I know my blog usually comes out on Friday, but it was a long day – starting with an early-morning meeting in Minnesota, followed by a late-morning meeting in Kampala, the capital of Uganda, and an evening meeting in Lima, Peru, my first-ever visit to South America. That meeting lasted until about 10:30, and by that time I was ready for bed. I felt like I had a good case of jet lag, although I never once set foot outside of my house. Not even onto the back deck.
Saturday was almost as busy, with several several-hour meetings. The first one was in Georgia, starting at 9 a.m., and the last one in California, ending at midnight. Even though I was exhausted, I’d do it again in a heartbeat – although I did, reluctantly, pass on an invitation to be in Australia at 4 o’clock this morning.
Needless to say, none of these trips involved any actual travel. During the past month, I’ve been visiting other Toastmasters clubs around the world, along with a small but growing group of friends. Since Toastmasters is an international organization, and since everyone in the world has been affected by the coronavirus, most clubs are meeting via Zoom or other online platforms.
So far, I’ve been to six different states, two Canadian provinces, and fifteen countries, and it’s been an exciting and educational experience in more ways than I could ever have imagined. For one thing, not only am I meeting people in the countries I’m visiting, but I’m meeting people from other countries who are visiting those clubs at the same time I am. And, at this time when we’re still socially distancing and avoiding close contact with the family, friends, and neighbors we would usually see on a regular basis, it feels really good to be getting closer – figuratively if not literally – with the small group I am traveling with. Especially the friend who makes most of the contacts and arrangements for our visits, so all the rest of us need to do is respond to her emails that say things like, “How about Sri Lanka at 5 a.m. on Saturday?” Or, “There’s a club in Romania that sounds like it would be fun to visit.” (Side note: It was.)
I’m sure I’ll collect many memories and stories by the time the pandemic is under control and we can all go back to meeting in person. Until then, I’m enjoying traveling the world virtually, and spending time with people I could never have imagined meeting just a few short months ago.
By the way, all Toastmasters clubs welcome guests. If you’d like to visit mine, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ll send you details about when we meet, and how to access our meeting via Zoom. And if you decide that you, too, would like to start traveling the world from the safety and comfort of your own home, we can go from there.
July 12, 2020
©Betty Liedtke, 2020
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