By Len Friesen, Tour Leader
Thursday, 4 October 2018.
A final blog entry for TourMagination’s Russia and Ukraine Tours, 2018
I’m writing this from my home, which means that the wonderful Russia-extension to the equally wonderful Ukraine 2018 trip is at an end. Most of us are back home by now, except for Bill who was bound for Novosibirsk after Moscow as his most wonderful family odyssey continued. And though I am back and had my debriefing with Audrey, this trip continues to linger. I suppose most recent trips have.
Garen captured it best in an e-mail he wrote to me after he arrived home in Oklahoma. He began: “Hello Len. I feel like I should be able to look around and see members of our group close by.”
Those words made me think of Fritz, who travelled a few years ago with Mary and me to Russia and Ukraine. Fritz took countless pictures, and months after his return he was still going through them, editing them, culling out others, and so on. Fritz would say with a smile: “I relive the trip every time I look at those photos, Len. It gets cheaper all the time!”
And then there was the e-mail I received a couple of days ago from Anne, who had been part of a most excellent family unit that had previously travelled with me to Russia and Ukraine, and more recently to South Africa in August of this year. The note was about a possible get-together in the Niagara region over the next month or two. Or another e-mail from Neil and Edith of that same South African trip while I was still in St. Petersburg, and who shared photos of our August travels to a distant land.
And my point is? It is this: maybe the places we visit are only the 2nd or 3rd most important thing that happens when you go abroad with Audrey’s company. After all, you can travel and see new places with any tour company. But I now wonder if the most important aspect of TourMagination travel is that the people we encounter in this shared community of faith and/or culture and/or belonging stay with us long after the trip ends. These friendships, once formed in the intensity of travel abroad, stay with us. We want them to stay.
So good-bye to the good people of TourMagination’s Ukraine 2018 and Russian extension. And long live the memories of a wonderful time together.