Why Organizing For Travel is Similar to Organizing for Leadership

In less than 30 days, I take my Mastermind to Marrakech.

As I was making my packing list, [Video] I was recalling my last trip to the northern tip of Africa. The arid heat of the white sand desert, my camel laboring in the 99 degree heat, as I chatted idly with people who were mere strangers an hour ago. Once I got to my tent, I refused to take off one iota of clothing, for fear of the wolves that rove outside. The souk, loud, pungent with spices that make your eyes burn, and the unmistakable smell of camel leather. I was slack-jawed, staring up at the bags beckoning from 8 feet up in the stalls. The vendors yell “buy, buy, buy.” Our “American” screams from the clothing we were wearing. The beaches, where I saw women in head-to-toe black, marvelling at the sand as it slipped through their fingers in the same way it slipped through mine.

I got to thinking that organizing for a trip, with such a range of activities, isn’t that different than organizing for leadership.

You have to plan for different day parts

Hiking, Hammams, Horseback riding. We have a veritable menu of activities happening on this trip. It’s not okay to arrive flat footed at the base of the mountain and say, “I only brought 5 inch heels.” You have to organize for leadership, much in the way you organize for a trip.

You have to respect cultural nuances

While Marrakech is progressive, its recommended that we not show too much of our bodies. If you’re doing any international business, you know there are nuances to doing business that you must observe. Each time I go to Paris, I have to remember ‘loud, brash New Yorker’ doesn’t quite work there.

Plan for the down time

While there are activities galore, I’m sure to include white space in the calendar to wander, explore, reflect on life thousands of miles away. AND bring a notebook everywhere. What systems and processes could be put in place when you get back? What answers have the chance to bubble up given that you are relaxed?

You have to communicate

What systems and processes need to be in place while you are gone from work? I have a team now, so I have asked my assistant to send me a synopsis of emails while I’m away. She and I communicated ahead of time on the method to use when its a level 4 issue and needs my attention right away.

I’m also communicating to my members that I will be offline Sept 21–26th, so not to expect the usual peer mentoring calls.

You have to anticipate the environment

Late September in Morocco still promises 90 degree weather. We will be in the desert. So it’s cotton, linens, and hats the entire way.

You have to plan for the return to real life.

Here is an article I wrote on setting yourself up for success upon returning from vacation. Hint: I don’t schedule any meetings the week I return.

Now let’s get to the clothes

I much prefer to be nimble and agile while traveling. I like to keep things minimal. Rather than bring an influencer’s brand of 3 steamer trunks, I bring one carry on. Everything has to fit in there.

La Maison Arabe


We are on overnight non stop flights from JFK to Casablanca. Comfy sweats from Banana Republic Factory are my “go-to,” with my favorite upcycled t-shirt from Marine Layer underneath. I hate wearing underwire bras on long haul flights, so a Commando stretch bra does the job. I am madly in love with the Invisi-wear boyshorts from Lululemon and will be wearing them the entire trip. My Nikes and blister-free socks from Balega do the honors on footwear.

Once we get our private van transfer from Casablanca to Marrakech, the adventure begins. We start with a carriage ride around the city. I have a beautiful cotton skirt from designer Chirag Nainani that I pair with a white scoop neck t shirt. All my essentials for touring fit in a straw box bag from Amazon. It will be too hot to wear full blown sneakers, so I will wear these sporty sandals from Skechers, with a sneaker like bottom, but straps to let my feet breathe.

Dar Zellij for dinner

Dinner at night is at Dar Zellij. I’ll wear a off the shoulder long sleeved top with wide legged pants and tassled mules, inspired by Morocco.


We tour the exotic city of Marrakech. A Shaina Moite linen top, paired with a Mykonos blue skirt, my straw box bag, Sketchers sandals and Cuyana hat will suffice at the Marjorelle Gardens (Yves Saint Laurent’s hang out) to lunch on the Nomad Rooftop overlooking everything. Then its off for visit to the hammam in La Mamounia, a five-star destination in Marrakech opposite the Kutubiyya Mosque. (If you saw the Netflix show “Inventing Anna,” the main character visited here.). We dine here in the evening, so I will bring my outfit with me.

Nomad Rooftop for Lunch
La Mamounia Hammam and Dinner
Ourika Valley and Atlas Mountains for hiking. Visit to a Berber home


We head to the Ourika valley to hike the Atlas Mountains. Athleta top, sports bra, shorts, hiking shoes, and baseball hat will come with me. Some days, I think I’m singlehandedly supporting Banana Republic and Athleta. My excursion bag is lightweight, and carries a bottle of water for hydration, sunscreen, the essentials. I’ll stuff a long sleeved shirt in there for good measure, for our lunch and visit to a traditional Berber home. At night, we are at an elegant dinner just outside of town. I have linen separates paired with my Kurt Geiger, evil-eye shoes. (very Moroccan appropriate)

Oxygen Lodge, Agafay Desert


We travel one hour to the Agafay Desert and Oxygen Lodge. Comfort is the order of the day, with wide legged cotton pants and a linen shirt since this day then tumbles into our camel ride. I’m keeping things baggy for the desert (and the camel). Once at the Oxygen Lodge, we can jump in the infinity pool and ready for dinner. I”ll bring a white halter dress, which doubles as a coverup. We stay here overnight.


Then its about a 3 hour drive to Essaouria. I’ll wear an easy cotton racerback dress from AYR. The last time I was in Morocco, I only got to spend a half day here. My friend and I hopped a public bus to the beach town. I’m happy to be staying overnight at Heure Bleue Palais. At sunset, we go horseback riding. A scoop neck cotton top from Adriano Goldsmith Jeans and Athleta joggers should keep me comfortable. At night, i’ll wear a one shoulder eyelet top and skirt set to dinner.

Horseback riding, Essaouria

We head to Casablanca to catch our lunchtime flights back to New York! Another jogger set will keep me comfy as I dream of Marrakech.

I host a Mastermind for senior women leaders and business owners who have a goal and want to make it their lived reality in one year. How ready are you to get your goals? Take this assessment www.goalsscorecard.com



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Joya Dass

If you have a goal and want the steps to make it your reality, I have a solution. www.joyadass.com