seems like such an interesting place. Maybe when I finally get to go to Africa it will be one of the paces I visit. Which experience abroad would you say has been your best so far?

    Keep on sharing your experiences with us 🙂

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