We sat down with Australian author, gardener and World Expeditions tour guide Mary Moody to find out more about her exciting upcoming adventures to Morocco and France, and even got some insight into her next book release!
1. You’ve travelled extensively, leading many World Expeditions trips and lived in France for extended periods of time writing – when did you first discover your passion for travel and experiencing other cultures? What first sparked your interest in overseas adventures?
My love of adventure travel was actually inspired by World Expeditions who invited me to escort botanical treks in the Himalayas during the period when I was a presenter on Gardening Australia. I was so drawn to the spectacular beauty and the alpine flora of these mountains that I have returned dozens of times, and never tire of sharing this joy with others.
2. In April 2017 you will be leading a 14-day trip called “Markets, Gardens & Food of Morocco” – how many times have you been to morocco before? What is it about Morocco excites you the most?
Everything excites me about Morocco, which is so close to France where I spend quite a bit of my time. So I took a trip there earlier this year and was blown away by the history, architecture, gardens and mountains. The trip next April is based on my favourite destinations from that visit, and I know others will love it as much as I did.
Find out more about Mary upcoming trip to Morocco here.
3. Morocco is home to some incredibly beautiful and elaborate Islamic gardens, some of which you will be visiting on your trip. What is so special about these gardens and what kind of plants will you be looking out for?
Interestingly enough, Islamic gardens are as much about their design as about the plants. Often based around a courtyard with a central fountain, the gardens have fantastic mosaics and plants that can withstand the hot, dry climate. I particularly love the Jardin Majorelle in Marrakech which was inspiration of Yves Saint Laurent. It’s extraordinary!
4. Morocco is well known for its delicious cuisine and colourful markets. Can you tell us about what kind of things you’ll find at some of the souks (markets) and the type of food you’ll be eating?
The markets are endlessly fascinating; a labyrinth of stalls with everything from ceramics and brassware to rugs, fabrics and clothing. The food, of course, is absolutely delicious and I even discovered some local wines (from Meknes) that were outstanding. A feast for the senses.
5. In Morocco you will be doing 4-days of walking in the High Atlas Mountains, which will consist of day several day walks. Have you always loved walking? What are you top tips for getting the most out of walking trips?
I believe we will see much more of Morocco on foot than in a vehicle. These four days are not difficult (like a trek can sometimes be). We will stay in villages and walk through glorious countryside, seeing how the locals live. Good shoes are always important; and I tell people to just take their time walking and soak up all the sites and sounds around them.
6. Having written four memoirs yourself, you now teach writing workshops ‘Writing From the Heart’. Why do you think it is important for people write their personal or family memoir?
So many people have led fascinating lives and have a great story to tell. I really enjoy giving them the skills and the confidence to get their own story or their family memoir onto the page because it’s such a satisfying process. And people just love reading other people’s life stories. so I can also help them find a way to get their stories out into the world.
7. Everyone has a story to tell, yet often people are faced with writers block and find it hard to getting their words down on paper. What are some techniques you use to help combat writers block?
Writing can be daunting when there is so much to deal with – should I tell the whole truth? What will other people think? Are there legal implications. We will work through all these issues and develop positive strategies to keep the writing momentum going. It’s very exciting.
8. On your “Writing From The Heart” Trip with us in May 2016, you will be exploring the lesser known areas of South West France, as well as visiting your own personal small village house. What is it that captivates you about the South of France?
This region of France is largely unspoiled because it has never been overdeveloped. So you get a real sense of history and the continuity of people’s lives. In between the writing workshops we will do some great side trips to historically significant places and I hope people also decide to do a little exploring of their own – either before or after the trip.
9. The pilgrimage township of Rocamadour is considered to be one of the most historic sites in France and a place you visit on your upcoming trip– what is it like wandering through this beautiful small cliff top village?
Rocamadour is amazing, carved into a rock face above the river Lot. Eleanor of Aquitaine make pilgrimages there in the 11th century and it’s considered to be one of France’s top sites to visit. It’s an unforgettable experience.
10. Finally, with all this travel lined up – you must be very busy! Are you currently finding the time to work on another book? I’m sure we would all be hanging out for another one!
I always love to be busy and engaged with people and places. Yes, I am starting a new book this year and it should appear in bookshops during 2017. It’s a little different from my earlier memoirs, but hopefully just as much fun to read.
Join Mary in 2017!
If you'd like to join Mary in discovering the colourful markets and stunning gardens of Morocoo in April 2017 on the "Markets, Gardens & Food of Morocco with Mary Moody" trip, find out more here.
Or, if you'd like to participate in an intensive memoir writing workshop while exploring some of the hidden corners in the glorious Southwest France in May 2017 on the "Writing from the Heart with Mary Moody" trip, find out more here.
Meet Mary in Sydney or Melbourne
Join us for an evening with Mary Moody for a night of fun, stories and travel inspiration as she talks about her upcoming trip to France and Morocco in April 2017 and her popular ‘Writing from the Heart’ workshop in Southwest France the following month! Reserve your FREE spot now!
Date: Tuesday 26th July
Venue: Sydney World Expeditions Office: Level 5, 71 York Street Sydney
Reserve your spot now!
Date: Thursday 28th July
Reserve your spot now!