Being More – Chelsea Wick

Many of Epic’s clients are from the US, so it’s great to have a new team member onboard from the San Francisco Bay area. Chelsea Wick is our event manager for private groups in Portugal and Morocco. Chelsea comes from the high paced and demanding world of Interior Design where she recently worked at Ken Fulk, she has travelled extensively and has a deep knowledge of what each of our countries can offer, as well as a well-honed creative eye on what works for our clients. A keen yoga enthusiast and teacher, Chelsea talks about how she has managed to find the perfect balance of exciting work with a lifestyle she loves, outside of the US.

Tell us a bit about what you were up to before joining Epic…

“I was working in a full-on role involving client relations, vendor partnerships, and constant creative problem solving in the Interior design business, then between jobs at the end of 2012 I signed up for a yoga teacher training in Bali not because I wanted to teach, but because it healed the pain from tennis knee and was a healthy way to manage the stress of my jobs.

Back in the states I started offering yoga classes in the homeless shelters and church outreach programs where I was already volunteering. At the end of 2020 I left my job at Ken Fulk and moved to Morocco where I began teaching in Marrakech enjoying the chance to breathe and enjoy more relaxed human connections for a while.”

What appealed to you about Epic? What convinced you to join?

“I’ve always loved to travel, making the most out of my precious two weeks of PTO every year! The silver lining of the pandemic was the time it offered to reflect on where I was in my life, and where I wanted to go personally and professionally.  After over two years of life abroad in Morocco I quickly realised that nowhere in the US felt like home anymore, interview after interview showed I had long since moved past the corporate America mentality. A position that combined events and travel had tremendous appeal, and when the possibility of being based in Portugal and traveling back and forth to Morocco was presented it felt like kismet.

What is your remit at Epic?

My main role is to manage events for Morocco and Portugal, however Epic is an open and supportive company, encouraging growth, they have a focus on ‘Be More’ which is about empowerment and transformation not just for clients but for us too. You feel like you can make a difference, and dip your toes into new areas, contribute to the bigger picture which I love.”

Having had the choice to live in Morocco or Portugal – why did you choose Portugal in the end?

“It started with booking a last minute ticket direct from Oakland to the island of Terceira in the Azores, which no one believed was real! Luckily it did turn out to be an actual flight, and I ended up on a plane filled with Portuguese-Americans going back to the islands to spend the summer with their families. Marin county where I’m from was settled by Azorean dairy farmers two centuries ago, so walking out of the airport into the fields at Lajes instantly felt like home. I went on to spend three incredible months in Moledo, Porto, Lisbon and Cascais. There are the more obvious reasons for choosing Portugal; the familiarity of being surrounded by the ocean, the sunshine and mild winters, the delicious seafood, a rich history and the beautiful architecture. Although if I had to pick just one it would be the inspiring way Portuguese people savor and enjoy life. Morocco has such a special place in my heart too and I’ve fallen into a truly amazing community here that will keep me coming back indefinitely. Ultimately I feel lucky I don’t have to choose definitively between one or the other!”

Three months in, any funny or stand-out moments so far?

“I was just preparing the last venue for my second events group when I got a very out-of-the-blue call from Charlie. He had just returned from the Anti Atlas with the bad news that a permit did not come through for one of the most important locations of a VIP client’s 3-week adventure in Morocco. There was only one other option in this remote climbing region: a very simple and outdated homestay, and the pictures indicated there was a lot of work ahead in the next 48 hours! Later that afternoon after buying beds and textiles, we were on the autoroute taking an exit from Agadir that led up a winding road where the scenery changed from small villages to high desert and mountains reminiscent of the southwest US. At one point we had to pull over for a Nomad and his herd of at least a hundred camels. Once we arrived I was pleasantly surprised to find that the place actually had some good elements to work with; it was built right into the rock, so the stone was an integral part of the design. The family had also collected some really cool vintage climbing gear, tea sets, and Moroccan pottery over the years. The problem was these gems were lost in the clutter of dormitory beds, mismatched furniture, and the wrong textiles. At first light the next morning the process started and it was an all-hands-on-deck affair to first get everything cleared and then place all of the pieces we had trucked in from Marrakech. Morocco has a long heritage of artisans and craftspeople, so there is no shortage of beautiful handmade rugs, furniture, pottery and art to choose from here (make sure to save room in your suitcase!). Ultimately we created a rustic rock climber’s sanctuary just in time for the clients’ arrival.

What insight do you have into US visitors and what is important to them?

“Americans have such limited vacation time in a year, so I would say maximizing time is a huge priority. Especially after the last three years people are eager to leave their home offices to start exploring and having adventures again. Its hard to generalize such a large country, but on the whole most Americans are interested in different cultures, food, music, art, and nature but can be intimidated by a foreign language and navigating a different system. The best part about planning a trip with Epic is that the authenticity is kept intact, but the practical logistics are taken care of so the vacation can just be savored and enjoyed.”  

Finally, having taught yoga – what is your view on wellness in Morocco and Portugal?

“The two countries offer a plethora of stunning natural landscapes to choose from, and there is so much raw unspoiled land just outside of the major cities perfect for decompressing. Wellness has become such a buzzword in the last years and I think when its distilled down, it is all about a higher quality of life. Both Portugal and Morocco share such a refreshing perspective about living that I hope all Americans get to experience at least once. It’s hard to put into words, but the warmth and love that are present here everyday really is life changing”