Think of the good times and keep your chin up, says Thompson Travel owner Sharon Thompson.

During my 26 years working for our third generation travel agency and tour operation, I’ve encountered many disasters and obstacles – swine flu, earthquakes, bombs and disappearing aircraft, to name a few. But Covid is on a whole new level.

You can’t deny that it’s taking lives, and I sympathise deeply with those who have lost loved ones. But you have to wonder if this is now a media frenzy. Every so often, I think it will all go away and we will look back and tell stories of our worry. Then the next minute, I wonder if I should be looking for a new career as I approach my 50th year!

Life is a cabaret 

As I try to think of positives, the song Life is a Cabaret springs to mind as my team work on a ‘book now, travel later’ policy to include New York and encourage early bookings ahead of Broadway’s reopening in June 2021.

I do love a musical and miss the West End, Broadway and a good old musical on a cruise. Royal Caribbean’s Jewel of the Seas had a great mix of Broadway musical memoirs on a sailing I loved, and I can only imagine how entertainers in the cruise world and beyond are suffering, just like those of us in our industry.

“We have no control over what’s happening, but we have to look at these flawed draconian measures in a way that sees us come out the other side, with a future.”

As I think about the theatrical drama of my life, the song’s lyrics make me smile: What good’s permitting; Some prophet of doom; To wipe every smile away; Life is a cabaret, old chum; So come to the cabaret! (I bet you just sang that!).

In the musical, Sally Bowles sings the song in a nightclub in Nazi Germany after deciding to live in carefree ignorance and not let life get her down. And that’s how I’m thinking. We have no control over what’s happening, but we have to look at these flawed draconian measures in a way that sees us come out the other side, with a future.

Maybe it’s a case of Let’s Face the Music and Dance. I certainly look forward to a world of packed theatres and laughter again.

Money makes the world go round

There’s another great song in this Broadway spectacular, and how true it is. If our government could start looking ahead, they would see that travel keeps the wheels of the economy turning. The world would be well reimbursed by the quality and benefits of travel if it invested in it.

The links Northern Ireland has with Europe and the world must be kept or we’ll lapse back to an island of expensive connections. There are so many links in the chain that need and connect to our industry.

“If our government could start looking ahead, they would see that travel keeps the wheels of the economy turning. The world would be well reimbursed by the quality and benefits of travel if it invested in it.”

How long are we going to kick the ball down the field? How long will we feed our own savings and pensions into something we have no certainty over? But if you love it, you do it.

Keep your chin up

Cabaret is a devastating critique of apathy, as characters stay locked in denial or self-interest despite the horrors around them. I don’t mean to sound dismissive or blind, like a Cabaret character, and I am suffering like all of you. But just think how unprecedented these times are.

“How long are we going to kick the ball down the field? How long will we feed our own savings and pensions into something we have no certainty over?”

Then think of the good times and the enduring popularity of Cabaret more than 50 years on. Keep your chin up. Life is a cabaret, old chum!


Lucky-go-happy

‘Happiness greases the axle’

Author Paul van der Merwe said: “Money makes the world go round; however, happiness greases the axle. Without this lubricant, life will seize.”  In his book Lucky Go Happy, he also said: “The key to happiness is a regular dose of unhappiness”.

Paul’s motivation for writing Lucky Go Happy is interesting. He says he had problems falling asleep during a stressful period, so forced himself to have happy thoughts to stop his mind racing back to work.

He said that during these periods of being half-asleep, the mind is extremely creative, and that resulted in some interesting perspectives on happiness arriving at 2am!

It’s a witty read and may be a good one for the Christmas list!