Midweek Interview

Life in the time of COVID-19 with World Resorts of Distinction’s Tess Willcox

This week, we interviewed World Resorts of Distinction’s CEO, Tess Wilcox, to find out how she’s coping amid the corona-craziness.

What are you reading?

Make a Living, Living by Nina Karnikowski, Tales from the Roads Less Traveled by Pie Aerts and Celestine Prophecy by James Redfield (for the 100th time, but very apt at this time).

What are you watching?

Chef’s Table and Story of God (both on Netflix).

What are you listening to?

A deep eclectic mix of Ethiopian jazz, Ayub Ogada (Kenya) and French soundtracks.

What are you cooking?

My famous Moroccan chicken stew, Yotam Ottolenghi’s Tunisian chicken pie, and spicy shakshuka with halloumi.

How are you staying fit both physically and mentally?

I’m lucky enough to live right on the beach, so I meditate on the sand at sunrise, then spend an hour doing yoga and finish off my days with a sunset beach walk with a podcast backdrop.

Every few days, I will head out to the valley and do my secret bush walk whilst I embark on another Spanish lesson.

What’s the one thing keeping you sane?

Books, candles, red wine, and the view of the ocean. Oh, and FaceTime. God bless FaceTime!

What’s something positive you’ve witnessed or experienced since the coronavirus hit?

Slowing down. We aren’t often blessed with the time in this era to allow slowness and stillness. I have learnt to surrender to what is and bask in the privilege of having a home that I am safe in, an oven that cooks my meals, and putting pen to paper for a lot of the day.

There is such a resurgence of people getting back to their roots – baking bread, spending time with their families, reading books. The ability to let our planet breathe for a couple of months is not a benefit that is lost on me.

What have you learned about yourself amid the crisis?

That I am more resilient than what I gave myself credit for, and that I find a lot of beauty in stillness. I’ve been travelling non-stop for 15 years, so an invitation to slow down has been extremely self-reflective for me.

Also, after this is over, and our world finds a new normal, that my efforts in campaigning for conscious travel will be more essential than ever before.

What’s your advice for others in the travel industry on coping with the crisis?

Sit in grace (after you’ve allowed yourself the freefall into despair). It’s difficult when you watch everything you’ve built all but collapse overnight, but as an industry, we have weathered many storms together, and this one will be no different.

Use the time to slow down, to plan, to recalibrate and decipher where you want your mark in this world to be made. If you weren’t on the right path previously, you are definitely being given the opportunity to find it.


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