Smiling Albino

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Personal thoughts from Dan Fraser on Covid-19 Recovery

July 2020

What’s going on in our ‘hood?

Half a year of our lives can now be clocked to enduring this Covid-19 challenge. I call it a “challenge” rather than a crisis, because challenge instills a call to action. I can’t change Covid-19, but I can change how I feel about it by promising to remain positive, to adapt, and to fight forward each day. That’s the most basic call to action at the moment, and while it doesn’t bring back business right away, it feels a hell of a lot better than dwelling on just how terrible this all seems!

Southeast Asia seems to be emerging well as the region experienced very few cases and transmissions and is one of the first to be opening up. My gym and pool and barber and roadside food stands are all open and running full tilt. I’ve been exploring nooks and crannies in the old town and anticipating upcountry and regional travel.

What’s keeping us excited in the meantime?

There are three things boosting our motivation right now: your encouragement, our team’s innovation, and the fact that many good things will come from this challenge in the near future.

First, to you: we’re moved by so many of your positive notes of encouragement, texts, posts on Facebook & Instagram from guests and friends around the world. 

Our aim since Day 1 has been to transform lives with exceptional travel, and when you share stories and your concern for our team, we jump for joy with our masks on and hand gel cocked and ready for action. It is the coolest thing in the world reliving trip memories dating back to 2002, or 2009, or even 2019. Thank you to so many of you for reaching out and checking in on us, and keep those positive vibes coming!

Next, I’m inspired by our team in the office and on the ground here in Southeast Asia. From our Bangkok office and our neighbouring country teams, the tales of teamwork to support each other have been amazing. Our guides and drivers in the field have been dealt a cruel blow by the shutdown of travel, but I’m so grateful for their patience and encouragement. Rather than asking for help with hands out, they have hands up asking what they can do to help us fight forward. We need that, and thank you.

Our team has been finding creative ways to survive, from making peach-scented natural hand cleanser, to baked goods for locals, to art classes on the fly (check out our funky new art space), I’m pretty impressed with how so many of our team have innovated and faced this challenge with courage.

Courage is what we’ll need to start living normally again and traveling again, but I believe it’s who we are. This courage will be bolstered with some great improvements in hygiene everywhere. Who can’t argue that won’t make us all feel just a little bit better traveling? Soap in virtually every bathroom, hand-gel galore, a greater focus on public transport and culinary hygiene, etc. It makes me so giddy I just want to go out and lick the pavement with glee (that’s also a new trip I can host you on).

What Matters next in Travel?

Peacefulness | Value |  Authenticity | Mindfulness | Hygiene | Wellness | Sustainability

While we’ve always tried to focus on these things, now more than ever it fits into our mission. We want to transform the lives of everyone in the travel equation, from you, our guest, to our fabulous ground teams, local vendors, and the wider community and environment. We’re launching some EPIC value-added adventures suited to former guests in areas you’ve maybe not been to yet, such as Myanmar, Nepal, Vietnam, Indonesia and beyond with a flexible small commitment to book early and awesome PERKS for doing so!

Friends, I know that enduring this challenge is something akin to being thrown overboard for most of us. I hope you swim to shore with the same vigour that got you to where you are. I also hope that you swim back to our shores. And when you do, we’ll be waiting with a beer, some aromatic hand gel, and we’ll head out to lick the pavement together. Challenges are what we’re called to rise to. We will, it’s who we are!

Best in adventure,

Daniel B. Fraser

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