Travel Goods Association
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Feeling Powerless

IT'S A WEEK AFTER SUPERSTORM SANDY, AND WE'RE STILL FEELING ITS effects. I'm one of the lucky ones — I didn't go days without power, I didn't lose my home. Even now, there are still areas in the Northeast waiting for electricity to be restored — which makes my going without power and Internet for 48 hours seem like a minor inconvenience. Many of my New Jersey neighbors had it a lot worse. Some lost everything. I hope Sandy's impact on you — personally and professionally — has been minimal, and that you're on your way to recovery. Our thoughts and prayers go out to those whose lives have been forever changed by this devastating storm.

In many ways, I was helped by the fact I work in the travel goods industry. I'm loaded with gadgets that are marvels of self-sufficiency — devices that extend my cell phone's battery life (a Godsend!), bags that provide an alternative power source by incorporating solar chargers, portable water-purification systems, quick-drying undergarments, emergency medical kits, energy-efficient flashlights, and waterproof bags and protective cases, just to name a few. Convenience and comfort are terms we use to sell travel goods, but in a situation like this they're more than that — they're coping devices. And coping is what gets us through.

Sandy's aftermath is going to be felt for quite a while, not just here on the East Coast, but throughout our industry. Sandy's airport closures and flight cancellations are no longer having an immediate impact, but there's still a ripple effect as people alter or curtail travel plans, and with decreased travel comes a decreased demand for our industry's products. And for some of you, Sandy has hamstrung your supply chain, affecting your ability to procure product or get it out to retailers.

Luckily, we're good at this. We've had plenty of practice after 9/11 and the 2008 recession, when travel was one of the hardest-hit industries. We work in a resilient industry, one that knows how to bounce back after adversity. We live in a country where neighbors will step up and help out in times of need, in a nation with amazing infrastructure, one that can deliver relief supplies in a disaster like this with speed and unparalleled efficiency (although I must note that as of this writing, there are people in the Mid-Atlantic region still waiting for supplies and relief).

Sandy has been a good reminder of the Big Picture. I know it's given me a larger appreciation of what's important, and what matters. And as we approach the Thanksgiving season, it's a reminder of how much I have to be thankful for, and how truly fortunate I am.


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