The first week of January 2018 completes 30 years of Nomadic Thoughts. Phew … what a ride.
I first announced, to whoever was listening, that Nomadic Thoughts was open to the business of assisting people with the planning of their travel arrangements at the beginning of 1988. At that time, although I had just returned from seven years of self-financed globe-trotting and genuinely felt I had something to offer, I had no idea if anyone would be interested in hearing my spin on where to visit. Let alone whether I could make a living out of that knowledge.
Thirty years on, I still pinch myself when reflecting on how Nomadic Thoughts has not only survived, but gently rolled along from strength to strength. Epitomised by the first email I read today, from a client on holiday saying “We have had the most amazing start to 2018. We are absolutely loving the trip with so many amazing and different people and places”.
Music to our ears.
And, as highlighted in my recent Nomadic Thoughts reflections video, three decades on, the ethos and business model has remained the same. Core to everything we do is our love of travel and of the destinations to which we send people. Nothing makes us happier than hearing how much a returning client has enjoyed their holiday, or equally, how our local business partners have embraced the job of showing their guests their destination.
My long-standing friend, business partner and confidante Caroline Findlay de Concha, who has been working with me for over twenty years, and I continue to believe that unless we are personally involved in the planning of individual itineraries, we will lose the true sense of offering an expert travel service. Indeed, anyone and everyone who has been involved with Nomadic Thoughts over the past three decades has been primarily motivated by their love of travel.
The world has of course altered hugely over the past thirty years. In 1988 the concept of the World Wide Web was first discussed at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN). Office communication was by telephone, telex or ‘snail mail’. Travel to large areas of the world were off limits, as the Iron Curtain, Latin American dictatorships, an unfolding China, less stable Africa and inaccessible polar regions offered a very different travel landscape.
Equally, while it was easier to predict seasonal weather patterns and the price of Sterling had more clout in 1988, the concept of low-cost airlines, boutique hotels and the age of instant information were in their infancy. Poste restantes, brochures and guide books ruled travellers. Which, on a positive note, meant that the feeling of isolation when travelling abroad encouraged us to embrace each destination as a remoter, stand-alone location.
As time has passed since the late 1980s I have loved watching the travel world unfold, and continue to believe that we are still vey much in a ‘golden era of travel’. Never has the world been easier to visit, less expensive or more accessible.
Times are a changing though, as the explosion in international traveller numbers continue to alter global tourism landscapes. Accessing far-flung wilderness regions is fast becoming trickier due to an ever-increasing upscale in global travellers. In 1980 there were 25 million international tourist arrivals. In 2016 there were 1.24 billion.
That said, we at Nomadic Thoughts remain mosquito-weights in comparison to the conglomerate heavyweights that dominate today’s travel industry. We still send less than 500 people away each year. Albeit to a magnificent array of differing destinations.
We are proud of our decision to remain small. For example, Nomadic Thoughts still have never advertised, preferring to focus on a personalised travel service. We believe that if we continue to provide a valued and commercially competitive travel service, our clients will continue to spread the word.
Certainly, we still enthusiastically believe we have the most exciting product in the world. As ‘travel’ will forever remain core to our DNA.
So, as we embark on our 31st year, in addition to thanking everyone who has trusted us with their travel arrangements over time, I would like to show gratitude to all my Nomadic Thoughts friends, colleagues and travel partners for all their help, assistance and expertise.
After all, I am particularly appreciative for what I started in the first week of January 1988.
It was a good week, as in addition to Nomadic Thoughts, I also met Nicki, my wife, who first helped me unwrap and decipher our first Amstrad PCW1592 word-processing computer. Thirty years on, as I type this, she too is sitting at the desk next to me putting together a client itinerary to Asia.
‘Don’t tell me how educated you are, tell me how much you travelled’ – Prophet Mohammed (570-632 AD).
Selection of Nomadic Thoughts photos – taken London and abroad.