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President's Message for July

Jackie Portman
As I’m composing this month’s communication with you, I’ve just received an email from a friend posting the new Coronavirus edict from the County of San Diego. Sigh. The pandemic is getting worse instead of better. So, instead of my announcing it may be safe enough for us to gather at a park with 6 feet of social distancing, I instead must encourage all of us to be safe and be patient. But we can still be creative and stay in touch! Thanks to Tom, 14 members of our club “Zoom”ed together, enjoying Tom's professional "Bingo Banter" as they vied to win gift cards. We raised $80 for FFI playing Corona Cruise Bingo on June 20. Tom has another game up his sleeve for August 1, a home scavenger hunt, (also on Zoom). I can’t wait to go running around my house looking for a Friendship Force pin from 2017! In addition, we will be hosting our club’s first Zoom General Meeting on July 18 at 1:45. I’ll give some updates and then Sue P. will present our September, 2019 journey to Flathead Valley, Montana. Don’t forget we are also moving forward with planning our 2021 journeys. Want to be involved? We are looking for JCs and committee members, (see benefits/skills next page). I find this time of non-travel a chance to reflect on why I enjoy traveling so much. As I was cleaning out my garage, I came upon a much-loved but lost article, “Why We Travel,” by Pico Iyer. As I reread it, I remembered its meaningful words. Here are a few excerpts that resonate with me that I’d like to share with you. “We travel, initially, to lose ourselves, and we travel, next, to find ourselves. We travel to open our hearts and eyes and learn more about the world than our newspapers will accommodate. The first great joy of travelling is simply the luxury of leaving all my beliefs and certainties at home and seeing everything I thought I knew in a different light – and from a crooked angle. In that regard, even a Kentucky Fried Chicken outlet (in Beijing) can be both a novelty and a revelation. In China, after all, people will pay a whole week’s wages to eat with the Colonel. We come to see how much we can bring to the places we visit – how much we can become a kind of carrier pigeon in transporting back and forth what every culture needs. I invariably travel to Cuba with a suitcase piled high with bottles of Tylenol and bars of soap and come home with salsa tapes, and hopes, and letters to long-lost brothers. But more significantly, we carry values and beliefs and news to the places we go. We have heard the old Proust line that the real voyage of discovery consists in not seeing new places but in seeing with new eyes. …One of the subtler beauties of travel is that it enables you to bring new eyes to the people you encounter. You can teach them what they have to celebrate as much as you celebrate what they have to teach. “ Even those who don’t move around the world, find the world moving around them. Walk just six blocks in Queens or Berkeley and you’re traveling through several cultures in as many minutes. (In addition), we travel when we see a movie, or strike up a new friendship. Novels are often journeys, and travel, then, is a voyage into the imagination.” While we wait to get on the road again, enjoy your stay-at-home traveling. Stay healthy & connected.