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Home » 13 Women, 30 Activities and One Goal: Make Friends

13 Women, 30 Activities and One Goal: Make Friends

by News Desk

When I asked Radha Vyas, who founded Flash Pack with her husband, Lee Thompson, to give me the profile of a typical patron, she described her clients as “decision makers or leaders” in their regular lives who “want somebody else to take control” of their vacations. “Lots of our customers are lawyers, doctors, and they’ve done really, really well in their careers,” she said over video chat from London — so well that they have developed “decision fatigue” from the litany of correct decisions they have been forced to make while scaling new professional heights. “They just want to turn up,” Vyas said. “Somebody tells you where to be, what time, what to do, what to wear, and you can just let go.”

My group’s official welcome meeting was scheduled for 6 p.m. the Sunday of our arrival, by which point nearly all pack members had taken it upon themselves to welcome one another in various permutations as they arrived at our Marrakesh hotel from Denver, London and beyond. I was still asleep, flying over the Atlantic Ocean, while the unofficial pre-welcome welcoming logistics began to be codified, and then continuously revised and expanded in the WhatsApp group. Before I got off the plane, most of the other travelers were already linking up, grabbing lunch, or coffee, or rooftop drinks at a restaurant near the hotel.

I had been distressed that my late-afternoon arrival (well within the company’s recommended arrival window) precluded my participation in the unsanctioned, prefatory socializing. But then, while I was waiting in line at the hotel’s check-in desk, I was approached by a brisk British stranger who gave an instant, slightly terrifying yet invigorating impression of uncanny competence, who asked, “Are you Flash Pack?” She had spotted the small brown bag containing a tiny hamsa-shaped welcome soap I had been given by a company representative at my airport pickup, and recognized it as the twin of the small brown bag containing a tiny hamsa-shaped welcome soap she had received, she explained — and so I was able to be unofficially pre-welcomed anyway.

There were 13 of us total. Each day of the trip, I would spend a little time privately trying to map the biblical significance of this number neatly onto our group, frustrated that no clear stand-in for Christ ever emerged. (If it was anyone, it was the vivacious and bubbly woman from a village called Burnham, which she described as “near Slough,” who was legitimately nice to everyone, and whose job investigating international commercial real estate disputes gave her experience performing little miracles in the Middle East.) Ultimately, the best I could come up with was that if Jesus had surrounded himself with 12 such team-oriented, schedule-conscious youngish (kind of) women, he might still be alive today.

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