When I was 22 years old and just came back from some crazy and funny university years in Spain, I was full of energy. I wanted to travel the world and meet new people, cultures, faces from all over the planet, and learn different ways of thinking,… but I couldn’t afford it. I was penniless and stuck in Morocco. It was a nightmare for me: my dream of travelling was unreachable.
By the way, my name is Mehdi (but everyone calls me Kuby). I am from a Gelato makers family, so I started working at my parents shop in Tangier during summers and vacations but the money still wasn’t enough for travelling, so I had to do something to change my situation.
One day in 2011, a friend came up with a great idea: he was working with a guy who wanted to open a hostel in Tangier, and he needed help with building and repairing. I had the tools to work; I liked building things and most of all: I had tons of time! So I volunteered at the place. No money but a new experience, I gave it a try!
We worked really hard for like 2 months to get it ready. The owner came to me before the opening and asked me if I would like to work with him. I accepted the challenge and 6 months later I was already the manager. I loved my job; it was all I was looking for: new people, new languages, new stories ... It was like traveling while staying home and I was getting paid, amazing!
One day, after 2 years working there, my friend Jimbo (Ismael) came up to me with the idea of opening a hostel at the beach. We spent the rest of the night dreaming about how our perfect hostel would be.
Two weeks later, he called me and asked me to come to Asilah to show me something. When we met, he took me to a place in front of a fancy house in a new fancy neighborhood. I remember wild plants growing everywhere, the metallic gate totally rusty, the garage full of trash, the painting destroyed by time and I thought it was a shame to have an abandoned house like this. Then he told me: “Kuby, this is it!” I answered: “This is what?” and he replied: “This is our fucking hostel”.
We went in, and the inside was looking as sadly creepy as the outside, but in fact I was able to imagine the beds, the toilets, the common spaces, the reception… The potential was there!
We called the owner, we agreed on the price and we rented it: three floors house with garden and roof top falling apart and no furniture at all. It was a fucking challenge for us and we loved it!
After this we called our friend Ali and told him the madness we did hours before. We asked him if he wanted to join us and he said YES! He accepted the challenge of being part of it. The project was officially started.
We were three crazy friends and a nameless hostel. You can imagine the night we spent trying to figure out an appropriate name for our project. I have to admit that we had an unforgettable night giving it a lot of not politically-correct names I will not repeat here J
But at the end we thought it would be a good idea to use our initials to give it a name. First we tried AIM and IAM (Itisalat Al Maghreb, the national phone company) but they were pretty ugly. When we came up with MIA it sounded really good (a nice girl’s name) so we keep it and registered it: Mehdi, Ismael and Ali´s hostel (MIA Hostels)
If you are asking yourself why we used hostelS instead of hostel, keep reading the next posts. This is just the beginning of a blog full of stories about MIA hostels, Assilah and Morocco. So I hope you enjoy the travel…