We just got back from our company trip to Armenia and I finished culling and editing the photos in Yerevan Airport but reflecting and writing down about the trip took the backseat since we had to catch up with the client deadlines. Besides a mountain of laundry, we brought home wonderful memories that we will cherish forever.
Three years ago, we took our team to Tbilisi, Georgia to celebrate our 10th anniversary. People who read about it lauded the company but for us, it was God who made it possible, and He deserves all praise. We did not plan for our company trip to Armenia but ever since our Tbilisi trip three years ago, I have always wanted to take another trip with the team. We prayed for it, hoping it will be the will of God for us to travel soon. It was an amazing surprise and blessing when it happened this early!
God made it possible
We never made our numbers since after COVID. The deficit was great but making it through that period without the company terminating a single employee due to having no income was a miracle. We emerged through that painful period with a growing team. We are truly grateful to the team members who stuck with us through thick or thin. Despite not reaching our financial targets, most of the team members who went on our Tbilisi trip have left the company, and some members are very new, giving the gift of travel to my team is my little way of paying it forward.
God has been so good sustaining the company and helping The MelRish Studio weather the storm, taking the team on a company trip to Armenia to experience snow and winter is our tiny way of giving thanks.
We planned to take a trip during the low season (Ramadan or summer) but experiencing snow, especially for us who work in the Middle East, is quite a treat. We saw a window and booked our flights immediately two weeks before the actual trip. We had to turn down some events and closed shop for four days to make it possible. Special thanks to Huzefa of Highflyer Travel and Tourism for helping us secure our flights, visas, and transfers.
4 am 5th March
We gathered and met at the studio where the bus picked us up to take us to Sharjah airport. Air Arabia flew us to Yerevan where it was a chilly 6 degrees Celsius when we arrived. A bus transported us to our cottages in Tsaghkador where we stayed with Everest Rest House. We all never had experienced that cold of a temperature before and adjusting to the weather was hard at first.
We brought some cup noodles, rice, and canned goods to save on cost as the accommodation had cooking facilities. Food is generally cheap in Armenia but we just enjoyed cooking and gathering together each night.
Ropeway Tsaghkador was on our itinerary for the next day. Again, some of us were not able to bear the cold and we were not able to reach the summit. I had four layers of thick clothing but I still could not last 30 minutes outdoors.
Our group of seventeen enjoyed the city tour in Yerevan even though most museums were closed. Walking on the streets and experiencing the culture and people was more than enough for us. Sonig, our tour guide, was helpful and shared as much information as she can. We spent our last night in Armenia in Ani Grand Hotel where we had a great breakfast the next day
Time flies when you’re having fun. The trip was short but I enjoyed every moment of it. I hope my team felt the same. We needed to fly back to the sandpit just when our bodies have finally adjusted to the cold. Lol!
I look back at these photos and see the smiles on our teams’ faces. For me, this is enough. Will treating the team to company trips like this guarantee that they will never leave the company? No. Is the investment worth it? I am not looking for something in return. Some will find value in the trip but some will feel entitled. All I pray for is that they found God in the places we went to, the people we met, and in this incentive as our way to pay it forward.
Next month in April, we celebrate 13 years of storytelling. We can consider our company trip to Armenia is our advanced celebration. We will continue to work hard telling more stories and we will continue to pray for our team.
To those who have been praying for us and with us, we are grateful for you.