“STOP, JUST STOP. I’M DONE!” TRAVEL’S TRUEST CALL TO ACTION

We all have our limits. We all have a line where our body and/or our mind, and/or our hearts just have to say ‘Stop, just stop – I’m done!

Over the past two+ years, those limits have been stretched further and further and further.

And now, as the world opens, people are realising how hard it is to continue to put on a brave face despite all the promise ahead.

Our shared world has indeed changed. The landscape is wider and brighter. The outlook is better.

Ambitions are bolder,

Forecasts are stronger,

Travels are wider.

Family and friends are nearer.

Handshakes are firmer,

Hugs are closer.

And yet somehow it seems harder than thought.

Something unexpected has happened – is happening.

Just when we thought the reopening of the world would make things easier, providing a rush of energy and excitement, a release from pressures of recent past, a pause to the fears and concerns, a chance to breathe deeply and freely again,

somehow it feels as though now, in these midyear months of 2022 as planning medium- to long-term resumes with schedules buzzing with busyness,

milestone reunions, remembrances and celebrations being confirmed regardless of time that has passed,

‘live’ business being booked beyond screens on our devices,

travel and social muscles being restrengthened,

professional wardrobes being removed from storage,

border, budget and before-travel testing constraints being removed,

all reflections of confidence around all that is to be gained once more,

somehow short-term the focus is shifting,

to what has been lost.

Especially time.

Time to think, time to reflect.

And importantly, time to rest, time to restore, time to care, for those loved and oneself.

Everyone has faced loss to varying degrees. Lives, livelihoods, loved ones, loved ways of life. There is no need to compare. COVID-19 excluded no-one from loss of time and loss of touch, not to mention loss of temper and loss of tolerance.

Which is why it makes complete sense that as much has been re-set in our COVID-reshaped world, lingering subconscious markers incl.,

  • mid-year meaning mid-term/mid-summer holidays,
  • September meaning ‘back to school’
  • return thereafter marking the countdown to end of another 12 months,

are embedding the needs of now, vividly revealing how desperately we need a change of place,

and pace,

finding a new space,

re-finding a feeling of grace,

It’s all about finding that place that allows us to just stop, a place to quietly reflect, renew, re-energise, and hopefully rejoice, ready for all that is ahead.

Which is why ultimately we all realise, deep in our hearts, whether we are practitioners in the industry or not, that it is travel that is vital, and invaluable, to our wellbeing.

Global grounding has shown that travel, around the corner or around the world, is a necessity. For wellbeing. Of ourselves, of others.

Our ability to get away, to find that new space not just in the world, but in our minds and hearts, to face our respective worlds once more, is why travel firmly remains not just a force for good, but a force for our own good. Demands on our time, energy, focus, funding, faith, are only growing. To fail to pause, if able, would be a fundamental risk to longterm personal recovery, Now, in what feels a brief, very brief, calm before the intense, year-end global travel recovery storm (heartbreaking, current midyear travel mobility and service challenges aside across airlines, airports and other T&T links in the chain), is the moment.

Wherever one chooses to go, just go.

And for the moment, as much as your heart and mind need to move forward beyond these times of intense pressure, despite their hope-filled pleasure, let go.

The gap between then and now is widening. The ability to have faith again in the world that awaits is growing.

You are safe. x

 

Copyright: ANITA MENDIRATTA 2022

TO HEAR THOSE LOVING, LIFE-CHANGING 3 LITTLE WORDS: “FOR WHAT PURPOSE?”

For what purpose?

Three little words that have the power to ignite a flame in an individual and an organisation.

Three words that can become an unshakable compass.

An invaluable filter.

A powerful fuel.

A basis of faith.

The past two+ years the global pandemic forced us to think quietly, very carefully, about what matters, about who matters, about where matters. By stopping the world, COVID-19 offered us the opportunity to start the process of carefully articulating what we hold dear in our hearts. What is our inner voice whispering to us? What is it telling us about where we choose to give our time, our energy, our love…and our money? What has changed? And if there has been changes, what now?

Once that inner voice is heard, even if simply as a hush deep within our heart, it is incredibly difficult to mute. Rightly. As it grows louder, we find ourselves in the rare position of being able to not only elevate what we have learned about ourselves, but to translate this into our action. By choice, and purposefully, in a way that ensures that we do not allow our (newly discovered) sense of purpose to be silenced.

