The past 20 months have certainly taught us that travel is a precious gift and privilege we can’t take for granted but I have also realized that my desire – even urge – to travel has never been stronger. I also firmly believe that COVID-19 is here to stay, it will eventually transition from a pandemic to being endemic, but it is absolutely possible to coexist with the virus (governments working together on a unified approach would certainly be helpful but the advent of Omicron has yet again shown that every country, or sometimes even region is determined to put their own random measures in place, so this remains wishful thinking on my part).
In fact, this summer we have gradually resumed our operations – first domestically in Australia and the US but then also in Egypt, Iceland as well as a number of favorite European destinations such as Italy, Spain, Portugal, Ireland, Croatia, Switzerland, the UK and more. Whilst operations have never been more complex and we’ve had to adjust and pivot along the way, we now have the living proof that our well-thought-out and carefully planned protocols are working and we are back to doing what we love and do best: deliver amazing holiday experiences for our guests. And without wanting to state the obvious, in this ‘brave new world’ going guided is THE best way to travel.
Throughout the pandemic I have also made a concerted effort to focus on what I can control and on the positives. Even on the darkest days, it is possible to turn Covid lemons into lemonade.
One such example is our family trip to the Galapagos Islands this autumn. In a normal year, I’d be busy supporting our team in Australia and New Zealand with launch events at that time, but Covid transformed this into an opportunity to cross the Galapagos Islands off my personal bucket list (it had been on there for some 20 years!) what was even better, to experience it with my family.
Not only did we have an amazing time experiencing the incredible wildlife and being really far away from civilization (when was the last time you didn’t have WiFi for several days, and apart from our small group of 20 on the yacht didn’t see another human, nor a building, nor a road nor a car?), it also highlighted the power and importance of travel in a profound way. How invigorated, enriched and alive you feel when you see, taste, hear, smell and touch a new destination. How travel really can be a force for good if you see how the Galapagos Islands masterfully manage conservation and tourism. It also highlighted how difficult the absence of tourism had been for the local Galapagueños.