A letter from Knowmad co-founder, Jordan Harvey.
It’s been said many times by successful business people to never show weakness; that exposing vulnerability to colleagues or prospective customers is a death sentence. The singular messaging and marketing strategy I see at the moment in our adventure and experiential travel community is arm-chair travel: dreamy Instagram images with flowery overlays on travel’s rebound and future role in helping heal the world post corona.
Knowmad was founded in the spirit of adventure, not business. And while travel is meant to inspire – something many of us need currently – I question our collective sincerity if that is the depth of the messaging. Without question, Knowmad Adventures, the company and the community, is here to stay and thrive long-term. However, travel, and by extension Knowmad, is about openness; honesty with the world and oneself; and optimism, but that which is borne of perspective and experience.
Tara & I, and everyone on our team, like so many of you, are undergoing incredible challenges and stresses. Our team is the core of our family and had never been stronger across the board. Saying goodbyes we desperately hope are temporary to some of our beloved teammates – young people who have put incredible trust and effort into Knowmad – has been by far the most painful experience of my career. Long-time partners and friends throughout South America, from Inbound Coordinators to lodge partners to those favorite hotel reservations agents, are all undergoing the same and it is heartbreaking. Guides with families have lost chunks of their season, meaning they will receive next to zero pay. Groups like the Amaru community in Peru that rely on the revenues from welcoming Knowmad travelers to share their life vision and perspectives, left with a gaping hole in community income.
Travel, like much of the world, has been hit and hit hard by the corona sucker punch. I’m left with the question of what we at Knowmad, along with our community of adventurers, can do beyond sheltering in place and washing our hands. How do we move forward together?
We can be both honest and compassionate toward all those with whom we engage. We can take practical steps to foster confidence among travelers to book future trips with minimal financial risk so that they have amazing journeys to look forward to in the future. In fact, we’ve already done so with new flexible booking policies that we’ll detail in our next newsletter. We can draw inspiration, not just from future adventures, but also from the incredible opportunity this extremely challenging world event offers us: perspective; togetherness; and a sense of gratitude for what’s temporarily been lost, for what might be changed forever, and most importantly, for what we still have.
Because what we still have is so much. At Knowmad, we have colleagues who are family to one another, and so many wonderful partners who stand with and beside us. We are grateful for the health of our U.S.-based team, and that of our countless guides, drivers, and others in South America. The outreach from our many travelers with words of encouragement and thanks during the past month has touched me in a way I wouldn’t have known possible in years past. We have our strength, which draws from our vulnerability.
This has been incredibly painful on so many levels for Knowmad. We have cried together as a team, as a family. But it is together that we will thrive going forward. It is our foremost honor to serve and be a part of this incredible community of adventurers. Your sincere support as clients, fellow explorers, and friends inspires us when we need it most. And we will endure and thrive, emerging together stronger with new perspectives and dreams.
Co-Founder & President
Big Views, Jordan
Jordan is a Co-Founder of Knowmad Adventures, a company dedicated to creating unique, private and custom trips in South America. He has won Travel & Leisure’s prestigious A-List Top Travel Specialist for Patagonia, Chile, Argentina and Peru several years in a row as well as the Condé Nast Traveler Top Trip Advisor award. Read Jordan’s biography and more about the Knowmad team.
“Travel brings me incredible experiences and challenges, highlighting the world’s natural beauty while connecting me with inspiring people. I am convinced that travel makes us better people, and better people make a better planet.”