Business Or Pleasure


In most airports, travelers normally go through customs where they are ask for the reason of their trip.
Immigration officers often ask this universal question:
Are you here for… “Business or Pleasure”?

Almost all countries differentiate between a Business/Work Visa and a Travel/Pleasure Visa. When the Customs guy asks you for your statement of purpose, they cross check your passport for Business or Visa Travel.

My friend Dave is different. When asked if he is in the country for Business or Pleasure… he answers by saying: “I’m here for both”!

I met Dave a few years back and did help him with his online store site and social media marketing. This guy from New York earns a living by selling high-quality handmade decor products and imported crafts and artifacts.

Dave is not the typical trader where they buy an item for $ 1 dollar and sell it for $ 2 dollars.
He rigidly abided by the Fair Trade principles and worked closely with local producers in many countries to obtain the best products and craftsmanship to promote the well-being of their country’s culture.
Dave educates his customers in the United States on the tradition of his products. He ensures that his items will enhance their homes, provoke long discussion, and accentuate appreciation.

He never knew that this will be his profession in life.
He initially started just like you and me… travel to one country, take casual pictures, then go back home.
But he fell in love with each and every country that he traveled. Dave took time to know the people and their culture. And eventually being accustomed to the products that they are making. Thus, making him an expert in that field.

He began his travel in Africa. He spent 20 years going from one country to another then bringing the goodies back to New York.
I personally liked some of his precious items like the Malian Painted Wood Fish (Mali), the Sahara authoritative bracelet (Western Sahara), Rwanda bizarre arts (Rwanda), and the Koulango Water Pot (Côte d’Ivoire).
Each of this piece will be a fine addition to every home.

In the early 2000s, Dave decided to expand his traveling to Southeast Asia.
First was Vietnam, then our beautiful country… The Philippines.
His top of the line products from Vietnam is his 2000-year-old Dong Son Basin and the Contemporary Soapstone Boxes.
I remember Dave telling me a story where he collected, bought, begged, and even scavenged for antique hands that are cut off from the dissipated Saints figurines.
I asked him… “What are you gonna do with those”?
He said… “I don’t know, but they look really nice”!
I have to agree… it does look nice!

Then he came to the Philippines. He got our Cloth Pillows, Vine Baskets. and Abaca Rug just in time for the #NYNOW2018 event where most rich people go to buy their stuff to add to their collection.

Here is a guy who can afford to travel to a lot of countries, bring good stuff home, sells it and make a good profit, then he goes repeat the process again and again.
He also accumulates new friends from the places that he went. Whether they became his suppliers, business partners, or just simply a buddy that he can talk with… Dave has become fully integrated into the lives of each and every one of them.

We can be like Dave even here in our own country.
Travel to Batad then buy organic rice. Give the organic rice as a token of appreciation to your friend in Manila who owns a resort in Busuanga island.
Take multiple pictures of the island of Palawan then send it to your photographer/rancher friend in Masbate. Bring home quality beef from her farm and give it as a gift to anybody that you like.
Repeat the process again and again. And the next thing you know, you are living the life of Dave.
Enjoying the travel and meeting new friends along the way.

Business or Pleasure?
I don’t know why they have to take out one from it when each one is equally important to the other.
Our motto should be “Business AND Pleasure”! That is how we want it!

Written on March 15, 2019