“We can all be explorers, and can all find wonderment wherever we are.” — Tahir Shah

In Arabian NightsTahir Shah is the author of more than fifteen books on the topics of travel, exploration, the Arab World and cross-cultural studies, many of which chronicle a wide range of outlandish journeys through Africa, Asia and the Americas. Born in London, England to a mother of Indian Parsi ethnicity and father Idries Shah, Sufi teacher and writer.

For him, there’s nothing so important as deciphering the hidden underbelly of the lands through which he travels. Shunning well-trodden tourist paths, he avoids celebrated landmarks, preferring instead to position himself on a busy street corner or in a dusty café and observe life go by. Insisting that we can all be explorers, he says there’s wonderment to be found wherever we are – it’s just a matter of seeing the world with fresh eyes. — Tahir Shah website

While preparing to move to Morocco for three months with their six children, Rachel Denning ordered the book In Arabian Nights: A Caravan of Moroccan Dreams. She fell in love with the way Tahir shared stories that reached into the soul, resulting in cultural understanding and insight.

After convincing her husband Greg to read the book, he was motivated to connect with — and if possible, interview — Tahir. The result is the video interview below which was recorded at Tahir’s home, The Caliph’s House, in Casablanca, Morocco.

Learn more about Tahir on his website, and of course watch the interview or read the transcript below:


Greg: Hi guys Greg Denning here. I’m so excited right now, I am actually in Dar Khalifa (aka, The Caliph’s House) in Casablanca Morocco. And I’m here with the owner of this place, Tahir Shah. Tahir is an author of fifteen books now?

Tahir: Now it is more than fifteen books. And you know, I get really mad at my kids for two things. One is when I hear them telling people how many countries they’ve been to, because I think that this is kind of bologna. And the other is I get really mad at authors when I hear them talking about book counting, I think that is nonsense. It is not about quantity it is about quality.

Greg: So I have only read one Tahir’s books so far, and I will read more. And it was so good and so in-line with worldschooling, that I had to contact him, and now here we are! Alright Tahir, talk to us!

Tahir: I am so passionate about these two things, and in a way, they are all that matters to me. What they are is travel and education. And it sounds like I’m synced up you, which is really convenient to me because usually I have to try to talk to someone about this idea. I believe that yes, we have to go to school, so go to school. But I also believe that school isn’t where you are going to learn anything really of value. And I am a MASSIVE believer that travel is an educational system, and if you are lucky enough to have a parent like Greg or like me, you get stretched in ways that most people in life never get stretched, and they remain raw. And there is an Arabic saying, (which I love more than any other saying) and it says that, “Much travel is needed before a raw man is ripened”. And it is kind of how I live life. I tell my kids, “Do as well as you can in school. If you excel, that’s great. If you just scrape by, that’s fine. And I am not going to scream at you for that because I’m not the kind of parent that would do that. But I do expect you to travel with me and to learn from travelling and from journeys.” And so I drag them endlessly on trips. When Temo (who is my son) was just a little baby and Ariana (my daughter) was two and a half, we moved to Dar Khalifa. It was in 2003 or 2004 when we arrived here. And I had been to Morocco a few times, but just as a tourist and didn’t know too much about Morocco. It is really a different thing to move to a place to live rather than visit. I remember we arrived at Dar Khalifa and I bought it because no one really wanted it. It was haunted with genies, and had no paperwork because it had all been stolen by a gangster. But it was a magical place and I remember I stepped in through the garden and I just thought, “Oh my goodness this is the 1001 Arabian nights this is the coolest place in the world!” But at the same time it was very run down, it had been empty for 8 or 9 years and there were lots of problems with the house. It was all just in very bad shape. But I made a promise to myself that we would love it, and that we would bring joy to Dar Khalifa.

Greg: And I got to say that it is spectacular. And for me (and I know Rachel would agree) this is one of those magical places like we have envisioned for our home base. It’s amazing, it just has this character and this feel about it. I LOVE IT!

