Every now and again, and most recently, I share a little happiness from my journeys on my Instagram and Facebook page.
I have been traveling since I was 5 years old. My first long haul trip was from the island of Jamaica, WI to London UK. My second trip as a teen was London to New York. Pretty impressive for a first time traveler, I muse. I don’t know exactly when I developed a passion, not necessarily for travel (as the actual process sucks); but for the perspective changes I gain from experiences and discoveries around the world and from interesting people who inhabit the planet. It’s inevitable: Travel also helps me better appreciate what’s not quite right with the world; as well as what’s great about it. There are indeed narratives and experiences we share with others, even if we don’t know anything about them.
So if anyone should question how one can enjoy a great vacation while horrible things are happening, I say, “Sure, horrible things are happening. But what good does staying home do, especially when I find that being on the road gives me a better understanding of the challenges our society will be confronting for a long time to come, and help me better respond?”
It’s not a matter of whether you are at home or abroad during challenging times. It’s what you are learning and what you are doing that mattersIn my case, traveling has been a great tool that sharpens my business ideas acutely. Understanding international audiences and business practices are fundamental for every and any business in the age of e-commerce. I have travelled extensively for business over the last 25 years as General Manager/EVP Brand Development for IMAN COSMETICS & Jay Manuel Beauty prior to my departure earlier this year.
Hyperconnected yet Deeply connected...
We are all, they say, pretty much hyperconnected in this day and age-- with cellphones opening up more facts about the world around us than ever before. However, no matter how connected we are through digital technology, nothing can give you a better sense of how international customers engage with products and services than by observing them in their comfort zones.
There is something I refer to as Global Tribalism, whereby nations hold onto their culture; while embracing the future that they are now part of in order to further growth. I’ve stood in front of street art in Cuba, eye candy architecture in Barcelona, and a Safari in Kenya...three very different places in different continents. Trust me, Tribalism is very much alive, and I don’t just mean this in a political sense.
No matter how connected and diverse we become Culture still matters even when they are blended. More happens offline than online, especially in challenging times that should be considered as we move to engage audiences for the long term. Deeper understanding can thus be developed by going,-- yes you guessed it-- offline every so often.
Traveling thoughtfully, especially in challenging times, is one of the best ways to put current events in perspective. I have been traveling to Haiti for several years. One of IMAN Cosmetics’ top distributors is in fact in the Caribbean. Something that surprised even the distributor is that even in challenging times life moves forward. It forces you to see that global victims of poverty and natural disasters aren’t just faceless statistics in a newspaper, but humans who all live with hope for a better world.
To those on the road right now or planning a trip for work or play, I say, “Keep on traveling.” Stay in touch with the news if you so choose. Or wait till you come home, when — I guarantee — you’ll watch the 6 o’clock news with fresh eyes. Then act with your renewed energy and global perspective. Empower those public leaders who honestly address the hopelessness that angers the world.
Do more than just send a donation to your favorite organization. Perhaps, share your experience with the world. Help mend buildings, bodies and souls in Myanmar or Nepal, where beautiful people are still clasping their hands gently together and saying “Namaste” — “I salute the divine good within you.”