"What made them so unbearably moving was that each one has been made by hand and not mass produced in some factory in China"
This was Marc Koska speaking at TedX in Brighton last week, describing his visit to the Tower of London's sea of 880,000 poppies. The theme of the day was 'Many Hands', the theme of this particular session was making by hand, crafting. After an introduction by the BBC's Jaques Peretti describing the invention of consumerism, the creation of a desire to constantly replace, we were treated to talks by a series of amazing people who actually make things.
There was a woman who runs spoon carving workshops. She was wonderfully self-deprecating about the quality of spoons produced but that was her point: it's the act of making that matters.
On the other end of the sophistication spectrum was Andoitz Telleria describing the incredibly complex process of micro-lamination used to create, in wood, his beautiful bikes and telescopic hiking poles.
It was the instantly likeable knife maker Ben Edmonds who perhaps put it best when describing his first knife sale. 'Selling something you have made is like no other exchange. It is an emotional as well as a physical exchange.'
Jaques Peretti hit it bang on when he described how our brains have become detached from our hands. At a point in the process, 'being good with your hands' became a euphemism for being of lesser intelligence. If you're smart you become a white collar worker, if you aren't, it's off to work with your hands.
And yet, here were all these very smart people sharing their intelligent creativity, and their passion. Of course, I couldn't help but agree. As we say here at Pura, we don't sell holidays, we make them. We construct them by hand with the same intelligence, passion and creativity as these artisans.
Being a service business, there isn't a physical exchange of goods for us, but there most certainly is an emotional one. It makes it tough when things go wrong, but it makes it genuinely thrilling when they go as well as we want. Thankfully, because we work with intelligence and care, we exist almost all of the time with the positive.
Most tour operators work in a more traditional way than us, reselling pre-packaged holidays made by someone else, because it's easy, it's safe. But it excises any emotional involvement in the sale. How dull it must be to work without pride in your craft.
"So who buys hand made knives, or hand made holidays?" Ben summed it up neatly "They're just people who appreciate what I've made."
If you think you will appreciate the holidays we make, get in touch.