Perspective is the antidote to hysteria.

Dear travelers, dreamers, and friends of Smiling Albino,


We are now into our 3rd month of dealing with the novel coronavirus, and I’m sure that some of us may not be able to imagine a day when all of this madness will end. The statistics we are bombarded with on a daily basis conjure up all sorts of frightening visions and apocalyptic doomsday predictions by the media. I think we can all deal with a little less of that, thanks!

We’re all feeling the pain, and I know that so many of you are business owners, founders, or solo-prenuers. This is our force majeure moment, and I have empathy for the paralysis you’re dealing with. When this passes – and it will – the scars left behind will be the economic impact on the small communities, delicate local economies, and the hundreds of thousands who rely on tourism for their livelihood. One canceled trip ripples out into a long supply chain of lost opportunity and fear. So rather than being further terrified each day by the news, I’m trying to look for more optimistic signs. Something a little more human. Something with perspective.

I remember a time when we thought we’d never trust stock markets again (‘87 Market Crash), or that we’d never trust currencies again (‘97 Asian Financial Crisis). And I think we all felt the temporary fear that humans might not ever travel again (9/11, SARs, Tsunami, Swine Flu, etc.), or that we’d never EVER trust banks again (‘08 Global Financial Crisis), and the list goes on. But the truth is, we’re resilient, we’re human, and we want to keep moving forward and living the life we’ve been put on this earth to live.

So, while we’re all a bit scared looking down at our shoes, don’t forget to look up. Don’t stop dreaming. There may be opportunities in the trees above that we might miss. I keep asking myself, “What would Elon Musk do? What would Bill Gates do? What would Steve Jobs do?” and “how can Smiling Albino and I be part of the solution”?

We’re considering ways to allocate resources to support our wonderful guides in the field who won’t see much work this spring. We’re considering ways to remobilize our team to work on development, experimentation, and creative planning for the future.

International travel is likely off people’s radar for the next while, and containing this virus should be our primary aim right now. We’ll all need to be vigilant, follow local medical advice, and deal with the reality of “social distancing” – a term we’d never heard of a few weeks ago – for the time being.

But consider this: compared to a previous generation, nothing we’re dealing with now even comes close to Normandy. They were heroes. We just need to wait this out.

On that note, I want to send out special thanks to so many of our wonderful clients and friends who’ve been flexible, creative, and just wonderfully human during this time. Most people, thankfully, are choosing to postpone and wait this out rather than outright cancel. Bless you, and thank you for being so supportive!

And when this passes (it will) and the fear subsides (it will), people will want to travel again. It can be part of the antidote to help the world mend. People will want great experiences again, and we’ll be ready when they do. I want people to know that Southeast Asia will be safe and ready for exploration when the world begins to heal.

So, take a deep breath. Stay calm. It’s what you’re good at and likely what made you the success you are. This too shall pass, and I hope we can travel together again with a smile real soon.

Best in Adventure, 



Dan Fraser
Smiling Albino Founder & Chief Mahout

Comments are closed.