Do you enjoy travelling and meeting others?
The International Travel and Hosting Fellowship exists to promote and facilitate regional, national and international "connections" between its members. ITHF members travel to all different parts of the world and host members from all other parts. Members' lives are enriched by these connections and cross cultural exchanges.
That’s the elevator speech you find on ITHF.org, and here’s what those words mean in application. Jim and I joined ITHF 6 years ago ...
Jim and I joined ITHF 6 years ago on our first trip to New Zealand from the state of Washington in the U.S. My husband was a wee bit sceptical when I told him we were going to be staying with folks we had never met, but I drug him along. Our first stop was in Tauranga and David and Beverly Garland’s lovely home. They met us in the drive, and we quickly had a glass of wine in our hands, and a printed program of what we would be enjoying during our few days with them (pictured at dinner above). It included a wonderful walking tour of Tauranga, a visit to a Kiwi farm, and a couple of yummy BBQs. What a great introduction to ITHF!
We enjoyed visits with four other Rotarians during that trip, and we were hooked. Since enjoying Kiwi hospitality seeking out Rotarians is the first step when we plan a trip.
Each visit reveals things we never would have found from a hotel or tour boat: In Manningtree, England we toured a 100+ year old nursery with our hosts (Terry and Pauline Dean), and learned many trade secrets that make our own gardens beautiful. Our travels to British Columbia included a visit to a handicapped accessible playground that the local club built, and we saw it actively used. What a difference to their community! Rotary club members joined us for a pizza picnic by the pond on the beautiful property of our hosts (Chip and Karen Ross). Before the International Convention in Australia we were hosted by five Rotary families along the southern coast and in north and south Tasmania. We stayed with Trevor Canning on his wheat farm outside of Perth, and recovered from our jetlag while learning about the ag industry of Australia. We also learned to geocache from Peter and Helen Downes, and we now have over 400 ‘finds’. In Scotland we had a wonderful day trip to Loch Lomond with our hosts (Alistair and Margaret Marquis), and had a delightful evening with their Rotary Club. Our Netherlands hosts (Carla and Peter Kuipers) welcomed us to their exquisite and very old B&B spa, and rode bikes with us through the heather fields and forests. We shared a wonderful BBQ with their club.
Our own country has adventures waiting as well: We floated on an 80’ houseboat in the middle of Kentucky (Tom and Marilyln Cros), celebrated Mardi Gras near New Orleans (Sharron and Bill Newton), had a taste of Gainesville, FL with a day of marvellous highlights led by our personal tour guides (Bob and Karen Robar), and golfed with hosts from west to east. In Connecticut I discovered that our host (Karen Bradshaw) went to the same schools as I did in Ohio, just a year ahead of me.
At each stop, if there is a Rotary meeting, we go. It is truly amazing the things to be learned from visiting other clubs, and the connections to be made. We steal ideas everywhere we go, and take them home to our own clubs. We have Rotary connections across the world, and our lives are richer for it. And I no longer have to drag Jim to home stays....it is his favourite part of travelling.
Come to our place in the southeast corner of Washington in the U.S., and we will wine and dine you. We’ll treat you to lovely picnics on the patio, bonfires in the backyard, wine tasting at gazillions of local wineries, golf at any of our local courses, fishing on the Columbia River, hikes up the small mountain next to our neighbourhood, exploration of small interesting communities that surround us, or whatever else might interest you.
But first you must joint ITHF. Go to ITHF.org. A small registration fee gets you in. Let me know when you join by sending a note to firstname.lastname@example.org. See you soon!