Skip to site content
The Group Travel Leader Small Market Meetings Going on Faith

Creating life-changing trips

In Awe of the Ocean
As Shelly Tate recalled, bank directors need not go to exotic overseas destinations to have their most memorable experiences. The director of the Distinguished Citizens Club at Chillicothe State Bank in Chillicothe, Missouri, was touring Georgia with a group when she had an idea that would take them off their scheduled itinerary.

“Keep in mind that we live in land-locked Missouri, and many of these folks had never been in this coastal part of the country,” Tate said. “So without telling them why, while on the tour, I asked if they would mind getting up an hour early the next day, and everyone, enthusiastic about a surprise, agreed.

“In the morning, we drove directly to the Atlantic Ocean, parked the motorcoach, and our members got out and stared in awe. Most had never seen the ocean. On this beautiful day, we walked on the beach, dipped our toes in the water, and can I tell you that while that trip had so many terrific attractions, the majority said that their favorite moment was ‘going to the ocean.’

“It was a jewel — it was something on their bucket lists — and it may be the one and only time many of these people will ever see and experience that magnificent sight that others take for granted.

“I describe it as a trip of a lifetime.”

Gifts From the Soul
Our time in the Dominican Republic, originally planned to be simply a frivolous beach vacation, turned out anything but frivolous. David, with his love of Spanish, combined with the warmth and humor of the natives, was forever changed.

“Da-veed! Da-veed!” was a common chorus throughout our resort from his newfound friends. On our last day, waiters, beach vendors and groundskeepers, most who lived in the humble communities we had visited on our four-wheeler, made sure they tracked down the man who had delighted in speaking to them in their native tongue. Eager to give him something to remember them by, they gave him at least a dozen bear hugs, a tattered baseball cap, a hand-woven bracelet and a chipped coffee cup — all destined to become treasures of David’s lifetime.

But there was more. We were packing to leave when the woman who had cleaned our room knocked on the door and proudly handed David a gift bag. Inside was part of a desk set, one of those wooden blocks with the gold cylinder that is meant to hold a pen — except, there was no pen. Attached was a note that when translated to English read, “Only once in a lifetime do we meet someone like you.”

David choked back his tears and told this generous woman in Spanish, “No, it is only once in a lifetime do we meet someone like you.”

Now, it was my turn to cry.