It’s only September? Hasn’t 2020 been at least a decade?
“Well, maybe this is kind of nice,” we thought back in April. “I’d be stuck in traffic right now if it weren’t for all this,” we said, lounging a few extra moments in bed noticing the gentle morning light sneaking in through the gap in the curtains. We’d enjoy the simple pleasure of cupping our chin in our hand and staring off out the window. “Maybe this isn’t all bad.”
Then, for many of us city folk, the disquieting smell of tear gas began seeping under that same window, a reminder of the unjust and unstable foundation on which our society is built. Many of us took to the streets to fight for a seemingly evident and undeniable truth — Black. Lives. Matter.
Our dreams of French chateaus and long candlelit dinner tables in Italian monasteries are, for now, put on hold. Hearts are weary. Lives have been lost. Change, at times, feels imminent and so obviously essential, yet there is the constant creeping fear of the status quo threatening every time we let our guard down.
We have so much that ails us right now.
The world’s religions have shown us a surprising degree of insight when times are bleak and our urge to travel is strongest. Pilgrimages have long been seen as a cure for afflictions. In medieval times, new mothers would carry their newborns for miles in hopes of reaching one of the few sanctuaries that claimed access to “Mary’s holy breast milk.” They hoped that the journey and blessing they’d receive on arrival would increase their own supply, sustaining the next generation. Muslims still perform the Hajj, the trek to the Great Mosque in Mecca in search of absolution. Whether it was a toothache or a deep spiritual malaise, travel has long presented the antidote to our pains, and 2020 has pained us physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
For us, the longing for a new street and something beautiful to surprise our weary brains has never been stronger, but neither has our pursuit of equity. The travel industry should not be allowed to avoid just how serious our undertaking is. We’ve been trusted with an absolutely essential aspect of our lives. All too often, travel is demoted to the pursuit of being frivolously entertained or a few shades more tan. We do so at the expense of being existentially healed. It’s this reason that MFR is deeply committed to travel equity. We need travel to be more accessible to those who need it most. It’s crucial to keep examining old systems that no longer serve and be brave enough to help create new ones.
With borders closed and travel being a big ol’ question mark, we’re working away behind the scenes on making Moveable Feast the badass, arms-flung-wide travel experience of our collective dreams— for EVERYONE. From day one our vision has been an equitable space for LGBTQ, BIPOC, young and old(er) travelers to have a safe and joyful travel experience. When we created MFR, we committed to using our business to pursue joy AND justice, and baked it into our business plan. To date we’ve raised over $150k through our two businesses (hi @sullivanandsullivanstudios) for refugees, mental health, and a host of nonprofits serving Black equity, hosted popup dinners for refugee families, and committed to equity in every aspect of our planning. Yet… yet! We are all complicit in maintaining the status quo of white supremacy in varying degrees, and in ways we don’t even see. Pursuing justice is not a social media trend or a quick Bandaid; it’s an examination of every action we take and a revived commitment to why we believe so deeply in travel being accessible to all.
For now, our 2020 retreat has been pushed back. We’re eyeing May of next year with hope. It seems ill-fated to announce anything before safety is assured and the world once again welcomes us with open arms. But stay tuned! In the coming months, we’ll be rolling out ways to travel at home, providing more updates on how we’re working toward a more equal travel industry, and yes, when the time is right, we’ll announce our next retreat, which we hope will be a pilgrimage for some to reclaim that which is essential. Our time in this wide world is brief. Let’s make it deep.
Our Feast family means a lot to us. We can’t wait to share a table with you soon.
-Tim, Laura, & the entire MFR team