It’s a lifelong promise and a legacy of value
One of the industries hardest hit in the wake of 9/11 was the travel industry. People everywhere, traumatized by the event and paralyzed by uncertainty and anxiety, cancelled existing plans and ceased planning new travels.
We understood: our main office is in New York and we shared the tremendous sorrow engulfing the city. But Sven Lindblad, our founder, president and leader in good times and bad, channeled his inner expedition leader and accepted the challenge posed by circumstances.
He acted on the basis of the two things he knew to be true: the healing power of nature would be our collective salvation. And that we, Lindblad Expeditions, served a vital role as a conduit between people and the remote, wild, and pristine places that offered hope and healing.
So, to encourage people to take advantage of the healing power of nature and take the leap of faith required for them to start traveling again, Sven sent a letter to guests in October 2001 containing this excerpt:
For more than forty years we’ve witnessed the tonic effect of wildness on the human spirit. When you travel with Lindblad Expeditions into the world’s unspoiled places—Antarctica, Baja, Costa Rica and Galápagos—you find that it refreshes the senses and clears the mind.
It’s revitalizing…and that is as necessary for organizations as it is for individuals. I will tell you honestly that our travel organization, alongside countless other businesses, is in need of a strong tonic as well. So I can tell you unabashedly that to begin traveling again, to return to the behaviors that we have long considered normal, will not only revitalize you…it will revitalize us as well. And it will make you a Friend for Life in my book.
What is a Friend for Life? It is a lifelong promise that I will never forget our simple exchange. It is a pledge that if you book by December 31, 2001 and travel with us between now and April 2002, I will return your act of friendship with a lifetime and legacy of value. As a Lindblad Friend for Life, you—and your family down through the generations—are entitled to…
The letter then details the benefits of the Friend for Life travel proram: the 10% off travel and shipboard purchases, the legacy rights, and the special opportunities that were then promised and have been consistently offered to Friends for Life.Everyone who responded to Sven’s invitation, and many did, remains a Friend for Life today. We honor the origin of those many individual Friend for Life decisions, as we cherish the relationship with our original Friends for Life. In the intervening years some others have been invited into the Friend for Life cohort, and if you are among the recently invited Friends, we offer you this origin story as a welcome.