29 May Post-lockdown trends: Diary of a mum entrepreneur
“The new normal”, remote living and connecting to the world now
In a way I’ve been living this “new normal” since 1998. After working in London I said no to the corporate 9 to 5, city life, Waitrose meals in plastic and daily commuting on the tube. Instead, I signed up to an online marketing course, invested in a laptop, dial-up connection and started my first business online. So in some ways I was prepared for the “new normal”. For me it has always been about remote working, meetings over Skype, creating a flexible business structure and a team of self employed tech and design experts from all over the world which allowed us to grow together, freely and sustainably.
Everything was possible at the start of the dot com era and I believe the COVID-19 crisis will bring about the same opportunities. I believe the pandemic has opened a portal many of us have been waiting for. In times of crisis and change we are thrown into a new reality, where everything is possible because people’s minds are open. Success is measured differently and there is an openness to new systems, new ways of working and living.
Lockdown is announced. Ibiza is preparing for openings .. what next?
Because I organise events and work with hotels and venues on the island of Ibiza, I spent the first couple of weeks contacting local businesses and partners, cancelling bookings, events and days out with the pioneers of green boating. I realised fast the seasons would not happen, travel and events will never be the same again and I had the pressure to reinvent myself for the new brave new world.
It has been one of the toughest times of my life economically as a single mum, however I am aware it has been even tougher for some – with a rise in domestic violence, depression and mental health as well as losing loved ones to the virus. In Ibiza the neighbourhood community came together online through music, meditation, fitness, caritas programs, shopping locally, supporting local businesses and generally looking out for each other. I feel grateful to be a part of this community.
The travel industry post-covid ..
We were already seeing a shift in behaviour in the luxury travel market before COVID-19 happened. The quarantine has accelerated it. We defined an “ecosystem” in the International Luxury Travel Market conference in Cannes in December 2019. The luxury travel segment is focusing on conservation, sustainability, moving away from the hotel fripperies towards experiences and local traditions where less is more. The recent projects I was involved with such as Can 7, the artists residence for family and friends in Formentera and exploded hotel concept Chateau Castigno, a sleepy village in nature, South of France were all about being in nature, connected to the local community and culture. Travellers want to wake up in nature, dine barefoot, eat locally sourced food and celebrate traditions with locals.
Lockdown is giving us the chance to find and support the hidden gems close to home. For me, this is Ibiza and the Balearic islands. In some ways I am excited that travel is going back to its roots. I believe we will see a decline in business travel due to the success of zoom meetings. It will be less about fast and cheap travel and more about slow conscious experiences. I hope to see a rise in sustainable, purpose driven travel based on transformational experiences through cultural activation. People may travel for longer periods of time and immerse themselves in new cultures and community.
The future of tourism in Ibiza and Malta ..
Sustainability. Conscious Travel. Experiential Travel. Celebrating art, culture, music, history, ancient traditions, nature, living like a local. Supporting local businesses and community. Creating safe travel bubbles. I would like to see governments, movements and businesses sharing the same goals so travel is about heart and soul, style and sustainability. I would like to see incentives and support towards owner managed businesses with heart, soul and sustainability. I would like to see hotels, restaurants and venues serving from field to plate and buying produce locally so the planting season is aligned with local demand. I would like to see NGO’s, foundations and preservation funds working closely with schools so heart, soul and sustainability is a part of the education system as “We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children”. Sustainability is a subject on its own. It is more than just “no plastic policies” but the management of water and waste, fat traps, striving for carbon neutrality, bio-architecture, solar energy, traffic management, zero waste concepts, circular product development, behind the scene practices and supply chains.
Suddenly finding my everyday ..
Lock down has been tough in Ibiza, where I live alone and solo parent my daughters Maya 10 and Luli 8. We were not allowed to leave our homes for two months. Overnight, I took on many new roles – a full time home schooling teacher in three languages Catalan, Castellano and English, house maintenance & plumbing (our water stopped working), gardener & field to plate chef, fitness instructor, as well as keeping up with clients and divorce in a separate jurisdiction to the one we live in.
There is nothing more powerful than a global crisis to emphasize what really matters. For me it was keeping my daughters positive, home schooled and in high spirits. I set up a very simple daily routine for us:
> Get dressed & do our beds every morning
> Prepare breakfast, lunch & supper together
> Prioritize home schooling projects.
Once this was done, I was flexible to do what inspired my daughters.
My “new normal” realised ..
Islanders are village people and survivors. In Ibiza we have been living the new normal by remote working, buying local, living in nature, car pooling, supporting local businesses and not over consuming. As we are slowly emerging, I feel I want more immersion in nature, connection with my nearest and dearest, being in the outdoors, living in the moment.
I will carry with me to the “new normal” :
> Focusing on boosting our immune systems through nourishment & lifestyle
> Close connection with friends, family & community
> Living a slow life, celebrating “just being”
> Daily walks in nature – foraging wild local garlic, asparagus, sage and rosemary
> Cooking with my daughters & gratitude rituals before every meal
> Planting and tending to our veg, herb garden & fruit trees barefoot
> Creating and managing our own compost
> Painting, reading, dancing, and getting creative together
> Keeping a diary and journaling
> Learning to listen to my intuition
> Aligning work, life and travel to be more conscious
> Writing Love Letters from Ibiza to the world to keep the spirit of the island alive
> Participating in 21 days to abundance, a group led by Vanessa Coleiro
> Celebrating life and gratitude with Robyn Pratt at sunrise
> Having good laughs with my daughters
> Banning all things processed from home
> Participating in the “Meet my Wilson” campaign to support the vulnerable
> Breaking in the quarantine with the Giggle Water founder Catherine & Nagai owner Melchior
> Pilates classes with Carolyn Bonello, my childhood BFF
> “The unconference” zoom conversations with futurists Canay & Rudy
> “Conversations about change” with David Leppan
> Intimate conversations with friends on daring topics, I would never have touched upon previously
> A 3 day water fast with a group of empowering water babes, lead by Saskia Griffiths, Ibiza Bow Spring
> Chance encounters, knowing glances and conversations outside the local veggie shop
Alexea Grech has been working remotely since 1999 when she co-founded NMS one of the first online marketing agencies in the UK and online travel portals ARC Corporate Housing and Hotique, the world’s most desirable hotels. She works in travel and events in Ibiza and around the world, and acts as an ambassador for Threefold, Openstage and While, all impact projects to make the world a better place. A trailblazer, entrepreneur and single mum, she shares some of her quarantine insights and post lockdown trends with SHE.
Instagram @alexeagrech_ibiza Linked In: https://es.linkedin.com/in/alexea-grech-b4bb4b156