If we are to rise above fear, we can only claim our freedom by celebrating life, pursuing beauty and embracing new experiences.
I’m writing you today because, as we enter the Holiday Season, I’m looking for inspiration. The recent events in Paris have hit us harder than you might know. The events of November 13th in Paris not only struck us as a human tragedy - one that we are a part of because of our shared humanity - but it also forced us to face the reality of terror itself, and ask the question of whether we would give in to fear.
Some of you know that Paris is our newest destination for 2016. We’ve spent the last few years in France, making sure we know how to entertain you, welcome you, and make you feel at home during Bastille Day, the French National Holiday on July 14th. We were just about ready to send you an invitation to join us in France for the happiest day of their year. Then tragedy struck, and Friday the 13th became their saddest day.
We considered cancelling the trip - knowing that many of you would understandably have concerns about traveling to Paris after the terrorist attacks. As a company, we actually have very little to lose in cancelling everything this far in advance. It actually is the financially prudent thing to do.
But something about it doesn’t feel right. I pictured myself calling the friends we’ve made over the years and telling them we’re too afraid to come to their country. Somehow, I feel like we would be handing another victory to the terrorists. They would have achieved their goal. By cowardly killing 129 people, they create fear around the world. In the span of one evening, a few psychopaths shifted global politics, made us think twice about venturing out, and planted a seed of fear in each of us.
You might want to take my perspective with a grain of salt… I’ve been mugged at knife-point in Rio, robbed at gunpoint in Peru, I was in Thailand when the Tsunami hit, and in Russia during the military coup of 1991. After each event, there were always good reasons to stay home. But something kept pushing me to keep on exploring. I’ve changed some of my travel habits to try to stay saf-er, but I also realize there is no such thing as absolute safety. Anywhere.
So, in a very small way, I want to send a message to the bad guys - that terror only works if we let it create terror in our hearts, and we stop living the freedom and joy that they aim to take away. Of course, I’m not saying you have to travel to France. For you, it might mean going to a football game or concert in your city, instead of avoiding public gatherings. The main thing is that, no matter where we live, we remember that we are strong, that we are in control of our lives, and that freedom will always win over fear in the long run.
For those of you who resonate with this message, and want to venture out further, I want to give you an opportunity to stand beside me on our penthouse terrace at the French Military Parade on July 14, 2016. It will mean more than ever to stand there and show respect to our oldest ally, who stood with America against tyranny in 1778, and has partnered with us in pursuit of democracy and liberty since 1789.
If you’d like to join me, please click here to review the trip details and make a deposit, showing your commitment. Your trip will have an impact in three ways:
I hope you will consider joining me as we celebrate life, pursue beauty and embrace new experiences together.
Vive la France,