Category Archives: Travel Tales

my least favorite airport

It’s now 0340. That’s early, even for me. I am up, however, because I have a 0540 flight from Lynchburg to Pittsburg. (Actually, I need to fly to Charlotte first, but the ugly reality is that I still have to be at the airport by 0430.)

This is one of the primary reasons that LYH is my least favorite airport. Don’t get me wrong. I definitely do not mind small airports. I love flying into dirt strips that don’t even have control towers. I do it all the time.

But in a city the size of Lynchburg it would be nice to have a legitimate airport. Our’s doesn’t even have a snack bar. I just flew into and out of Fort St. John, British Columbia a couple days ago. Even that tiny airport in the far north of Canada has a real (albeit small) cafe onsite.

To make matters worse, there is only a single destination you can reach from the Lynchburg airport. You can fly to Charlotte, North Carolina. That’s it. To get to any other destination one must first go to Charlotte where there’s a real airport, even if it is 200 miles in the wrong direction.

That’s why I am up yet again at 0330. Lynchburg really needs to get a decent airport.

 

“this is very good”

This past Wednesday I was privileged to join together with Stop Hunger Now international affiliate directors and over 1,000 HP employees in Kuala Lumpur as we packaged over 300,000 meals for the hungry. I left the event to catch my plane to China and on to Fort St. John, Canada to attend the Rotary District 5370 Conference here in Dawson Creek where I addressed the conference Friday morning.

Beginning Friday afternoon, the conference participants and the Dawson Creek community worked together to package over 286,000 Stop Hunger Now meals. What an honor it was to be a small part of such powerful events.

The packaging event with HP was a powerful demonstration of corporate social responsibility while the the Rotary packaging event illustrates the power of our partnerships with civic groups. Rotary District Governor Tim Schilds has a goal of District 5370 packaging a million meals this year. The district is off to a great start, and I am sure the goal will be reached.

During these two events participants worked together to provide over a half a million meals for hungry children around the world. As one couple from Poland attending the event here in Dawson Creek said to me, ‘This is very good. We need to do it more.”

I agree. Working together we are demonstrating that we can end hunger in our lifetime.

correction & apologies

In yesterday’s blog, Dawson’s Creek: Day 1, I committed a terrible error. I sincerely apologize.

It seems I didn’t know where in the world I am. My wife, however, was able to set me straight.

Dawson’s Creek is both the name and the fictional location for a television series. There is no Dawson’s Creek, Canada.

There is, however,  a Dawson Creek, Canada which is the location of Mile ! of the Alcan Highway. And that’s where this apology comes from this morning.

One thing I did get correct in yesterday’s post was that Winter is coming. Yesterday’s early morning rain turned to snow before we had to leave the hotel for the Rotary Conference. It snowed enough to cover the ground before it again reverted to a cold rain.

Winter is coming.

Dawson’s Creek: Day 1

The flight from Vancouver to Fort St. John yesterday afternoon lasted just over an hour. We flew over the Coastal Mountains, and I was throughly impressed with their beauty and the sheer ruggedness of the general terrain.

As we approached Fort St. John I could see that “Winter is Coming.” The entire area, as far as the eye could see, was swathed in brilliant yellow. A lot of the leaves are already gone, and one passenger shared with me that they have already had several small snows.

It is definitely a beautiful area, and the hour-long ride from Fort St. John to Dawson’s Creek allowed me to see that beauty up close. Right outside of Fort St. John I even spotted two Mule Deer feeding at the edge of a stand of Aspens.

After meeting the Rotary District Governor and his lovely wife, his son Scott was kind enough to bring me to my hotel. I’ll admit I was running on empty at that point so I ordered a delivery pizza (which was surprisingly tasty), and was in bed as quickly as possible.

This morning has dawned with a cold wind and rain. Winter is coming.

I am looking forward to presenting to the Plenary session of the Rotary Conference this morning. Then at 3 this afternoon we will have our first meal packaging shift. It’s going to be a great day in Dawson’s Creek.

Vancouver Layover

I have to admit that I am happy to be in Vancouver, even if it’s just a layover and even if it’s only for a few hours. I love Canada and Canadians and I always feel it is a treat to be in British Columbia.

