Then fill to me the parting glass
Goodnight and joy be with you all
- The Dubliners
And so to my final Blog of 2013, begun at 34,990 feet above… who knows where? Destination nowhere. Destination somewhere.
Like so many of my readers, the story of much of my year has been one told from an aeroplane, bound thousands of miles from home, waking intermittently after brief, restless snatches of sleep, the inflight route map my trusted reminder to wherever I am headed.
As fate would have it, this Blog begins near my old haunt of Novosibirsk, Siberia, en route to the other side of the planet. A personal rather than work journey, but, as though fate decreed it, my west to east flight, of which I have taken so many during 2013, has seen me wake once again high above the Siberian city which has been my constant beacon from on high throughout the year.
I thought of my friends
And the troubles they’ve had
To keep me thinking from mind
- Warren Zevon
As I write, it’s just turned New Year’s Eve and like, I suspect, every man and woman in this industry, it’s a time of personal reflection. Some 11 years on from the fertilisation of a vague idea with a specific name called The Moodie Report, I look both back and forward. Back on a journey that has taken me (and my incredible colleagues) to places, physically and mentally, that I could never have dreamed of. Forward, constantly, to the perennially new chapter that beckons uncertainly for all of us, like the green light across the bay that so remorselessly lured Jay Gatsby.
Unlike the flight map in front of me, though, there is no plotted path to progress, no defined destination tracker. Life will be, as ever, whatever it will be. In some ways, I suspect, the New Year makes its resolutions about you, rather than the other way around.
Whenever I contemplate difficult moments (or whole years, as in 2013), I remind myself of the far greater difficulties faced by so very many people around the world. Perhaps the greatest satisfaction of my time in travel retail – now, would you believe it, exceeding a quarter of a century – is the way our business has reached out to the have-nots, the bereaved, the dispossessed, the discriminated against.
Whether it be trying to combat diseases such as cancer; assisting post-natural disasters such as earthquakes or flooding; or tackling debilitating afflictions such as blindness, cleft lips and palates, our industry is seldom, nay never, found wanting. We may buy and sell things that people largely desire rather than need, but one of the end products of that is a collective commitment and contribution to society that I admire more than anything in a business that I am privileged to be part of.
From 41,083 feet, somewhere above Jingtai, China, I wish you all the happiest of New Years. I hope that 2014 brings you prosperity and peace, happiness and, most critically, health. Thank you for being with me on the constant journey that is The Moodie Blog and The Moodie Report.
The moon has a face
And it smiles on the lake
And causes the ripples in time
I’m lucky to be here with people I like
Who maketh my spirit to shine
- Warren Zevon