Tahir: Dar Khalifa is a house with a soul. It is a most extraordinary place and I love it. I once wrote an article once about my best friend. And in there I said that this house is my best friend.

Greg: And the book that I read which was The Arabian Night and it has a lot of stories about this house and that’s why I am so excited seeing it and experiencing it.

Tahir: And coming back to when we were just talking about travel, what is totally fundamental to me in life is to get yourself out of your comfort zone. I’m a writer. And at the same time a lot of my friends living in London had real jobs as lawyers, bankers and so on. I felt as a writer that I had an opportunity to live anywhere. And I felt this grave and kind of calling to… basically a responsibility, that I had to give my kids a gift, a gift of cultural color. That was so important to me. And yes it would be so much easier not to do that and to stay in London living in a crappy two-bedroom apartment and live there forever and ever. But I felt, “NO! Let’s have an adventure.” And I think what is so important, is to realize in life that it doesn’t matter if you mess up, it doesn’t matter if you go into an adventure and you don’t get your dream or the place you wanted to go to. The journey is the adventure. But also a lot of my friends at the time in London and even members of my family told me, “Oh you will be back by Christmas with your tail between your legs”, and I told them, “it doesn’t matter so what! I don’t care.” But to me, what is so important to me is that everyday is an adventure. Living here in Casablanca (or travelling wherever in the world) everyday for me is an adventure. and that is something that I try to teach my kids.

Greg: And we’ve felt that too. Every day when we go to the stores or to the souks (Moroccan markets), even those simple things, are an adventure.

Tahir: Well, I lived in London for years and I can’t tell you anything that happened, there’s kind of a dark zone for about four years. I don’t remember a single day. And I look back at my diaries during those times and there were weeks that went by. The pages are just as white as snow. And it is almost criminal for someone like me to spend days, months, years in this dark zone when, now, being here in Morocco I feel that I have moved to the light. I am living in a place that is so mesmerizing, culturally, it is a real feast for the senses. One of my earliest memories as a kid, I was 5 years old and I was taken to Marrakech because my parents were big into the idea of us traveling, well we didn’t travel as much as my kids have.

Greg: So I will pause here for some background, your dad was from Afghanistan?

Tahir: Yes he was.

Greg: And you lived in Europe?

Tahir: We grew up in England in a big beautiful home and my father was a known writer.

Greg: So you were travelling even as a small kid driving all over the country and having these experiences.

Tahir: Exactly. But then, because of the way my father was, he would tell us kids something that I now tell my kids. He would say, “This house that you are growing up in, this is not reality. This is like a Dar khalifafantasy from A Thousand and One Nights.” Then he would bring us down to the souk in Marrakesh, to the Medina, and would say, “This is reality. This is the real world.” And I also tell that to my kids. They’ve grown up in Dar Khalifa and it is an extraordinary building and we love it, but all around us, things are changing. But there was a shantytown, that was reality. And I would always tell my kids that, “what we are living in is like a soap bubble that could burst at any moment,” But what my father would do when we were kids, is he would take us to Marrakesh, maybe to the main square Jama’a Elfanaa, which is an extraordinary place. And he would blindfold us and he would say, “Describe it to me. Describe to me this place.” And we would say, “But father but we can’t see” and he would say, “Use your other senses and tell me how it smells. Tell me how it sounds. Tell me what vibrations you are getting in through your skin.” And that’s something that I kind of passed on to my kids. That is something that I got young and it really helped me to appreciate places. I am massively against the culture that we are living at the moment, where when you go to Marrakech you see the people taking pictures, and they might upload them but will never look at them again. Pictures that only show one sense, a little bit of vision. But it doesn’t show taste, it doesn’t show smell, or touch. And to me, it is so irrelevant taking lousy pictures on a phone. What I wish people would do when they travel is to sit in a café and sit there the whole day and take it in. Taking notes, and making notes on tiny details. Don’t look at the big picture of travel, look at the tiny details. As me and you Greg were coming over here, I pointed to you to look at that bread, you see bread on the side of the road sitting out. It’s there because bread is sacred in Morocco, you never throw away bread. If you’re in a café and you’ve eaten your Tajin and there is a little bit of bread left over that you don’t want, it will be taken and it will be gathered and collected with all the other left over bread. And this is kind of an insignificant small detail. That bread that we saw, it would have been easier for me not to have mentioned it. But to me, that there is a detail which shows Morocco from the inside out. Things like that is what I really want you to look out for. You will see it in Marrakesh, you will see it endlessly if you look. Again, it relates to bread, because it’s sacred you will almost NEVER see a piece of bread on the ground. Because in the Hadith, the Prophet Muhammed said that a beggar should not have to stoop down to take a piece of bread, because even a beggar has honor. Now, to a tourist to see a piece of bread on a window ledge or a wall, or something else, they wouldn’t care. But to me, it is something that I really love, it’s like a showcase of how Morocco is from the inside out.

