• Petra Vandecasteele

What you think is what you get

Updated: May 15, 2020

Call me naive, but I really believe that where you place your attention is where you will go. In times of crisis – crisis? what crisis? :) – I connect with a space of stillness inside me and this allows me to stay calm. It makes some people think that I'm irresponsible or in denial, at best. How otherwise can I stay calm in the the midst of a disaster? They couldn't be more wrong, though. As any paramedic would say, if you don't stay calm, you start running around like a headless chicken and that's no good either. One hardly makes the best decisions when in a state of panic. So, lets take a deep breath and relax. Accept what is and move forward with a positive outcome in mind.

I normally keep a tight eye on the South African and European media, so that I stay informed about anything that could potentially impact tourism in South Africa and Namibia as these are the countries we operate in.

But, it's recently come to a point where I'm no longer reading my news feeds. Notifications fly in, one after the other, relentlessly and all announcing the end of the world as we know it. The media are basically telling me that I might as well hang myself, because if I don't die physically of the Corona virus, it's only a matter of time before we all lose everything: health, money, food, freedom. So, I decided that 'enough is enough'.

I'm not buying into this doom scenario. And, after chatting to my clients, it looks like I'm not the only one. I believe that if we allow ourselves to be sucked in by the ongoing speculations about travel bans, frightening flight and airport scenarios, and tourism bankruptcy to name a few, we'll end up manifesting it. It's like wind fuelling a fire. Worry becomes fear, fear evolves into anxiety and before we know it society comes to a standstill, paralysed. Panic kicks in and brings into motion the dreaded snowball effect on the travel and tourism industries. Cancellations and demands for immediate refunds grow exponentially destroying everything and everyone in the process of 'save what you can'. A self-fulfilling prophecy.

Let's take another deep breath and think about how we want this crisis to end. Now that we are calm again, how do we see the outcome for our much-cherished travel world: do we want it to survive and thrive again or do we want it to collapse? The way we think drives the way we act, and the result of what we collectively create is what we get.

I ask myself the question, "what do I want?" I want a positive outcome. I want to be able to continue to travel. It's something I enjoy. So, why kill it by destructive, shortsighted actions? Isn't it the same for all things in life, crisis or no crisis?

With this in mind, I prefer to opt for more constructive ways of dealing with this crisis, and that is working together towards a solution that is a win-win for all. We're all in the same boat and it's nobody's fault. I do not only care for my travel company, but also for my clients and my travel partners. We're kind of a ménage-à-trois. The one can't exist without the other. We nurture mutually beneficial relationships. When a holiday is being compromised due to an unforeseen event, we all contribute to its continuity. As a result, the planned holiday goes through at a later date that suits the client, the travel partners don't have to close their doors, and I stay in business. Everybody stays calm and we sail through the storm. Voilà. It can be as simple as that.

I want to thank and salute my wonderful clients and travel partners who have shown immense trust and commitment towards each other and towards Kids of Nature. The more we focus our thoughts and energy on favourable outcomes and the more we continue to anticipate the joy of future adventures in the wilderness, the more we will get it. I see it as what the French refer to as "l'art de vivre" or "the art of living". In other words, the knowledge of how to enjoy life, or the practice of it.

Let's toast to many more adventures in the wilderness. In the very near future, that is!


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