I don't cry often, but over the last couple of weeks I've found myself in tears on several occasions. It's been one of those times when a week feels like a year!
I cried when we decided to postpone all trips for the next two months. Why?
Because those trips mean so much to our customers who have spent so long planning and dreaming about their adventures. They will miss wandering through the bluebell-filled woods on the West Highland Way, cycling through the colourful tulip fields of Holland, strolling through the wildflowers of Andalucia and trekking through the foothills of the Atlas mountains.
Because of what it means for the livelihoods of all the small hotels, B&B's, and transport providers that will be impacted. The thousands of wonderful people who welcome and take care of our travellers each day are what truly makes our trips special. How will they take care of their families over the coming months?
I cried when a friend's father passed away after losing to cancer. I was devastated by her loss. Particularly at this time when all of us feel that our world is collapsing. My friend is one of my closest colleagues, who has been working selflessly for the past four weeks to help us get through this corona virus crisis. She epitomises the qualities of the team at Macs Adventure that I am privileged to lead. Losing someone we love always reminds us that the relationships we have with our family, friends and colleagues are the most precious possession we have.
I cried when I got home on Thursday night and told my wife that we had no choice but to reduce our salary costs hugely, to get through the next six months and make sure the business is able to come back from this stronger. This would mean layoffs, reduced hours and salary cuts for all of our wonderful team of colleagues. Standing in my kitchen, surrounded by my family the enormity of what this would mean for each and every one of those colleagues and their families hit home.
On Friday afternoon of 20th March, the UK chancellor made me cry for the first (and hopefully the last) time. His announcement of the job support scheme meant that we would not need to make further redundancies in the UK. We would be able to furlough most of our UK team at 80% of their salary for the next three months, and be able to get them back on board quickly as soon as the recovery starts. I don't think I have ever felt a greater sense of relief. (Apart from perhaps when my two kids were born healthy).
Last week I cried from sadness, loss, despair and relief. This week has been better. Over the last few days it has been pride, joy, love and happiness that have caused me to get a lump stuck in my throat.
I've been overwhelmed by the messages of support and encouragement from our community. Our customers, team, partners, advisors, friends and family. Thank you for letting us know that what we do means so much to you. It makes me (and the whole Macs family) so happy and proud.
The reaction of our team across our international offices who have agreed to salary cuts of up to 50%, reduced hours and periods of furlough has been astounding. Despite the huge individual cost to each of them. Thank you for helping us to secure the future of Macs Adventure.
I've been astounded by the community spirit that has emerged across the world over the past few days. The essential human goodness that 750,000 NHS volunteers have shown, neighbours connecting like never before, care workers working unpaid and youngsters helping the elderly.
Is this terrible virus turning you all emotional like me? Please share what is making you cry with happiness, sadness, pride or any of the whole gambit of wonderful human emotions. Connect with us via the Macs Adventure Facebook group, email, instagram, or twitter.
Thank you for being with us during this crisis. We are stronger together.
Yours in adventure,
Founder & CEO