VOM Rotary: Hit the Road Jack

Oakmont Rotary Club
  • John Brodey

You either love travel or you don’t. For those of us who do, it’s an addiction. I develop restless body syndrome if I’ve gone more than three months without getting on a plane. Since 1956 I’ve racked up around 3 million miles in the air which, if you’re keeping score at home, is six round trips to the moon. The plane ride ain’t what it used to be but the experiences are more exciting than ever and we have unlimited choices: adventure travel, cultural tourism, culinary workshops, diving expeditions and the South pole. But as we now know, with age comes wisdom and a body that screams ‘what were you thinking’? There are daunting challenges.

So, it was with interest that I read a recent article titled; “Seven Travel Tips for Seniors”. I thought I’d pick up some helpful info such as; there’s a universal word for ‘diarrhea’ or just yelling what you want to say doesn’t make it more understandable to someone who doesn’t speak English. My wife Cristie has a trick for finding the best restaurants in a foreign city. I hide in the shadows while she hits the street, selects a professional looking young man and in the ‘sweetest’ way possible, asks what’s his favorite restaurant. It never fails. But instead, the article mentions a few obvious things, e.g., seek out deals/packages, pack light, stay healthy/active , etc. But they also stressed pursuing your interests because no matter how offbeat they might be (Buddhist Iconography), there is a trip waiting for you.

Our members here at the VOM Rotary are often on their way somewhere or, in the case of Maureen McGettigan, just coming back from a photographic tour in Sri Lanka just weeks before the tragic bombings. She is a prize-winning photographer and she shared some beautiful pictures. The one travel tip, though, that struck a chord talked about using one’s skills to help communities that are looking for volunteers. Why not have a different kind of travel experience? One that is positive, intimate and fulfilling. Of course, I began thinking about all the things that Rotary International does around the world. But it was interesting to see that now concept expanded. Many Rotarians make yearly pilgrimages to help villages around the world gain access to drinking water, establish schools or healthcare facilities. The needs are great and this kind of giving back represents the purest spirit of what travel is all about; making

friends and having a positive impact on the lives of those you meet. It turns out that Rotary may be the best travel agent in the world. Through our 1200 clubs, I have developed some long-distance friendships and have standing invitations to come visit Siberia and Hyderabad, India. It will feel like visiting family and as any traveler knows, nothing comes close to seeing a place through the eyes of a local. And the bonus for Cristie is that her street walking days could be numbered.

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