From New Jersey to Morocco - Tom’s First Time Overseas


What happens when you unexpectedly win a free trip to Morocco through an Instagram contest? 

Do you:

  1. Stalk them on social media and wonder, "Is this too good to be true?"
  2. Question if "the people are going to be hot Instagram models from Too Hot To Handle" when you might not cast yourself as the next member
  3. Immediately grab your suitcase and throw the PTO on your calendar
  4. All of the above

📣 PSA: Everyone's an Instagram model in their own right.

Meet Tom, SurfYogaBeer's (SYB) most recent Instagram contest winner, who offers his thoughts on his first time overseas with SurfYogaBeer! From the shock of winning an Instagram contest to heading overseas for the first time just three weeks later, Tom tackles the common and relatable hesitations about group travel and offers an inside look at how taking a chance and putting any ego aside can result in having a "F*cking great time!"

What were your expectations before joining the trip?

I've lived in Hawaii, traveled within the US, and hopped off the cruise ship in Cozumel for a few hours once, but this was the first time I'd been traveling outside the country (US.) I was nervous to travel without my wife, even though she was super supportive and reminded me that "people don't just win trips to Morocco."

I had heard really good things about SYB, but there would be around fifty people I didn't know. Although initially a bit nervous, I kept myself open and knew I'd make it work and have a good time. I was wrong. I didn't have a good time. I had a f*cking great time!

What were your apprehensions about joining a group trip?

Thinking I could plan something cheaper on my own or question why to join a trip with a bunch of strangers. I had thought about group trips in the past, but my ego would get in the way. 

And while I like adventure, being active, and working out regularly, my favorite activity is lying down. I was nervous that the trip would be extreme fitness and hundreds of burpees mixed with some other stuff, but it wasn't like that at all! It was as challenging as you made it, and everyone was at different fitness levels and supported each other.

What surprised you most about the experience with SYB?

Before the trip started, I thought people might be cliquey, but I quickly learned that everyone was so nice and wanted to get to know each other. When I first arrived, I felt sort of like the new kid at school trying to pick the right lunch table to sit at. I was a little nervous and didn't want to be too weird, but by the following day, I was comfortable talking to anyone, and it seemed like others felt the same. I was surprised that in one short night, after no sleep for over 24 hours, mixed in with some jetlag, how comfortable I felt with the group. 

What's a core memory from your trip?

Ah, this is like picking your favorite child. There are so many! From getting thrown off a camel and landing on my feet to telling everyone on the trip about my days as a tour guide and having that become a recurring joke, I got to be "Tour Guide Tom," and everyone embraced it, which was really fun. 

I also went into the trip with this perceived notion that leaders were just there to lead, but they were so much more than that. On the first night, I had two separate conversations with two leaders, Mantas and Alex. They asked about me, where home is, what I do, and more, and I'll never forget how intently they listened and asked probing questions. It was clear that they wanted to get to know me and cared, and I thought that was pretty cool.


As a first-time SYB-er, what information was provided that helped you prepare?

The PDF itinerary I received before the trip started was helpful, and I appreciated having an outline of the locations and some of the activities we'd be doing.

The WhatsApp chats with everyone for the upcoming trip were big as well. It was great being able to bounce ideas off one another and virtually meet some people even before the trip started. It also helped to know (especially for my first solo flight to Morocco) that I was with others in the group. Don't be afraid to participate in those chats!

What's something you wish you knew before going on the trip?

Take the extra PTO day when you return! While there are relaxing moments during the trip, you'll probably be tired because there's such an adventure-packed itinerary. 

Would you recommend a trip with SYB to others?

Definitely! This experience was a great mix of everything. Adventure, seeing new things, trying new foods, and (some) relaxing, but what stood out most were the people and the sense of community that SYB created. Morocco was dope, but I left feeling so grateful to meet so many new people, some who even live close to me! 

If a voice in your head wants to do something, don't let your ego stop you. There are a billion reasons to say no, but SYB is a great way to step outside your comfort zone, be uncomfortable for a tiny bit, and quickly learn that most everyone else is in a similar position and that you're in a safe environment and can be yourself. 

A musician, Nahko, says in one of his songs, "Today's a good day for my ego to die." If you're like I was and are putting off taking a group trip because of your ego or thinking you can do it cheaper, push your ego aside.

A trip with SurfYogaBeer won't leave you feeling like all you did was eat and lounge, as you would probably do on a typical vacation. Whether you take the chance on a group trip to challenge yourself physically, or you do it to prove to yourself that traveling "solo" overseas for the first time isn't so bad, do it! I came on this trip solo, but I wasn't alone. From the culture to the food and the activities, Morocco was amazing, but it was the ego-free people that really made the experience. 

Still on the fence about booking your next adventure with us? Read up on a few reasons why you should, and follow us on social media, as we often do Instagram giveaways and offer discounts. Be on the lookout, as your next adventure might be an Instagram contest away!

See all SurfYogaBeer trips to Morocco here!