Greg: This idea is what Rachel and I like to talk about. There is a difference between tourism and real traveling. When you are doing real travelling, you stop and see the details and you ask questions. You described your dad as that kind of person. A person who always had those deep connections and great conversations with people. And then I see that in your writing. In one of your books, you were taking this truck all over the coast, and then would stop at cafés and talk to people. And that’s how I love to travel and I think that it is also part of the Worldschooling which is getting out of your world and trying to get into somebody’s world and understand their life… it’s just the best education.

Tahir: Okay, now that we are talking about this type of education, now think of the education system that is used in the Western world. And I am (as well as you are) against this educational system that is used in the Western world and Europe. It is about 200 years old. I went to school for a long time and I can’t remember any of the stuff I “learned” there. I just remember that it was raining outside and it was cold inside and sometimes the teacher would throw something, like a piece of chalk to wake me up. And it was like I was switched off by that education, and I went to good schools and everything like that. What is so important in my opinion is to get out of your comfort zone and to look at the world in a new way. Even where you live, even your house, look at it in a new way. So challenge yourself to learn to observe. And that’s a skill that has to be learned, or rather relearned because children have it. But when you’ve sat in a classroom like a zombie for years, you’ve lost your ability to imagine, your ability to create. You’ve just become another robot, which the culture can then sell you anything. Fast food, consumerism, whatever. To me what is so important is to relearn to observe. And the way I do that is when I’m sitting in a café I tell myself that I am not leaving until I see something cool or until I see something that changes the way I appreciate this place. And it is always possible, you will always find something but you have to invest the time and the energy.
Greg: I guess it’s the consciousness, like being REALLY present. I think we are living in a world of distractions, everything’s fast and immediate gratification is huge. So being present in an experience is just so important.

Tahir: Well I don’t want to be bad-mouthing the Western world, but I’ve just got to say that I’m just exasperated by the Western system. And even with my kids, if they don’t have internet for the first couple of days they will be stressing and sweating and struggling and then they will get used to it. But I think that we have to relearn, I think that’s what it’s all about. We have to relearn that sitting in a classroom looking at a whiteboard or blackboard or whatever, and listening to a teacher drone on… it isn’t a productive or impressive way to educate. If you want a kid to be babysat for 12 years of their life, put your kid in a classroom and when they come out they will be older and people will think, “well we’ve educated them.” Something that I really disagree with in the USA, and Europe as well is this idea that just because we are paying a lot of money for an education and because this is a name brand school or university, that the people who come out are informed and educated. I can tell you something. Look, I’m not a particularly fabulous author or successful person. But I get a lot of messages from people, and a lot of the time and they’ve had the same schooling and they’ve been to the same kind of high schools, the same kind of universities. What is coming out of it, is this kind of robot culture where everyone asks the same questions! I get these questions endlessly! In the morning I’ll wake up and there will be a bunch of messages and they will all be the same 5 questions! But then sometimes, I will get a question from a person who hasn’t been through the mill, who hasn’t been through the system. They still have their thinking that hasn’t been altered by the system. And I love getting messages like those because it’s a highlight for me for that day, week, or month even. I think that it’s all about teaching kids to open their eyes and appreciate the world. What I tell my kids is that we are incredibly fortunate. We have British Passports so we can travel anywhere. We have our health and are incredibly fortunate for that. And we have enough money to travel. We are very lucky. And particularly we put a lot of money into travel at the sacrifice of fancy things, or other things. What I tell my kids is that “The world is our playground.” Often I spread open a world map and say to them, “look at this! Look at this world! This is fantastic!” What I tell to my kids is to, “Never be frightened or scared or apprehensive about travelling.” I tell them that if you have a problem in life, the best thing you can do is to get an airplane ticket and go to the first long-haul destination that you could think of or see. And then just go there! Get a one-way ticket. And if you got problems, if you are depressed, just get out into the world and enjoy it!

