We first met Fatima when TC founder Darryl visited Morocco on his honeymoon in November 2017. Darryl and his wife got to know Fatima when they stayed at the hotel where she worked in Chefchaouen. Fatima was friendly, outgoing, and very curious about life in Canada. She explained to Darryl that getting to know people from all over the world was her favourite part of her work because she loved learning more about other places and cultures.
Darryl knew he wanted a version of Gifting Travel to be part of TC before founding the company in 2015 and meeting Fatima confirmed a simple truth he’d long suspected: although many people want to travel, only some of us will ever have the opportunity. Fatima explained to Darryl that she had only ever travelled 80 kilometers, from her small village to Chefchaouen, and acknowledged that it was unlikely she’d ever go anywhere else. Aside from her work at the casa, she also works as a seamstress every evening and is the sole caregiver for her son Ayatollah (Fatima’s husband works overseas). Additionally, she was in the process of paying for her father’s medical expenses as well as some of her own. All of these factors meant Fatima’s dream of seeing more of the world would likely never be realized and, she explained, it was equally likely that her son Ayat would never leave Chefchaouen.
When Darryl got home from his honeymoon, he thought more about Gifting Travel and revisited the idea with the rest of the team. He knew that Fatima would be the ideal candidate for GT 001 so he reached out to her employer for her contact information. Upon getting in touch with Fatima and explaining that TC wanted to help her realize her dream to travel, Fatima had only one question: Can my son come?
Fatima had always dreamed about visiting Istanbul because of its beautiful mosques, including the famous Blue Mosque, and the Grand Bazaar (Fatima turned out to be a BIG shopper!). Team TC’s Jess and Darryl flew to Morocco to pick up Fatima and Ayat and the foursome spent over a week in Istanbul visiting mosques, eating amazing food, and entertaining Ayat at arcades and the Istanbul Aquarium. The trip involved many “firsts” for all of the travellers; some of the most memorable firsts include Fatima and Ayat’s first time on a plane, their first time seeing the ocean, their first time eating hamburgers, and Fatima’s first time getting a printed receipt.
Fatima was the perfect person to take part in the inaugural GT trip. She had done a ton of research before the trip and was so excited and curious about everything the group encountered in Istanbul. She longed to share her experience with her friends and family back in Morocco and had SO much fun picking out souvenirs for everyone.
Check out our videos from GT 001 in Istanbul for more information on this trip, on Gifting Travel, and to learn more about Fatima and Ayat!