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A Message from ACIS President Peter Jones

March 20, 2020 Peter Jones 12 Comments

What strange times these are.  Each day becomes a little more surreal as we move through uncharted territory.  As a traveler, and someone who has spent a whole lot of time on airplanes, crisscrossing the world, and spending time in my favorite haunts overseas, this is a time to develop an appreciation for other things.  For some of us, it is a time to meditate, to perfect that language you always wanted to perfect, to read the books that have been sitting by your bedside unread, and to pursue things that have always been on your bucket list. For many, there is worry about what the future holds, from month to month or day to day. In any scenario, though, there is hope we may develop a much greater respect for everything that we may have previously taken for granted.

Each day, I receive virtual updates from my friends and colleagues across the world.  From my niece in her Roman apartment making lesson plans for her daughter and my wonderful colleague Carlotta who sends photographs of eerie but beautiful street scenes in Rome while she is walking her dog.  Dog walking is a legal way to escape the apartment at least a few times per day.  I hear from my great friend Sergio who seems to be locked inside of his office searching every internet site and updating us all on the international scene using his prolific language ability.  My dear friend, Javier, in Madrid who reports on DJ nights in the housing compound that he lives in.  Michele, in our London office, playing piano and finding new ways to spend time with her musician son, Jacob.  And all of us continue to do the work that we need to do to move us through this difficult period.  

I long for all of these updates.  Music is playing more of a role than ever before.  A budding tenor playing to an entire housing block, singalongs across balconies and terraces, touching generations and forming bonds that would have been unimaginable before this crisis.  So, in the darkness there is light.  In addition, the world looks cleaner now from space and there are fish swimming in the Venetian canals again.  Maybe all of these things are here to send us a message.  I’d like to think so.

I speak with my brother in London most days just to check in, top up my accent, and make sure everybody is ok.  My son in DC, who has always been a remote worker, gives me advice on how to navigate this new world.  My daughter, who lives around the corner, is busier than ever using teletherapy to reach out to her patients while keeping her beautiful 2.5 year old daughter occupied with all sorts of things.  All of us adapting to this strange, temporary world of semi-lockdown.  In some ways, we are more connected than ever before.  A combination of Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, messaging, email, and video chat.  Yes, weddings may have been cancelled, meetings postponed, and our beloved sports seasons all put on hold, but we find other avenues and other ways to occupy ourselves and to communicate and to discover new things about ourselves. 

As we hunker down for this period and probably overindulge in Netflix and Amazon and over read the newspaper (electronically), we will emerge from this better informed, with more energy and appreciation for the things that were there the whole time.  Respecting the necessary space we need to have so that we can stay healthy and so that when this eventually passes, and it will, we will be in a better place.  

I can’t wait to get back to the simple things, back to the gym, off to that tiny restaurant we always go to, and to see all of my friends again.  I can’t wait to head to the airport and embark on a journey again.  I want to run through those beautiful streets in Italy.  I might even jump into the Trevi Fountain just for the sheer love of being back in one of my favorite cities.  I will go to the theater in London, I will walk the beach in Barcelona, and I will jump on a gondola ride and ask the guy to sing me a song to celebrate the normalcy that we all cherish.  I can’t wait to go to the Boston Garden and watch a basketball game again.  It won’t be long.

In the meantime, stay safe, stay well, and see you out there somewhere.

Peter Jones In 1978, Peter Jones founded ACIS with a few colleagues, who all believed that travel changes lives. Knowing the important difference between a trip that’s mediocre and one that’s extraordinary, he built ACIS from a deep belief and understanding that ACIS group leaders and participants deserve the best—from itinerary development to hotels to perhaps most importantly, the people hired to guide teachers and students throughout the journey.

“In 1978, Peter Jones founded ACIS with a few colleagues, who all believed that travel changes lives. Knowing the important difference between a trip that’s mediocre and one that’s extraordinary, he built ACIS from a deep belief and understanding that ACIS group leaders and participants deserve the best—from itinerary development to hotels to perhaps most importantly, the people hired to guide teachers and students throughout the journey.”

12 thoughts on “A Message from ACIS President Peter Jones

  1. This is great! Let us look for the silver linings in all of this. “Travel changes lives” now even more than ever because we will appreciate being able to GO!

  2. You have such a gift with words! Thank you for such an uplifting message! I keep thinking of all my best travel memories to keep me looking towards the future when I can travel again, too!:) Merci beaucoup, Peter!

  3. Beautifully expressed, Peter … vintage Peter Jones. Last time I wrote to you, this was a mere speck on the horizon, and now the world is inside out. Stay home, wash your hands often, and stay well. We’ll come out the other end appreciating each other and life’s simple pleasures more than ever.

  4. Hi Peter,
    So very true. This is a surreal time! As we do remote learning with our students, social distancing in our daily lives, and isolation or quarantines to follow our covid 19 protocol; we need to take the time to be thankful for the many blessing we still have. (each other, music, beautiful sunsets, daffodils coming up in Spring, birds chirping, taking a brisk walk to take a break from the stressful day, and on and on) It has been inspiring to see how people across the globe have risen to the occasion to pitch in and make a different. In this case, staying put and pitching in is changing lives. The day will come, and hopefully very soon, when we can go back to include that “travel changes lives” as well. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and insights with us. They are inspiring.
    Cynthia T.

  5. Can’t help but think about the couple of times in the past when I had no choice but to cancel an ACIS trip and the emotions that ran through my groups as they came to terms with losing out on a “once in a lifetime” experience. You captured the spirit that we called upon to face those times (Persian Gulf War, Sept 11) and to renew the love of travel that ACIS helped make possible for hundreds of my students, their families, and the adult population in our county. Thank you for your beautiful message. I’d love to share it, if possible.

  6. Peter,
    I appreciate your vision and reflection. Watching most people work remotely and swinging open the doors of their homes/offices to others is refreshing. We all have more in common than we ever imagined. A new appreciation is evolving for each individual and their contribution to society. Holding close our values, family, friends, hopes, and banding together we will get back to our dreams. My dream is to travel soon with ACIS. Thank you for all your contributions to make travel happen and change lives!
    Stay Safe and hunker down,
    Wanda Maness (Educator of Visual Arts)

  7. This is a beautiful hopeful message. We take so much for granted and unfortunately don’t appreciate what we have until it is gone. Happy travels to all!

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