Dear Fellow Adventurers,
The last time I wrote to you I was on a train heading up to Scotland having signed the Glasgow Declaration for Climate Action in Tourism, to spend a week at COP26.
I have been trying to make sense of my experiences from that week, cutting through and processing the deluge of information, to try and understand what this and other declarations even mean, when I stumbled upon an article by JoAnna Haugen, which crystallised my thoughts:
"...Not all organizations that sign on will not meet its stated goals. Some will barely make any progress at curbing their environmental impact — if any at all. Yet every single small thing that does happen — every itinerary tweak, every tree planted, every flight cut out, every conversation — matters.
Very few organizations can meet all the expectations of every pledge, declaration, and certification they commit to, but it’s not the totality of any one of these that matters...They normalize talking about and working toward meaningful action that supports a more responsible, sustainable, and climate-focused model for tourism and in the world at large."
The official summary of the main things to come out of Glasgow have now been published by the COP26 Presidency, and a similar sentiment may be applied to all of the other sector and country declarations: None of the commitments will be perfect - the world is too complicated for that - but the conversation has moved into the mainstream, and that is what really matters because things really are changing.
Let us just hope it is moving fast enough.
Over the coming quiet winter months (I am a zen monk) we are planning to make an even bigger positive social and environmental impact when we return to travel at scale, by launching YellowWood Company Adventures, to partner companies and their teams with local charities and social enterprises.
Some colleagues and myself are conducting further research into this area and its related Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) models for a co-authored article to be published next year. If you would be happy to discuss this with us to help us in our research please do get in touch.
Well, that is quite enough of all that. It's good to also keep appreciating the little things in life as well, such as this beautiful artistic interpretation of The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost, sent in by one of our clients - the original inspiration for our company name.
I have been enjoying somewhat of a Roald Dahl Renaissance of late, mainly focussed on his adult fiction. The second half of his autobiography 'Going Solo' (1986) is simply one of the most captivating books I have ever read.
Starting out as a young man working for the Shell Corporation in the then British territory of 'Tanganyika' (modern-day Tanzania), it documents his amazing adventures there before WWII broke out and he trained in Egypt and Iraq to join the Royal Air Force (RAF).
He then saw considerable action fighting in The Battle of Athens on 20 April 1941, which took place over the capital for half an hour between the RAF and the German Luftwaffe towards the end of the Battle of Greece, which he documents with mouth-drying vividness.
My own modest contribution to the canons of literature has now received a mere 23 reviews on Amazon, although fortunately these are all rather flatteringly positive.
Perhaps 'Wax & Gold: Travels in Ethiopia & other roads less travelled' (2021) can make a good Xmas present for a travel-starved friend or family member?
Our adventures are steadily filling up in 2022, so please do let us know which you have your eye on so we can pencil you in a space.
Until next time,
Sam McManus, MD