At this special time of the year, as we are approaching the end of the holy and spiritual month of Ramadan, Eid celebrations look like nothing we have experienced before. With millions of people still locked down around the world, this Eid will not be about gifts and new clothes, it will not be about big feasts with family and friends after the fasting month ,and it will not be about traveling. Not just yet. How we spend it will continue to be part of this process of transformation we all had to go through to find new meanings to our older and familiar rituals and habits.
I hope you all coped well and found meaning in your days. Personally, I indulged in reading, baking, engaging in a few home projects, or enjoying long and refreshing nights of sleep. I surrendered to what I could not control and enjoyed heartfelt discussions with my team, while also joining small and exclusive groups of like-minded people who chose to address the changes we experience with a positive outlook for what is coming next.
Many people got frustrated with the loss of the previous norm, lingering for long in a state of denial. Many others, though, moved to a stage of acceptance, acknowledging our vulnerability and our lack of control, ultimately venturing into a journey of self-discovery, having the courage to re-imagine and re-create one’s self. This journey was nothing less than pure magic!
Magic happened from the deep detox on all fronts,from resetting our values, from refreshing our priorities and from aligning ourselves with the post virus future. Magic happened when I saw so much compassion at these difficulttimes that touched my heart. Magic also happened when I cut off heartless people/ organizations. I used to say that climbing mountains shows our true colors, now I also say Covid 19 showed our true colors. Such revelations help us set our boundaries more firmly, determining, on an individual and professional level, who our friends and partners should be. After all, we are the sum of the people who surround us.
For me, magic also sprouted from the connections that unfolded over the past weeks with my incredible Rahhalah team. As you all know, our industry was hit like no other, but we kept our Rahhalah family afloat, shoulder to shoulder. My team amazed me with the compassion, love, commitment, resilience, and patience that was demonstrated by each and every one of them, and I am thankful for the inspiration, teachings, and support that they offered me. The same goes for our partners around the world who stayed positive against all the odds. We spent several hours exchanging ideas and recreating ourselves as well as our services, determined to include in our upcoming adventures even more sustainable and ethical practices, environmental sensitivity, safety measures, responsibility, and respect.
Naturally, we all crave being out in the open again, surrounded by mountains, seas, valleys, and forests, breathing the fresh air, gazing at limitless landscapes, and feeling, once again, free. Looking at how the travel industry will shape in the post-Covid19 era, we feel privileged that our operational model was already based on small groups and activities that reinforced our understanding of our planet’s diversity. Now, we are making sure that when the time is right to travel again, we will do so as safely as possible, while maintaining the levels of quality and the personal touch that has been our Rahhalah trademark from the very beginning. Stay tuned, as we hope that we will be able to share with you soon all the beautiful additions and adjustments we have incorporated to our trips.
By now, most countries are easing the imposed restrictions, slowly opening their borders, and planning the safety protocols we will have to follow in most of our interactions. The challenge is not over; we need to accept that we will keep on living with this virus for many months to come, carrying our recently-acquired lessons wherever we go. Such an outbreak has not been the first in human history, nor will it be the last. However, as it has happened in the past, we will learn to live again, hopefully with more respect and compassion.
We, as Rahhalah, are ready for when the world is ready. Besides our need to travel, have fun, and regain a part of the life we used to know, let us also remember the beautiful people – tribes, ethnic groups, or villagers – that have made our trips extra special with their presence and contribution. These communities, greatly dependent on tourism for their revenue, are now endangered. It is our mission to support them, for our world will not be the same without their colors, foods, smiles, and customs. We hope you will join us in this mission of love.
I would like to end with a final note from my heart:
Creating the Rahhalah tribe during the first stages of our operation was both beautiful and challenging. Keeping it together in these difficult times was a fantastic achievement. Staying together is our mission of tomorrow, as connecting, traveling, and becoming friends with more, like-minded people like you is the ultimate goal that fills our heart with joy.
I can’t wait to travel, climb and explore the world with you again soon. Until then, Eid Mubarak to you: my Rahhalah tribe; my co-travelers; my dear friends.