The concept of ‘purpose’ has become the focal point of conversations, articles and debates as the world recalibrates around both professional and personal decision making. Purpose-driven leadership, purpose-based business, purposeful community, travel with purpose.

Purpose has become a primary criterion for so many when they are considering career progression, job selection, investment determination, holiday location, even product selection. The push of BECAUSE I CAN of the past has become a pull – BECAUSE I MUST, revealing a shared DNA, a sense of clarity, and call to action around what really matters, and why.

Critical, is ensuring that our inner voice of purpose is protected from being extinguished.

The willingness to step up, and forward, with an inextinguishable sense of purpose immediately takes one to the words of the late President Nelson Mandela, the former President of South Africa, when he stood before the jury at the Rivonia trials in April 1964. It was to be a testimony. Instead, it became a four-hour long statement with remarkable sense of focus, faith, and purpose, concluding with the words now etched into history:

During my lifetime I have dedicated myself to this struggle of the African people. I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.

President Mandela’s closing lines, his searing words stating that this was an ideal for which he was prepared to die, is one that often can be seen as a dividing cline between the principle of purpose and the action of purpose.

As made vividly clear by President Mandela, having a sense of purpose is not enough. It must be directed to create a greater, more meaningful, more helpful, impact.

And it must be deeply personal.

Which is why I share, here, now, that just a matter of days ago, my business – ANITA MENDIRATTA & Associates (AM&A) WWW.ANITAMENDIRATTA.COM – marked the immense blessing and honour of two decades of operations. Truth be told, as a business with foundations in the travel, tourism and aviation industries, the past two years of COVID-19 could very easily have seen the close of the business. Were it not for our core objectives – our reason for being – and its direct connection to what was so dearly needed across our client portfolio and the wider global tourism leadership industry, sadly, our doors would have been forced to shut. Our firmly focused, fiery sense of purpose, however, carried us through. Thankfully and importantly, it also helped carry our clients, partners and industry through.

For this reason, reaching two decades and being able to celebrate the milestone with clients and partners who have made it happen, was a moment not taken for granted. It ignited the need to never, never, ever lose sight of what has held firm for twenty years: our sense of “for what purpose?”

Whatever one is doing, whatever one is engaged in, whatever one sees as their profession, deep within our minds, hearts and actions there needs to be a sense of purpose – the ability to stand for something, to feel the flame of purposeful determination burning so strongly that it allows one to endure the times of challenge. And yet, at the same time, it allows us to put moments of joy into perspective, leaving us whispering a humble a prayer of thanks.

Such was the case when the day arrived to honour the 20th anniversary of AM&A. It was a moment of not just deep celebration, but deeply felt tears – tears of gratitude, tears of privilege, and tears of purpose.

AM&A’s purpose, my tears, have become the water that will be channeled towards feeding parched soils of places around the world that are trying to recover from crisis. The vehicle through which that is being done: https://anitamendirattafoundation.org/

Now registered as an official Charity with the UK Charity Commission, this Foundation enables the business to direct its impact – its earnings, network, reputation, relationships and deep sense of purpose – towards helping people in places around the world become stronger, become safer, and become more hopeful. AMF is a reinforcement of not only the power of purpose, but the ability to turn purpose into action, not losing one moment of time, one ounce of energy, one partner, one penny of investment. Everything has context. Everything is driven by compassion. Everything is fuelled by purpose.

To reach 20 years with such clarity of purpose is a gift beyond measure.

As we re-enter the world, getting busy making up for lost time / access / insight / opportunity…may we never lose connection with the time / access / insight / opportunity found.

And may the inner voice of our hearts only grow louder, and louder, and louder….x

 

 

Copyright: ANITA MENDIRATTA 2022

 

 

CELEBRATION OF A – AND OUR – LIFETIME

The UK is turning a royal shade of purple!

The streets are fluffily-festively flowered,

the horses are lining up,

the marching bands are warming up,

the corgis are dressing up.

And Mother Nature has promised to keep the skies gloriously lit up!

Alongside Buckingham Palace, adoring royalists are already choosing their spots, readying themselves for the long wait to see their Queen. Tents are being put in place, accented with flags from across the UK and the world.

