Greetings from Thailand!
It's the time of year when it's fashionable to review all that happened in the last twelve months, and what a year it was! The year travel returned after what felt like an eternity away.
In reflecting on it all, I recalled how nearly three years ago Joel and I spent many hours discussing whether or not we should fold the business and try to reopen whenever the pandemic might end; or if we should hold steady through it and, in the memorable words from one of our members, "keep the dream of travel alive."
Those were bleak times, and ones that continued to the start of this year, with most countries still closed and the pandemic not yet under control. There were many times before but particularly then where we questioned whether we had made the right call, and whether or not we were really going to make it.
Then at some exact point that I cannot recall...things shifted. We took an intrepid group on our first LiveAway and first trip since 2020 to Madeira, which was wonderful and cathartic and a first step toward a travel community's dreams coming true.
By the spring the demand for travel had roared back and it vastly exceeded (still does) the supply and ability of businesses in all areas of the industry to cope with the demand after two long years of nothing at all.
We were not free of the chaos by any means, and yet in spite of all the obstacles we were able to make a bunch of trips happen, bringing travellers all over the world, some of them simultaneously!
None of this was possible without the team at Wheel & Anchor diving in and wrangling the chaos, and being incredibly resilient against the challenges. I am blessed to work with great people who believe in what we're doing, and to stick with us through all the pandemic threw our way.
The result was the most satisfying for me - travellers travelling and connecting, two things we were unable to do for a very long time. I made a video this week highlighting all the different trips that happened that you can see here - putting it together was a lovely trip down memory lane.
I didn't include all of my own travels in the video, but I did run a little tally for the year...I went to 16 countries, some multiple times, climbed 3 volcanoes, visited 10 islands, and spent 7 days in complete silence. On top of it all I had 0 alcoholic beverages, which felt amazing! I am as yet undecided if I will break the streak with a glass of champagne for NYE...we shall see.
I declare it a success, though in some ways I can't believe it all happened...but the flood of memories and the photos I put in the video say it definitely did! I am grateful for it all, and I look forward to all the adventures to come.
My final reflections on it all are questions of meaning..is there anything to make of it in a larger sense? Was our gamble just lucky and that is all?
I can't say for sure, but perhaps there is something to be said here about the power of intention, and remaining optimistic, even in the face of overwhelming odds.
And if one person's intention is powerful, a shared intention amongst a group of likeminded people is even greater than that. Could the combined intention of our little community of travellers have had something to do with the restoring of order and the return of travel?
That's...a rather bold idea and of course we can't prove it...we can only measure by the results. And whether we caused it or lucked into it, here we all are! I suppose that means we can choose whether or not our intention had anything to do with it, and personally I think it's far more fun to think that it did 🙂
To that end I'd like to say a heartfelt thanks to all of our members who've travelled with us, are booked to travel with us, are intending to travel with us, and everyone who reads my ramblings and click things of interest in this newsletter. The future is bright and I'm delighted you're here to explore it with us.
This newsletter is getting long so I'll be brief on trips - new this week is a second October sailing of our Adriatic Coast program, which you can find below. Next week we'll be launching Ireland and our Galapagos program for 2024, which we've done the webinar for and are just on the last edits of the itinerary.
Thanks for reading and everything else, and I'll end with a reminder that we will be closed for a much-needed break from Dec 23 - Jan 3, so please keep that in mind for anything you'd like to get booked or information on before the holidays.
Lots more to come, in 2023 and beyond...