What unprecedented territory we are charting at this moment: a day in time when the entire world has a Level 4 Travel Warning across it. I write this not from a business perspective, but with humility as a fellow traveler, a fellow human, in hopes that we could come together in our united concerns. For most of us, COVID-19 is now in our own back yards – an uninvited guest that we certainly do not wish to entertain. This might be the only time in our lives where we are truly called to sacrifice in solidarity with one another, and it might be the only point where we can collectively understand what gratitude looks like moving forward.
As we see this impact our local communities, there’s a certain level of grief that hangs in the air. Perhaps, many of you are feeling a similar wave of emotions. Some of you have not only had to cancel and postpone your own travels, but are now experiencing the personal impact within your community. Our team has been tirelessly serving clients and we see the tension it has placed on our travelers as they feel the daily pressure of a new, hopefully temporary, normal. What is happening on a global basis is putting additional pressure on us as humans. It’s hard, y’all. All we give is kindness and grace toward one another, and that’s all we can ask for in return. Let’s do this in spades.
I sincerely believe that life will very much return to normal, sooner rather than later, that you will get to travel again soon, and that our team will be here with smiling faces and open hearts when that time comes. We will never take for granted the opportunity to serve our guests. What else will we never take for granted?
That answer is different for all of us. For me, I see the upcoming month of trips I’ve personally canceled: meeting my team on a company trip to Texas, taking my babymoon in Scotland, flying to a friend’s wedding in Austin. I stand in confidence that these are merely postponed: we WILL take these trips, even if the babymoon becomes our daughter’s first trip abroad! I rest in gratitude that nothing we have lost cannot be rebuilt or replaced, that my family, friends and health are in tact. The things I have either lost or have on the line, like finances and business, are nominal (I feel it important to add: I have not had every dollar refunded to me on these trips because I was in penalties and I am not exempt from these rules – but I am so grateful to our gracious partners who have made exceptions in the form of future credits, just like they have for our clients.)
Think for a moment on that bucket list destination you’re planning to get to: how much sweeter will those moments now be if we can hold onto the gratitude that is now in our hearts? Imagine the tears that will be in your eyes as you’re staring out over the expanse of the Serengeti from a hot air balloon ride, think about how much more meaningful that St. Paddy’s Day Toast is going to be in Ireland next year when you don’t have to maintain social distancing, begin to taste the bottles upon bottles of wine that you now plan on indulging in on your next trip to Italy, because I can tell you as a pregnant lady who cannot consume wine during this pandemic: you need to drink some for me, please. Let’s be grateful for the memories we have and never again take for granted our memories to come. This is the beating heart behind our team.
Thank you so much to those of you who have trusted us to plan your memories, who are currently trusting us to go up to bat for you as your advocates, and for those of you who currently or eventually will plan your vacation dreams with us. It’s an honor that I only thought we knew how to appreciate, but this time of COVID-19 has taught me even more that we cannot thank you enough for your business: past, present and future. Stay strong as we daydream travel destinations, share our #spreadkindnessnotcorona campaign on Instagram, and work toward the future for our incredible travelers.