06 Oct Why travel is good for you: Pure Life Experiences Marrakech 2017
Sometimes it’s easy to take working in the travel industry for granted. A couple of weeks ago I was fortunate enough to be invited to represent St Helena Tourism at Pure Life Experiences 2017 in Marrakech. It was a crazy, hectic, OTT week full of meeting new, unusual and interesting people. All in a full-on, hot and heady destination. I came back and was sick as a dog for a week. Yet I wouldn’t change a single thing, here’s why.
Travel is exciting
Travelling can generate many different emotions: trepidation, anxiety, anticipation, inspiration…Going to Marrakech on my own for a work conference made me feel all of these. But above all, travel is exciting.
I don’t believe there is any other industry in the world that can conjure up so many exciting revelations, conversations and experiences. Not an hour went by of each of the five days I was there that I didn’t overhear an interesting story or speak to a fascinating person. I met a woman who told me of her tea estate in Northern India, another who lives and works in Guatemala but has to travel a couple of days to get to visit her family in the Channel Islands.
I met Americans, Canadians, Swedes, South Africans, Australians and even one lady from Kazakhstan. All of whom had come together to descend briefly on Marrakech and share their love of travel.
Travel is educational
I made the point of arriving two days’ early so that I could attend the pre-conference, or “un-conference”, Matter. In a lot of respects this was the craziest idea; adding a day and a half’s conference on to three days of solid meetings and networking would usually be enough to finish me off. But the big appeal was the speakers that had gathered to share stories and ideas in the blistering sunshine.
I lapped up the whole thing, frantically scribbling notes as I sat and gradually wilted in the stifling shade next to the swimming pool full of inflatable swans. I was one of dozens who mediated with Dutch daredevil, Wim Hof, aka The Iceman, and part of the captive audience that listened to ex-convict and health and fitness guru, Coss Marte.
Most importantly I was educated and inspired, from gleaning fascinating insights on Instagram and influencers to soaking up ideas on what sustainability really means for travel businesses.
Travel is enlightening
When you travel somewhere foreign and unfamiliar it heightens your senses. It makes you think…About what not to eat, what to drink, how to get from A to B. About how other people live. And why. About geography and where places are in the world, and how to get there.
Travel makes you ask questions, and question everything.
Travel makes you look at new places, and at things in a new way.
It turns out that travel is really good for you. And sometimes, when you work in travel, there’s really nothing better than getting out there and travelling to remind you why you do what you do.
You gotta go there to come back
A wise man (well, the Stereophonics) once said, “you gotta go there to come back”. This says a lot about travel for me. Sometimes coming back from a trip or holiday encapsulates the very essence of the experience. I almost wept when I landed at Newquay Airport. This could have been a combination of the delayed Flybe flight, seven hour layover at Stansted and oncoming sickness bug, but I like to think it was pure joy at being back in Cornwall, somewhere I am enormously proud to call home.
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