Greg: And it’s the journey. It’s not even arriving to the destination so much, but it’s the journey! Just like that doctor who send you into the desert to get some salt, and when you came back he told you he sent you to the desert just because he knew the awesome experiences you would have, it wasn’t about the salt. And we’ve done that too. There’s something magical, the world is a playground, and a classroom, and the best teacher. And you get out and you get exposed to a new reality and it CHANGES YOU. I’m a better person from every place I have been. Because I have a new understanding.

Tahir: But at the same time, I see that people like you and me and a few people that I know who think like this. We are in our little tribe, or in a little club in a way, and our kids are all in this club. But at the same time, in life we get hit the whole time with the conventional system, that tells us, “this is wrong, you are irresponsible and your kids should be going to school everyday learning nothing.” And what I know is that when you are thinking like this, you get smashed up against those people sometimes. And you have to keep going and believe in it, that’s what I really believe. So what I do with my kids is that we travel, and especially during summer vacation. This year we were in India, and in South Africa, and we are very spontaneous about it. Because it’s totally important to me to not plan too much. Just to get excited about a place, have a conversation about it, book tickets, then go! And I’ve written in books that you should never think more than three hours about a place before you buy a ticket. And with kids, you could do some more planning, but not much. And for Dar Khalifa I didn’t give it a moment’s thought buying it, because I knew that if I thought about it too much I wouldn’t do it. And most people (and I rail against them because of it) are just so freaking scared! I mean how bad could it be? If a place is terrible (and I have been in bad situations believe me!)

Greg: So have I!

Tahir: If a place is bad, just go somewhere else!

Tahir: This summer we’ve been to Africa, India and South Africa, a bit of Europe, Tibet by train, we’ve just been zigzagging.

Greg: Let’s dive into Eastern vs Western thinking. And then lead into the Eastern Storytelling philosophy and that kind of education.

Tahir: Well let me take this from the Eastern thinking because I grew up in a kind of crazy family. My father was a well-known writer and believed in what we would call oriental thinking. It’s a completely different mindset than that which you have in the Western world. People here, think in a kind of an ancient way. It’s in a way, that the Western World would think is backwards, but it is something that I value indeed! The culture here in Morocco for example, is a culture where values are very strong, and that’s been VERY important to bring my kids up in a place where the idea of honor, chivalry, and friendship, are very strong. A thing that you do in Morocco is greet people ENDLESSLY. Here are two examples. You don’t get into an elevator in Morocco without saying “Assalamu A’alaykum” (Peace be upon you all), if there are people in that elevator. And you don’t go to a bank without doing that. I think it’s a very sophisticated way of behaving. In the West we have a lot of friends, or rather, people we call “friends.” But we often don’t differentiate between friends and acquaintances. And here in Morocco, if you are someone’s friend, with that friendship there is such responsibility! For example, if you are my friend, and you’ve got a problem, I will drop EVERYTHING and I will come and help you out. But in the Western world, this kind of culture is often missing. What you would have noticed here is that old people, are regarded as wise human beings who hold the wisdom of society. Not people to be locked away in retirement homes. It’s something I’m big into that old people are wisdom, and they need to be protected and listened to.

