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The Adventures of Flat Ash

Date: February 3, 2022 | By: Ashish Sanghrajka | Category: Travel Blog

Dear Advisor Partners,

Have you ever heard the phrase, you seem flat today? I heard it the first time about 12 years ago, again in the Fall of 2020, and recently in East Africa. I was told I looked flat, except it wasn’t really me, and what they saw actually was flat, Flat Ash that is. Yes you heard me, FLAT ASH. Now before you go making comparisons to that Flat Stanley, who is a hack by the way, I need to share the backstory on where Flat Ash came from.

Back in 2011, I was getting involved in this really cool initiative with Virtuoso, VCTA, meeting some amazing people that were joining the travel industry on the retail side. I was traveling with my partners in crime, Lesa Bain of Lindblad Expeditions and Don Martinson of Nat Hab, to Chicago for an amazing team building experience, made up of painting in Chicago, baking cookies in Atlanta, and karaoke on South Beach (don’t ask). Chicago and South Beach went flawlessly. Atlanta was missed as it overlapped with Diwali, a very important festival in my house. This is when a prototype of Flat Ash was born through the use cardboard and the creative mind of Lesa. Little did I know that in one evening, Flat Ash would have his forehead singed off in the oven. He was so traumatized, his hiatus was prolonged until November 2020.

I was all set to return to Egypt with some really amazing travel advisors. As a lesson to you about checking your passport validity, I failed the most basic travel professional test and was not able to fly. Frantically I called all the advisors to share the grim news. Who knew Sandy Staples would conspire to revive Flat Ash in ways I never imagined possible. It was so good that Flat Ash’s social media presence just took off. It all started with a sleep patch and his own seat on a Lufthansa flight to Cairo, and evolved into an Indiana Jones wannabe look, before being stuffed into a cup of falafel at one of my favorite restaurants in Cairo. I wish I could explain how or why, I just know it was entertaining. More importantly, the legend of Flat Ash grew. From a singed forehead to his own Instagram highlight reel.

It seemed Flat Ash was exhausted, until a few weeks ago, Lisa Freeburg revived him as he arrived to greet her and her family in Tanzania, Kenya, and Uganda. Once again, I just can’t understand how Flat Ash ended up on a paging board, on a lounge chair near a pool, and in one terrifying case, in the pilot’s seat of a Cessna 208 perched up against the throttle. One can only wonder where Flat Ash will end up next.

In all seriousness, a special thank you to Sandy Staples, Lesa Bain, and Lisa Freeburg, and all the amazing advisors and friends involved in each adventure that made Flat Ash happen. Start following the adventures of Flat Ash today!


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