Hoteliers are nomads by choice.
Think back to when you were a child. What did you want to be when you grew up? I remember I wanted to be a lot of things. For example I dreamed of running away with the circus. I hesitated between becoming a trapeze artist or a lion tamer, but all that mattered was that I would travel from city to city; bringing magic and wonder everywhere I go.
That was about twenty years ago. Today I work in Hospitality, and it’s the closest thing to running away with the circus. Well, except for cotton candy and the big top.
I have lived in four different countries in the past five years and I am heading to an entirely new destination this month. I get antsy when I stay in the same place for too long. Most people would be terrified by the idea of leaving everything behind and starting anew, living in a different country, in a different language, where you have to re-learn how to carry on your daily activities from scratch. I remember when I went shopping for groceries for the first time in Paris: I was thrilled and a little anxious, like back in childhood when my mom sent me out to get some milk for the first time. Figuring out the trains to get me to work was also overwhelming. Every time in a new place you have to re-learn the basics, as if you were a child. Scary? Not for hospitality people. We are all nomadic by nature.
I figure we all share a sort of migratory instinct; our internal clocks push us to go from one place to another. A few weeks ago I received a postcard from Hong Kong sent by my former Glion classmate and next time he called me, he was already in Zimbabwe. I had been living in Paris for two years when this familiar migratory urge came over me, and I moved to the Middle East. If one day Atlantis rises from the sea, there will be Glion alumni there.
There is more to travel than excitement for a new place of even cultural awareness. Even more than the global mindset that is said to be crucial to doing business in the modern world. As one of my favourite quotes goes: ‘A competitive world offers two possibilities. You can lose. Or, if you want to win, you can change’. This nomadic lifestyle of mine taught me to see change as an adventure; I am always excited to learn new ways of doing the same old things.
And I also feel I have a big family scattered all over the world: they are in Bangkok and Chicago, Abu Dhabi, and London, Paris and Brisbane. We’ve all heard about the famous concept of “six degrees of separation” that suggests that any two people in the world are only six acquaintance links apart. It seems that for hoteliers it’s even fewer. And, unlike cubicle-bound office workers, I network with people in all possible industries, from advertising to oil and gas. I am pretty sure if one day I changed my mind and decided to join a circus after all, I would need to make just a few phone calls. But as I am packing my bags yet again, I can’t help thinking that my life couldn’t be better.
The picture below was taken by my fellow modern nomad, Beno Saradzic, an architect turned photographer, who has been living in the Middle East for more than 10 years.