Today is the 4th of July – the day that the United States celebrates its independence. I lived in New York for over 20 years, and I always admired this day, as annually the entire American national stands united and proud as it looks to back on its history. Few people celebrate their love of country like the Americans. Red, white and blue is not just a national colour code, it is a national mindset.
Whenever I look back at history, I try and place myself into the time of those who shaped the world in which we live, and imagine what it must have been like to have had the courage, and vision, to make an impact for generations to come.
In my travels, it is the genius of architects in particular that often fascinates me; their ability to visualize the possibility of the transformation of space and time through design. This is an extraordinary gift.
However, the creation for lifelong inspiration is one thing. To have the foresight to preserve, the discipline to leave things untouched for future generations, is quite another.
A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to spend four days with a group of Trafalgar guests travelling through Yellowstone National Park. I did this to not only because I love meeting Trafalgar guests, but also as it provided the opportunity to honour the 100 year anniversary of the creation of The National Park Service – the nation’s guardians of Mother Nature’s great gifts.
As I stood looking out over the Lower Falls and Grand Canyon of Yellowstone National Park, the only words that came to my mind taking in this moment, one of such immense remarkable beauty, was ‘Thank you’.
That thanks goes to a few of the forefathers of America: Presidents Lincoln, Grant and Roosevelt, who somehow already recognised that our world would organically advance in ways that would see industrialisation and development creep into all corners of the globe, and that to enable man to maintain a connection to nature itself required a strategy that, 100 years ago, must have seemed both unnecessary and a fantasy.
So it was together with great personalities like Don and Nancy from Philadelphia, twin sisters Ashly and Kristen from Nevada, as well Flynn & Fran from as far as Sydney Australia, that we were able in a matter of a few day to wander through untouched hot springs, see bison ambling through the grasslands, witness mother and baby black bears jesting in front of our hotel, and hear stories of the success of the wolves’ reintroduction into the wild.
Each one a consequence of the decision taken 100 years ago, to protect the majestic natural environments through the creation of the official caretakers of America’s finest natural assets, is credited to the National Park Service.
As I took in my time in this iconic national landscape, this brought to mind: “What if they had not had the vision? What would the landscape look like today? And how would it be shared tomorrow?”
It is moments like these that fill me with a need to look forward, and ensure we are asking the same question as to what will the world look like in 100 years’ time. What more can we do to ensure that we too are being adequately forward thinking in our own actions to preserve and protect the important resources so that future generations will be able to connect to a more meaningful world?
Today, it is far easier for everyone to make a difference. All it requires is individual action. I am therefore inspired by the current vision and care of Brett, The Travel Corporation’s CEO, who had the vision to create the TreadRight Foundation – TTC’s not-for-profit organisation which is working to ensure the sustainability of the environments and communities across the globe. To date, TreadRight has helped to support almost 40 projects. With their guidance, each of TTC’s 20 plus travel brands are able refocus their commitments. Together, they join forces to make a difference to the word we visit today and in the future.
Ultimately, it’s all about the role we each play in fostering truly meaningful, sustainable growth, working and building on the visions of great leaders, for a world and time beyond ourselves.
This is the power of one. One by one by one, for one generation to the next.
*With thanks to Flynn & Fran Henry for the pictures*