Greg: I saw that in Latin America and in India as well. Where families are so tight and, “Oh, if grandma is getting old and frail, she is coming to live with me.” Just those connections, the ties, the values… it’s so good!

Tahir: In most of the world there is no such things as a retirement homes. And just a while ago I was talking to our maid here in Dar Khalifa, Zineb, and I told her, “Do you realize that in the Western World and Europe, old people are put in a special place, until they die?” And this maid Zineb just looked at me sideways and said, “What kind of place is that where they take the wisest and most experienced people, and locks them away?” And from here in Morocco, all the way to India and beyond, you have this transmission of grandparents teaching grandchildren. Yes stories are told a lot in the streets and public places, but they are more often told in the kitchens of the houses. When the Grandma is feeding her grandson or granddaughter, she will tell them a story maybe from 1001 Nights or maybe from something else, and when the kid stops eating, she pauses the story. And my own kids grew up here like that. And this is a way that ideas and information are transmitted.

Greg: And for thousands of years.

Tahir: Absolutely. And it’s another way in which this kind of sacred matrix of culture is passed on. And in a way that it couldn’t be in school. People do not learn well in a classroom full of desks with a teacher. They learn very well with one to one contact, listening and doing, and experiencing. Children learn very well when things are exciting. And I have rarely been into a classroom that was very exciting. I know it does exist, but it is very rare. To me, education should like a treasure hunt through random places.

I remember in the early 70s when I was 5 years I was taken to the amazing city of Fes by my family. I remember we arrived outside the city walls and there was a huddle of old men in the shadows. And I remember that I pointing to them while we were driving, and I remember calling out, “Who are these people? Are they robbers?” And my mother said, “Yes, they’re just bad people and you must avoid them”. And then my father said, “No, your mother is wrong. They are the guardians of an ancient knowledge, they are the storytellers. And they are the people that if you listen to them, you can learn more from them than from anybody else”Tahir Shah beach. And he was absolutely right. And to people just traveling through that group of men would just look like a couple of guys in robes, and not something they would notice. And as I’ve said before, it’s only by re-tuning your frequency that you pick up stuff like that, because otherwise, you are blind to it. In the West, so many people have the money to travel, and they do travel… but they remain blind. That saddens me more than anything else in the world. I see people that come through Morocco, they go to the obvious places (I can list them all), they see the same stuff and they go to the same restaurants. When I ask them what they saw or what they did, they start telling me what restaurants they’ve been to… That is totally and utterly meaningless to me and to them! I don’t want to know what the flight was like, what the restaurant was like, I want to know how the place changed you! And it is totally irrelevant to me to hear that the internet connection at the hotel was slow. If someone had his or her phone stolen in Marrakesh, I would say that’s fantastic! At least that’s giving you an adventure, a bit of something. It’s a bit of grit in an oyster that can make a pearl.

Greg: So why don’t they do it? Sitting here listening, I’m thinking “Yes!” Because that’s how I love to travel! I take my baby girl Saige on my backpack, and just go through the Medina or the shantytown that’s here. But I think it scares people. I think they are afraid. They look at something and just have the kneejerk reaction of, “that’s where scary people live.” It’s fear.

Tahir: Yes it is fear. And it’s not just foreigners. It’s often the so-called, “Middle class” Moroccans, some of which were very nervous coming to Dar Khalifa through the shantytown. But back in the old days, the shantytown was a full-on Moroccan village; there was all kinds of stuff there. And what I’ve loved living in Dar Khalifa is that I got to see it from the inside out. And I got to know everyone, and everyone got to know me. And I felt incredibly humbled and privileged that I have gotten to know good people that others in Morocco and elsewhere might think are second-class just because they are poor. One thing that just gags me is in the western world (and I talk about this with my children) is what I call the, “cult of celebrity.” It’s just totally meaningless! I tell to my kids that I’m totally not interested in such people like the Kardashians or Beyonce or anyone on the red carpet or reward ceremony. I tell my kids, “Bring me someone from the shantytown” or, “Let’s go and talk to the guy on the street corner sharpening knives or that man who is looking in the garbage” those are people who have lived lives you couldn’t imagine. People who live with the safety net cut away. And those are the people who we should be talking to and learning from. Or even in the States, those people that are doing the kind of invisible jobs. The people that work in hospitals and the nurses, the people that work behind the scenes and whose job’s go disregarded. Those are the people that are worthy in my opinion.

