The beginning of 2021, I took three days at a hotel here in Charlotte to do some reflecting on 2020 as well as some 2021 goal setting. It was the first time I have taken this kind of time away to review and refocus. At the time I wasn’t sure what that would look like? How do you goal set for a travel business when 2020 was so devastating for the travel industry? How do you review a year as hard as 2020 without leaving discouraged and unmotivated?
Over the course of the three days, I focused on 3 things.
1. A personal review and goals for how I can continue to grow and change as a person.
2. Reviewing 2020 for the business.
3. Looking ahead and dreaming up ideas for the business in 2021.
This meant asking myself some hard questions but also rejoicing over the things that did go well over the last year. Things to be grateful for and things that would hopefully define 2021.
What came out of those three days were two big goals.
Making JOY the focus of 2021. I always try to pick a word for the year and this seemed fitting. 2020 was filled with so much angst and anxiety. I needed to reset my brain and realize that there is much to be joyful about in the midst of all the craziness.
For the business
It is the recurring theme of thoughtful travel. Once the pandemic is over and we go back to whatever the new “normal” will be in the travel world, how will this affect how we see travel and ourselves?
What I kept thinking about was not just how we experience travel, but how our travel experiences translate into memories and stories. The stories you have curated over the years through your experiences have made you who you are and have formed how you see the world.
And with everything that is going on in the world, how can we be thoughtful travelers. Not just consumers of a new place but experiencers of that place. How are we impacted by our travels and how can we impact others through our travels?
So what do I think that will mean for 2021? I think people have realized over the last year, when we have lost so many people that life is so short. Those bucket list items, those things we thought we could never accomplish, those hopes for the future, that life is too short. We all learned how to pivot (most overused word of 2020, don’t you think?) and improvise and create in an environment that kept throwing all of us curve balls. I hope we come out of this with more gratitude and empathy like never before.
I was listening to a historian who was talking about the Spanish Flu in 1918. How it decimated society, one third of the population died, economies tanked, people didn’t go outside and had to wear masks. But after it was over came the Roaring 20s. It was like all the death, anxiety and fear lead to a boom of industry, money and opportunity. People were ready to get out and live life to the fullest. I have feeling history will repeat itself.
Several people have contacted me over the last 6 months and the sentiment has been the same across the board, “I am not ready to travel yet, but when I am… get ready! There are places I need to get to.” I really believe people will be ready more than ever before to have those bucket list experiences, including those dream trips they thought might never happen.
Travel has the ability to make people better. Having a glimpse into another culture and people’s way of living changes how we see ourselves and the world. It can make us realize how fortunate we are, it can give us memories we will never forget. It guides us into empathy and compassion for others and the environment. It gives us more knowledge and it inspires our creativity.
So what does thoughtful travel mean for The Constant Wayfarer? It means paying even more attention to what my clients want and creating moments for them to truly have an experience that changes them for the better. The moments where travel becomes not just a list of to dos but an opportunity to create a new story.
It will mean a new focus on sustainable travel, wellness travel, and volunteerism. Doing the research to understand how the travel industry is working to make travel more sustainable. Focusing on wellness travel and the options available for clients who want to getaway and restore both their physical and mental health. It will mean doing more work to understand the impact our travels have on our environment, the economies and infrastructures of the places we are visiting, the affect on the people we are encountering.
After the year we have had with both the pandemic, racial discrimination, political upheaval and personal challenges, my prayer is that it has changed us for the better. And that we are ready to see the world, appreciate every moment and positively impact those around us.
When you are ready to take that trip to that bucket list destination, fill out my plan your trip form so we can get started planning in a more thoughtful meaningful way.
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