The experiences we’ve missed

We’ve certainly endured many new experiences during the pandemic, but you would be hard pushed to describe many as positive – maybe reconnecting with nature – but it’s a graphene deep list. In essence, incentive events aim to take clients out of their everyday existence, into a new world of unfamiliar tastes, sights and experiences. We’ve really missed out on all these experiences, yet we are agonisingly close once again, to being able to experience all those pleasures that new frontiers offer.

Scenery – Chamonix does eye candy like nowhere else

Not many office or residential windows open out onto cloud-piercing granite and ice sheets. Looking up at peaks is a humbling, mesmerising experience. Whilst remarkable views are around every corner in the Alps, there is one place to really sample the majesty of the peaks – stepping into the void at the Aiguille du Midi, high above Chamonix-Mont-Blanc. The glass-floored pod extends out over a precipitous wall of rock, above ice flows, crevasses and clouds. Looking up from the floor, the 4000m+ peaks of the Mont Blanc Massif clutter the horizon. Gazing up after looking down offers to a true glimpse into the scale of these upended tectonic plates. There’s nothing else in daily life to better appreciate the supremacy of the natural world.

Dining – with a Mediterranean breeze

We have certainly eaten well over the last 15 months. It may even be the case that our dining choices have broadened, with exotic foods just a click and courier away. What has been missing however are the locations where delicious cuisine has been enjoyed – confinement has been a challenge! That thrill of the event organiser leading the group through a restaurant to a privatised, outdoor terrace is undiluted joy. All in anticipation of wonderful, unfamiliar food, the rumble of the ocean, the smell of the salt water, the chinking of glasses and the easy conversations. Cooling breezes, blowing off the Mediterranean Sea aren’t something that arrive with the ringing of the doorbell.

Drinking – with friends and colleagues

As pubs and bars closed, alcohol consumption switched to domestic venues – the home office, home school, home cinema, home diner also became the home boozer. Friends and colleagues joined via a mobile device and it was fun … for the first few times. No queuing, remote control in hand and no Uber ride home – what can’t be liked about the home bar? Well, its solitary. The drinks are the same, the music is personalised, but it is people that make bars special, whether it’s slope side après ski, waterfront terrace or city centre rooftop venue. It’s the conversations, the laughter and the shared justifications that make group drinks so pleasurable. 

Sounds – live music has no equal

With Spotify offering the user a near limitless access to the world’s music catalogue, we are truly spoilt for beats and rhythms. Algorithms sense our tastes, respond to our moods and our streamed music moments should be peerless. But they’re not. We’ve been denied the electricity of an expectant audience, the adulation of a responsive crowd and the post-performance parties that stretch the moment late into the night. Live concerns, DJ’s playing to waterfront diners, the passion of a live Flamenco event – they are not defined by digitally perfect sound reproduction or predetermined scripts, they are about the moment and we need them back.  

Architecture – the other wonderful backdrop

Nature does it best, but architects have managed to craft some truly awesome event backdrops. After a week at Wernham Hogg, the manmade world could seem a little dreary. As an antidote, the style of Copenhagen, the experimentalism of Rotterdam or the charm of Bruges are available to banish the monotony of urban familiarity. Interaction with exquisite architecture is both mood and mind changing. Just as glorious nature captivates us, so human design and build can leave us spellbound, replenishing our appetites to change our lives, work and worlds for the better.

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