Alex Yee lives in San Francisco and works in tech as a UX designer for Google. She travelled with Flash Pack to Morocco on our foodie and hiking escape last year
I had a few weeks between jobs and wanted to go somewhere far and different. I wasn’t looking to backpack or test my survival skills. I was looking for an adventure that would push me, and yet still allow me to relax on my vacation.
As I sifted through group trips online, Morocco kept standing out to me. Unlike my friends who have always dreamed of going, I honestly had no clue what the country was about.
I researched a bit but really went in blind to my Morocco adventure, and I’m so glad that I did. I was fascinated by everything! The people are kind, the Arabic language is beautiful and the food is AMAZING.
I’ve travelled solo with a tour group before, and I didn’t have the greatest time. I felt we had a hard time connecting to each other; often, days were full of silence and loneliness. I was confident the Flash Pack trip would be better.
Our group connected instantly! We were all super-comfortable being ourselves, letting each other in, and sharing life stories. Everyone came on the trip for a different reason, yet we all bonded over the excitement of the adventure.
Sharing unique experiences quickly made us feel connected, too. Each person picked up little details that I would have missed otherwise.
Soon into the trip, we all got into our birthday suits to get scrubbed down at the Hammam spa. It’s not something I’d ever do with my friends but maybe because everyone I met was still a stranger, I mustered enough courage to do it.
I was nervous going into a country where I didn’t even know how to read the script of the signs. I knew no Arabic or French, yet everyone was so warm and hospitable. Our guide, Tarik, helped tremendously in breaking the language barriers in the most respectful way.
In fact, Tarik was the main reason why our trip was so epic. His kindness, openness to learning about us, and genuine desire to share the best of his country helped me feel more connected to the Moroccan culture and sense of humour. It felt like Tarik really became a part of the family, as if you were visiting a cousin and they were hosting you around their home.
There was never a boring moment on this trip. Walking around the Marrakech medina was so special. We were all soaking in the environment, the smells, textures, and the hustle and bustle. Each time we sat to eat, we’d revel at what we saw.
As we glamped at La Pause in the Agafay Desert, I woke up early to catch the sunrise over the desert’s horizon. One of the site’s adorable pups came to sit with me as I watched the hills light up and sky turn warm, vibrant colours.
Read more: 6 of the best hotels with statement pools
I absolutely loved being in the Atlas hills, too. Watching families come out of the city in search of nature made me feel connected to everyone there. It was so cool to see restaurants and cafes serving delicious tagines and tea along the river where families picnicked.
Moroccans know what’s up. What’s better than nature, food, and picnicking on comfy Berber rugs?
Our hotel there, Douar Samra, was nestled in the hills and every inch was decorated with beautiful rugs, tapestries, lamps and tiles. One of my favourite moments was resting in the hammock after a long day’s hike.
While we were there, we had a dish called Seffa Medfouna, which is buried spiced chicken with a kind of sweet and savory palette. I literally couldn’t stop eating it, and now that I’m back at home, I crave it. I asked the hotel chefs to teach me how they made it. Since then, I’ve made it three times for friends and family, and they all love it.
At first, I was so scared to go on this trip solo, but I am so glad I took the chance. There is something special about immersing yourself in an unfamiliar culture and land. I find I grow the most when I push out of my comfort zone.
The philosophy of Flash Pack makes each adventure unique, while ensuring people are kind and everyone gets along. I was blown away at the hospitality and great organisation of the trip, and I felt very taken care of.
Is Morocco travel calling to you? Jump on-board as we hike the Atlas foothills, sleep beneath the stars of Agafay desert, and take a food safari around the markets of Marrakech (plus, surfing, yoga and camel rides)
Photos: Alex Yee
Four other great escapes
Pop these Flash Pack favourites on your bucket list
Savour the sweet life in Sri Lanka
Cycle through the ancient temples of Polonnaruwa, hike to the summit of the Sigiriya Rock Fortress at sunset, and spot elusive leopards on safari in Yala National Park. Plus, beautiful beaches, tea hills and the world’s most scenic train ride.
Challenge yourself in Chile
Marvel at erupting geysers on a magical dawn safari, and toast to the beauty of being with sundowners on the Atacama Desert. Then, send your adventure radar soaring with white-water rafting on the Petrohué River, followed by a challenging hike through Torres del Paine National Park.
Break free in summertime Finland
Paddle-board and kayak across the mirror-still lakes of Finland’s Nuuksio National Park, before chilling out in woodland saunas in this unspoiled corner of the world. As twilight draws in, conjure up an al fresco banquet with the help of a wilderness chef, and bed down beneath the stars in pioneering tree tents.
Hike to the summit of Toubkal, Morocco
Leave modern life far behind on this delightful two-day hike to the summit of Mount Toubkal, North Africa’s highest peak. We’ll follow ancient mule trails that weave their way across the hazy Ait Mizane valley, passing through a tucked-away world of sleepy Berber villages and sun-dappled cliff paths. After reaching the summit on a dawn scramble, and admiring the incredible views, we’ll return to Marrakech for a rewarding steam room bathe.