Chimu Chat: Chad Carey

Chad Carey, Chimu’s Co-founder is excited to play an integral part in bringing the global community back together.

Chad Carey |
Chimu Adventures

It’s fortunate I didn’t have any hair before the pandemic started! The last 18 months have been a formidable battle of attrition and not conducive to keeping locks of hair in place. The phase of the pandemic we are in now feels like the toughest but hopefully final stage, as vaccinations are finally becoming a part of our combat arsenal. Yet to get to this point has not been a walk in the park.

The first part of the pandemic was certainly a battering, day after day. I think most people empathise with what the travel industry has gone through, but with no end in sight for so long, dealing with repatriations and endless cancelled booking alongside false summits, it is has been incredibly challenging to keep our motivations up. Only those in the travel industry will truly understand. Yet we do this job because we love helping people make their dreams come true and I truly believe we can do this again.

Working behind the scenes has been one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do, from losing staff to dealing with incredibly upset and stressed clients, plus trying to keep the business as pandemic proof as possible in an environment where simply no mentors exist. The road map into, through and out of this mess was and still is, nonexistent.

Our pandemic pivot to scenic flights from Australia to witness the Southern Aurora and Antarctica this year, has been a challenge in itself, to actually operate during the pandemic comes with a plethora of new challenges that made the pivot, at times, feel like a scramble, but to succeed in being able to show people something truly spectacular and unique during this very difficult time has made it all worthwhile. It is something I believe we, as a team, will look back on with pride for many years to come. We really came together when it mattered.

Chad working closely with Qantas Pilot, Lisa Norman, during the 2020 scenic flights pivot.

In the beginning, I was trying to guess how long the pandemic would last and thinking, how we could minimize the impact to staff and clients whilst putting ourselves in a position to get to the other side? I initially forecasted a 9 – 12 month disruption, oh how wrong I was! As we have waded through this, it has been a difficult balance managing staff. Juggling the line between being honest and realistic, whilst also trying to project positivity hasn’t been easy, but we have an awesome team who have been very aware of the precarious state of the travel industry and, amazingly, have put their hands up to help wherever they can.

I’m ultimately a positive person, I believe you can problem solve your way out of most things and, to me, this pandemic has been no different. Whilst pushing through day after day of disappointment has been difficult, it has also been character building and I think on the other side of this, our company and operations will be more robust than ever, adversity presents the greatest stage for innovation.

We’re fortunate we don’t only offer our products to the Australian market, as we are now noticing a spike in bookings from other developed nations around the globe. These nations are already opening up to international travel and, after so much time tucked away in lockdowns, they are booking up foreign accommodation and tours in huge numbers. Australia needs to take heed.

I do worry that there won’t be much left for Australians once they are ready to book. An example, I do know that Europe is already heavily booked for mid-2022 and in our product range, Antarctica 2022 could be a difficult season to find a berth for people who wait. To help the Aussies we are already planning on opening up bookings for the 23/24 season early so that they will, at least, get a chance to plan to see this magnificent part of the world. I really look forward to helping Australia get out of its hermit state mentality. It does pain me that we are so far behind.

Meanwhile, our team have been working hard on our post-pandemic product range with a focus on avoiding over-tourism and facilitating an even better engagement between travellers and the communities we visit. People really do make or break travel experiences and we’re trying to find a way to build better bonds so that both travellers and the communities benefit.

The light is now at the end of the tunnel and it’s time to bring the global community back together. I feel great pride that we will soon play an important part in, what will be, an incredible event.

Watch this space.

For more stories behind the scenes from people in travel read more on the Chimu Chat

Author: Meg Hall

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