Greg: And have so much to teach us, and have so much goodness. I’ve been taught some of the choicest lessons in life in some of the poorest, rundown places in the world where very few people would go. That’s where I’ve been taught some of the greatest life principles.

Tahir: Absolutely. And you do not have to travel far. You Greg and your family are traveling the world and that kind of thing is on my frequency and that’s why I appreciate it. But like I said, you don’t have to travel far! I tell people that you can just travel across the street, you could go to work taking a different route, or walk to school on different streets. Or on your day off, go to a part of town you’ve never been to before.

Greg: I said before you could just go to a different restaurant. Try a different meal, talk to different people. See your house differently, see your life differently. Just start with this kind of Worldschooling idea of, “What can the world teach me that maybe I’ve been missing because I’ve had some blinders on?”

Tahir: And it’s very easy to try to do it, then after a few minutes think “I can’t do that, I’ll just go back to my ipad or ipod or i-something or other” I think what you have to do is kind of take a 5 minute burst. Or take a notepad and list bullet points. You kind of have to refigure your system. It’s almost like upgrading your software on your iphone. It’s totally possible and it’s free. It’s just about learning to see things and think in a new way, but it’s an old way too. It’s a much older way than it is a new way.

Greg: I want to ask you some questions. So, you guys know my dream, I have this dream of having a library with ten thousands books. A place of learning where people and friends can come from all over the world and have a colloquia and discuss great ideas and discuss ideas. I walk into Tahir’s house and he’s got this spectacular library! But Tahir my question is how do you balance? Because you have tons of books, and you also travel and have tons of experiences. What is your philosophy in balancing between reading great books and having great experiences?

Tahir: I have been brought up in a family where everyone writes books. My father, his father, my aunts and uncles. So I’ve grown up in a family where books are kind of like air for us. It’s what we know, it’s what we breathe. And I have been brought up to believe that anyone can and should write books. And that books are a very good mechanism and medium, to pass on our ideas, thinking, values, and everything else. So because of this background, I am a book loving man. I love paper books. Some people use kindles or other things like that, and I don’t really care how people read, as long as they are reading. Some of the books in my library I haven’t opened in years. Others I’ve never opened, but I will one day. I’m just waiting for the right moment. Some of my books I travel with endlessly, they are like part of my family. There are about twelve thousand books in that library and each one is kind of like part of my soul, and is a friend to me. But at the same time what I can tell you is this. In a country like Morocco, people don’t read very much, and they don’t have the reading culture. And they have a different culture, an oral culture. Stories pre-date writing systems. For thousands of years there have been storytellers, long before people thought about putting ideas and stories on paper or tablets. Sometimes I wish that Moroccans would read more, but I realize that what they have is a much more ancient system. Although I’m very keen on the written word, I’m also very big on this idea that kids listen to things and listen to audio books. I’m dyslexic and a very slow reader, and I love to hear books read to me and very often I listen to audio books. I think there’s an erroneous idea that it matters if you read slowly or quickly. I don’t think it matters at all. I think it’s a great thing just to be getting stories and ideas into your head; it doesn’t really mater how you get them in there. Like I said, I think receiving it through the ears is wonderful and it touches you in a way that reading doesn’t.

Greg: I love that! And that’s our own philosophy too. It’s this combination of reading great books, listening to great books, hearing stories, and getting out and having experiences. And if you take both of those, it just creates a phenomenal life experience to help you become your best self, and reach your full potentials. So to wrap, what’s one last piece of advice, some encouragement, some message that you would say?