Within the same space the stands, the stalls, the staging, and the flags are all lined up in perfect symmetry.

The countdown is on. One sees and feels it everywhere. A hurriedness, wishing the special days of celebration closer. Early morning passersby on the way to their last days of work before special Jubilee public holidays and committed joggers alike break their stride to take in sights of Buckingham Palace shining brightly in the early morning while rigging companies and landscapers buzz about building what will be a gala stage soon to be seen across the globe. Just in case, generators hum, elevating energy levels.

Soon, very soon, the air will fill with the scent of scones baking as classically British fare is consumed across the land, accompanied by joyful toasts echoing far and wide. Bubbles, bunting, fascinators, full tails, all the frills one would expect at a time so significant, so special, so celebratory.

And so healing.

Time for a celebration that will be a marker of a lifetime, in all our lifetimes.

Symmetry, once more.

The Platinum Jubilee of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II will be – has already become, in fact – an event of immense anticipation and unification.

So too was the Coronation of Her Majesty on June 02nd 1953 – her crowning as Queen marking the turning of a page for the country and Commonwealth in the post-war years. A bookmark in her life.

70 years on, another bookmark in the story of her life, and all our lives.

In so many ways it feels as if, like Mother Nature, Her Majesty knew then, and now, what was needed to embed the eyes of her people on the future, with hope, with a heart-smile. To give one and all a chance to confidently meet again, hug again, dream again…

In the buildup to the Jubilee, one can feel a distinct decompression in minds and hearts across United Kingdom. Even globally, excitement for Her Majesty is felt. There’s a feeling of finally, finally, we’re able to breathe again.

For this reason, in so many ways, this moment, this Platinum Jubilee, is an essential part of the therapy that is needed to bring people through what has been one of the darkest times in our generation. There’s a poetic symmetry, not just in the flags that so majestically line The Mall leading up to Buckingham Palace, but a symmetry in these times.

70 years ago, and now, people are coming together, knowing that the intensity of the COVID-19 trauma experienced had passed.

70 years ago, and now, there is acute understanding of the work needing to be done to rebuild lives and livelihoods.

And still, 70 years ago, and now, there is respect for the need to also rebuild hope and hearts.

Importantly now, like then, national budgets are tight. So much money has been spent in recent past on pure survival – keeping people, businesses, and communities strong, healthy, and alive. But now, like then, investment in the Platinum Jubilee is accepted as a priceless investment in resetting spirit and the sense of direction. Now, right now, the Platinum Jubilee is this generation’s one chance to bring everyone together – the United Kingdom, the Commonwealth, and even parts of the world, to be tightly, warmly and confidently held together in a deep, loving purple ribbon.

Her Majesty, like Mother Nature, knew we would reach this point. And that when we did, pausing to mark the moment was critical so as to not only reset our eyes and hearts on our tomorrow, but appreciate the journey taken in our past. To breathe again.

Symmetry, in her actions, and words – most recently on April 5, 2020, when Her Majesty delivered her speech to the United Kingdom in the early days of national shutdown due to COVID-19: Symmetry of thought, statement, guiding spirit:

“Together we are tackling this disease, and I want to reassure you that if we remain united and resolute, then we will overcome it. I hope in the years to come everyone will be able to take pride in how they responded to this challenge, and those who come after us will say the Britons of this generation were as strong as any, that the attributes of self-discipline, of quiet, good-humoured resolve, and of fellow feeling still characterise this country. The pride in who we are is not a part of our past, it defines our present and our future.

It reminds me of the very first broadcast I made in 1940, helped by my sister. We as children spoke from here at Windsor to children who had been evacuated from their homes and sent away for their own safety. Today, once again, many will feel a painful sense of separation from their loved ones, but now as then, we know deep down that it is the right thing to do. While we have faced challenges before, this one is different. This time we join with all nations across the globe in a common endeavour. Using the great advances of science and our instinctive compassion to heal, we will succeed, and that success will belong to every one of us.

We should take comfort that while we may have more still to endure, better days will return. We will be with our friends again. We will be with our families again.

We will meet again.

But for now, I send my thanks and warmest good wishes to you all.”

Thank you, Ma’am. May the celebrations, and healing, begin. x

 

Copyright: ANITA MENDIRATTA 2022

 

SECOND TIME UNLUCKY

We all knew the symptoms.

