Over the last few weeks, we’ve watched as the Covid-19 crisis has unfolded at an alarming rate. At the end of January, we were getting updates from our partner for the Vietnam & Cambodia trip about the coronavirus but with little cause for concern. Then the first flights were cancelled going through China. Many of these flights were rebooked through South Korea only to then be cancelled several days later. And just when we were catching our breath, we heard the news from Italy, quickly followed by Iran, Spain, France and now, well, everywhere. Our hearts have been heavy as this crisis has reached such unprecedented proportions and impact.
At the end of last week, we made the difficult decision to cancel all of our domestic trips through May 15 and our international trips through the end of June. At the time, this seemed a bit alarmist with the idea that trips still a month or two away to Utah or the Appalachian Trail needed to be cancelled. But today, we are faced with a new reality of self-quarantines, sheltering in place, and the closures of our beloved businesses, restaurants, schools, events, and even parks.
For some of us, these upcoming AGC adventures were much anticipated and long-awaited trips of a lifetime. For others, it was a chance to nourish friendships made either through AGC or strengthened by the time together on an AGC adventure. And for others, it was a much needed and well-deserved vacation to reset and recharge. Whatever the reason to join a trip, the disappointment we share in having to cancel them is universal.
At AGC, some of the changes many others are facing have come a bit easier for us. For example, we are already a remote staff. Although we don’t see each other often in person we feel quite connected through our regular video conversations on Skype. What had been bi-weekly team meetings have become daily check-ins. We’ve needed this time to support each other and especially to support our travelers - many of whom were just finishing trips or just starting trips, as well as our guides and partners. We’ve needed to make many team decisions but also just to hear how we’re doing - how are our loved ones, friends, and communities and what’s happened to our routines? And of course, do we have enough toilet paper?
These moments of connection feel especially poignant right now and we want all of the AGC community to come together through these challenging times. We want to know how you’re doing, are you staying healthy, are you finding new trails to explore and places of refuge? Are you reading a great book, did you discover a new favorite movie, or have you tried a new recipe? We’ll be sharing some of what we're doing and we hope to hear from you too. If there is a blessing in a quarantine, it’s that it’s during springtime. May we open our hearts, our minds, and our windows to discover the lessons that await us. And may we find hope that what will have felt so ordinary - a shared meal, a high five, a hug - will one day soon be extraordinary.