Tahir: I’m going to leave you with this. I ranted on how it’s a great thing to learn to see and to observe again. And there’s something that I saw a while back when I was in India in a café, and I think about this experience all the time. When I was in that café, I told myself that, “I won’t leave this café until I see something that I’ve never realized was there.” And I looked and looked. And I looked at the street, and I saw a woman with a cow, and next to her there was a big bunch mixed up leaves and grass. And every so often, a person would walk by and give a small coin to the woman and would then pick up some of the grass and feed it to the cow. The reason for this is because in India, the cow is a very sacred animal. And so this is a divine act, when someone feeds this cow they will get enlightenment or go to heaven or wherever because they have done this small act of goodness. And I looked at it, and it was something I’ve seen a million times over, seeing a woman, a cow, and a pile of grass. It is very common there. I didn’t think too much of it and my eyes drifted to somewhere else on the street. But my eyes kept going back to the woman. And the hours passed and I kept thinking about it. I remember, it was almost dark and the woman took the cow away. And then something clicked in my head and I realized what was this was all about, it was the genius of India. It was the kind of magic that travel is all about to me. And this is how it all worked. The woman sits there all day long waiting all day for people to buy a little bit of her leaves and grass, but she doesn’t own the cow. The cow is owned by a milkman. And at about 5:00 in the morning, the milkman finishes milking his cows and he rents the cows out. He had rented this cow out to that woman. And the woman was like a babysitter because the milkman is busy with his rounds delivering his milk so he needs someone to look after his cows. This is the genius of India. So the milkman is happy because he gets his cow feed and looked after, and the woman pays him a little bit for looking after the cow. The woman is happy because she gets a livelihood, she gets money for sitting there selling the grassy leafy stuff. And the people who are buying the grassy leafy stuff and feed the cow are happy because they get enlightenment. But best of all, the cow is thrilled to bits because he gets fed all day long! And to me that is the power of travel. That is something (even though a small example) that I could never have learned in a classroom, could never have received from a teacher. It was something I had to learn for myself. And this is one of the hundred zillion little things like that I have seen, and you have seen, that have kind of changed us and shaped us, and made us the people we are.

Greg: Exactly, thank you. And like Tahir said, you may never leave your neighborhood, but you can see it differently, you can have those experiences, you can have that change and kind of that mindset of being present.

Tahir: To those of you reading this or watching this or whatever, what I want to leave you with is this idea that if you want to travel, it’s possible. If you want to have a fantastic incredible life, it is pretty darn easy. It’s a lot easier for you than for most of the people in the world because you (I’m guessing) have a passport that is valid or could get a passport that’s valid. But my point is that you don’t need very much money, you don’t need a lot of support to make this life happen. But what you do need, is the will to want to do it. And not to be sidelined by the people who say that it’s impossible. I remember when I was younger I wanted to study in Africa. And my parents, I remember at the breakfast table, they said to me, “Go, to Africa and study.” And I said, “Well maybe I’ll do it in a few months.” And they said, “Go next week. You will go next week and you will go find a course and study in Africa.” And I went to an American University in Kenya for 2 years and that kind of put me in this track. And it’s only because my father said, “Don’t think about it, just do it”. So my message to anyone listening to this or reading this, is, “Don’t think about it, don’t tell people about it, just do it.”

Paris SyndromeGreg: Go on and have amazing experiences that will shape who you become and how you live.

Tahir: And the way that as a new person or maybe as the person that you would have been before you were indoctrinated by the system. As that person you will have a ripple effect and touch other people, and that’s what’s important to me.

Greg: Awesome, thank you so much. How can people find out more about you? How to find your website or get your books?

Tahir: You can find me online, Tahirshah.com, Wikipedia, social media (Facebook). I have a Youtube channel and I put up a lot of crazy stuff about Casablanca, other places, and about this house.

Greg: I’ll put the links all down below. The books he wrote all have lessons in them and awesome experiences he’s had and it’s so exciting. So get out and live this fantastic life, learn as you go and as always, REACH UPWARD.


Check out Tahir’s latest book:


September 27, 2016

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