We all knew the signs.

It wasn’t something unfamiliar.

And yet being told it’s COVID can be quite a surprise, especially when it’s COVID for the second time.

Now it all makes sense. All the symptoms, and all the signs.

As we move into year three of COVID around the world with different countries facing different levels of openness and closure, it is so easy for us all to start to become quite lazy about the situation.

It’s like the flu.”

“It’s like a common cold.”

“Once you test negative after having tested positive, you’re in the clear.”

“It’s given me antibodies!”

It’s not the case.

It’s not as easy as that.

It’s not suddenly over.

The fact that it’s always going to be with us. And when one gets it, especially for a second and possibly third, the shock can be quite significant.

Why?

Because the surprise is not having felt the symptoms, not recognising the signs, again.

A simple cough is assumed to be a simple cough, a restriction on lung capacity simply thought to be something else.

A blip in strength refusing to move on.

And then suddenly it all makes sense.

It’s COVID, again.

And then consider this: how many people go through the symptoms, go through the signs, with no sense at all that they’re going through another positive, and in doing so, that they’re at the risk of infecting others again, for the first possibly second time?

COVID 19 is showing us that the numbers do not have a limit: the cases, the losses.

COVID 19 is showing us that the damage can continue: across the body, across borders, across industries and communities, across the world.

COVID 19 is showing us that Mother Nature is still in charge. x

 

Copyright: ANITA MENDIRATTA 2022

EXPO 2020: WORLD COMPASSION ON SHOW

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What difference can it make?

What difference can one word,

one message,

one thought,

one wish,

one prayer,

really make?

As the world watches in shock, one country continues to face immense trauma. Over 4 million people have fled their country in desperate hopes of finding a place of peace. Over 6.5 million have found themselves internally displaced. All in just over one month. (Source: UNHCR)

What difference does it make for one voice to call out, to express a thought, to say a prayer?

For millions upon millions seeking shelter, seeking safety, seeking to not be left alone and forgotten, it makes all the difference in the world.

 

In just a matter of hours one of the world’s most unifying events will come to a close: EXPO 2020. A six-month celebration of unity across 192 nations, EXPO will have brought together close to 25 million people of different countries, cultures, faiths, ages, and ideologies from across the globe – all sharing a commitment to a stronger, safer, more sustainable and sincerely unified future world.

At the heart of EXPO 2020 has been three central, symbiotic themes: Sustainability, Mobility, and Opportunity.

In the closing weeks of EXPO there was, however, one theme that emerged in one national pavilion which eclipsed all others: Humanity.

The pavilion: Ukraine.

The creators of pavilion architecture: the nation.

The exhibition curators: ultimately the world.

The indication of the message to the world from the outside: invisible.

The impact on entering the pavilion and feeling its message: an immediate flow of tears that was simply unavoidable.

What was once a national pavilion exhibition showcasing opportunities for connection to the world through innovation and investment had, in the past month of 2022, and last month of EXPO 2020, become a global show of sympathy and solidarity.

Immediately entering the pavilion visitors walked straight into literally a world of messages from the world to the people of Ukraine. Thousands and thousands. Everywhere, as far as the eye could see and heart could reach.

Unplanned, un-curated, and un-campaigned, the building had turned into a love letter from the world to the people of Ukraine across the world.

The power of the sight was penetrating. Thousands and thousands of times over, visitors to the pavilion left their mark:

one message,

one voice,

one expression of love,

one prayer,

times thousands and thousands and thousands.

 

One message,

one prayer,

can indeed unite the world,

including those who have watched from afar and found themselves voiceless, helpless, yet wanting to do something to show their solidarity, their care,

even if simply sharing a message of love.

 

The Ukraine EXPO pavilion became, so beautifully and so powerfully, a way of magnifying one voice, one message, and one prayer to tell the people of Ukraine that they were not alone.

Through a small pavilion a huge contribution was unexpectedly made to the legacy of EXPO, the Ukraine reinforcing the heart of the meaning, of EXPO:

one pavilion,

one people,

reinforcing the message that wherever we are in the world, no one nation, no one person, no one prayer, should ever stand alone. X

 

Copyright: ANITA MENDIRATTA 2022