“Failure is success in progress.” -Albert Einstein
Thanksgiving 2020 comes at a unique time in our history. We are in the midst of a pandemic that has altered our world and our way of life. It has inflicted immense and sometimes lethal damage on many small businesses. And yet I stand before you today incredibly grateful for the great opportunity to flourish and humbled by all that I have been privileged to experience over the last four years.
I’m thankful for the hundreds of thousands of miles I traveled to build up a network of suppliers and customers in an industry in which personal relationships are still king.
I’m thankful for miles and points, which allowed me to experience the opulence of premium cabins and luxury hotels I would have otherwise never paid out-of-pocket for.
I’m thankful friends and new friends that introduced me to a whole new world, skills from which will help me in all future endeavors.
I’m thankful for the architecture of Amsterdam, the staff at the Hyatt Regency and Andaz, and walks through the canals as the bells of bicycles echoed around me.
I’m thankful for the wonderful staff at my warehouse in Rotterdam, particularly Conny, who greeted me with a hug and a kiss each visit.
I’m thankful for not only the trade shows in Hong Kong, but the intimate dinners in Victoria Harbour or the walks through Sheung Wan.
I’m thankful for being able to take a break from back-to-back meetings to worship in St. Andrew’s Cathedral in Singapore.
I’m thankful for the business conducted between courses at a wonderful little brasserie in the heart of Paris.
I’m thankful for a bumpy ride through a vacant field as my Uber driver tried to shave off a few minutes from the journey from Chopin Airport to my meeting in Warsaw.
I’m thankful for the beauty of the Amalfi Coast and my first Italian wedding, an incredible culinary and culture experience.
I’m thankful for business over risotto in Milan.
I’m thankful for my road trip through Italy, which yielded great fruit in my search for suppliers and a side of Italy I would never have otherwise experienced.
I’m thankful for my business in the Tyrol region of Italy, a German-speaking enclave in the north which felt much more like Austria or Germany than Italy.
I’m thankful for the beauty and elegance of Vienna.
I’m thankful for long seafood lunches, including barnacle testicles, in Spain’s Cantabria region.
I’m thankful for yacht trips in Dubai with a supplier who honored his word, even at great personal cost.
I’m thankful for walking through the streets of Valletta, Malta in the quiet of the night, marveling at the ancient history of this island nation.
I’m thankful for trips to London and the ability to stay with my sister-in-law, which lowered business expenses and led to great fellowship.
I’m thankful for the First Class Terminal in Frankfurt, a familiar stopping point on the journey home from business trips.
I’m thankful for trade shows in Cannes; walking down the beautiful Boulevard de la Croisette and enjoying coffee in The Carlton.
I’m thankful for the Shibuya Crossing and just about everything else about Tokyo, a city I came to love and respect.
I’m thankful for the beauty and order of Zurich and being able to command the attention of several warehouses who competed for my business…and for the SWISS First Class lounge.
Somehow, these memories will crowd out the backstabbing, betrayal, counterfeits, and the many other maladies. I’m so thankful today. It was a great run.