My flight from Guangzhou arrived an hour and a half ago after a fairly smooth flight. I’ve just finished a delicious lunch of Halibut & Chips so I am feeling pretty good at the moment. Now I still have another hour or so before boarding a far shorter flight up to Fort St. John.

Once there I will be met by a Rotarian who will drive me the remaining hour or so up to Dawson’s Creek. While there I will make a Stop Hunger Now presentation and take part in packaging over 280,000 meals. It’s going to be fun.

 

Greetings from Guangzhou

Yesterday I had to leave Kuala Lumpur to continue my trip. I arrived here at my hotel in Guangzhou about midnight, on my way to Dawson’s Creek, Canada.

I wasn’t ready to leave Malaysia. Before I had to leave for the airport I had the opportunity to join my Stop Hunger Now colleagues from around the world in helping at a 300,000 meal packaging event hosted by HP. What a powerful testimony that almost a thousand HP employees joined together to help end the scourge of hunger.

It’s yet another sign pointing toward the growing global movement that will create a hunger-free world in our lifetime. What a true joy it was to be a part of the excitement and sense of accomplishment that was present during the event.

But, even though I wasn’t ready to leave Kuala Lumpur and all my friends and colleagues at our International Summit, I am pleased to be headed toward Canada. I will be addressing a Rotary District Conference that has already committed to packaging 1,000,000 Stop Hunger Now meals before next August. That’s no small thing.

During my time at the conference in Dawson’s Creek, we are scheduled to package a full 40 foot container which is 285,000 meals. It will be much cooler there, but we will be taking part in changing the world just as the employees have done in Kuala Lumpur.

Every day I see us drawing closer to ending hunger in our lifetime. You are a leader in that effort. Thanks for all you do to turn that vision into a reality.

 

celebrating the opportunity to change the world

Last Friday evening I was honored at a special Stop Hunger Now event in Raleigh. Even though I knew it was coming, the evening still was full of surprises. The evening celebrated my work with the poor and hungry which was humbling, but it was also an opportunity to celebrate what we have all been able to accomplish.

The evening and the event could not have been more wonderful. From the opening private reception through the evening’s program, to the reception afterward, every detail was as meaningful as it was professionally executed. (The only thing that could have made the evening better would have been not having to be at RDU at 0500 the following morning for my flight to Malaysia.)

Even though I do not like to be in the spotlight, the evening allowed me another opportunity to lift up the needs of the poor and hungry before a very special group of people.

The 200 or so folks in attendance were all friends, partners and supporters of Stop Hunger Now. And they are all special, not because they attended an event in my honor. They are special because they are true leaders in the global movement to end hunger in our lifetime. I just wish there would have been more time to visit with each person present.

I am soon starting yet another new path in my personal journey. But, I will never cease to be a champion for the least of these among us, and I will never cease working toward a world without hunger in my lifetime.

Friday evening’s celebration was  a testimony that we can change the world. Working together we are going to end hunger in our lifetime. The passion and commitment of those attending my legacy celebration will help make it happen.

 

SHN International Summit update

After just completing the first day of the 4 day international summit of Stop Hunger Now affiliates all I can say is I am too humbled for words. The commitment, the dedication, the passion, and the resourcefulness of our international folks has just blown me away. Stop Hunger Now is demonstrating that the global movement to end hunger is not only a reality, but it’s growing.

From the first SHN affiliate in South Africa to our newest in Peru, every director has shared their stories, and all of us here have been inspired, challenged and moved to tears hearing the struggles and successes that make up the work of ending hunger around the world. There are a lot of commonalities in the stories, and it has been a time rich in learning and sharing.

This afternoon we took time to relax a little and take it easy as we are all somewhat jet-lagged. We visited the Royal Selangor Petwer Factory, the Batu Caves , a Hindu Temple, and then had dinner at Malaysian Cultural Theater.

Tomorrow we will begin with a breakfast presentation on monitoring and assessment, then tour several distribution centers where Stop Hunger now meals are used to feed hungry children. We will end the day with a dinner in my honor.

It will be another full day, but one rich in learning and full of joyful celebration and fellowship. Tomorrow, I will try to share in more detail.