A Message From the President

2017… aanother glorious year for new travel adventures! My December message highlighted my adventures traveling through Central America in 1992, a time when travel warnings were, “The Department of State continues to warn U.S. citizens that the level of kidnapping, crime, and violence remain critically high.”

Continuing our travels on a local bus in El Salvador, after surviving being stopped by AK-47 armed militia and then marched back on the bus with no incidents, we reached San Salvador. Deciding a seaside respite was in order, we thought the Costa del Sol would be perfect. We found a driver and negotiated a fare and paid.

Following him to his vehicle, he motioned for us to hop in the back of his dilapidated truck. He and his companion jumped into the cab and off we went. I quietly whispered to my husband, Charlie, “we are smarter than this.”

Without incident we reached our hotel and the truck sped away. Scanning the area
we observed an adequate resort, swimming pool, and beach, so we checked in at the reception desk. The desk clerk escorted us to our room. After dropping off our bags we were ready for a seaside dinner. Arriving in the dining room, the receptionist who registered us, greeted us for dinner, took our order, cooked our order, served and cleared our table, and delivered our check. And… we were the only guests at dinner and soon realized we were the only guests at the resort. We returned to our room, secured all locks and moved all furniture in front of our door, and anticipated the early morning bus back to San Salvador.

After visiting significant sights including the Metropolitan Cathedral, National Palace, and El Rosario Church, our next travels would be Nicaragua by local bus. The morning bus departed at 4a.m., so we decided to get a $10 room at the bus station for convenience. As TCC members we want to experience the culture, right? So we did—in spades—all the drunks up and down the hall, all night.

After no sleep we boarded the bus and headed out with the locals. Charlie immediately fell asleep and I was on watch. Suddenly I realized our bus was traveling over a very wide river on the railroad trestle bridge because the highway bridge had collapsed. Not wanting to die alone, I awakened Charlie from his sleep to die with me.

Obviously we did not die and arrived in Managua, Nicaragua. Known as the country of lakes and volcanoes, we immediately experienced the ashes and gas from the simmering volcanoes. That was our clue—time to go home.

We had defied the warnings, and survived Central America travel in 1992. We had seen the culture up close and personal and would have many memories and stories to tell. We had bonded through adversity. And still there is no place like home and coming back to your own familiar bed.


“You’ll learn, as you get older, that rules are made to be broken. Be bold enough to live life on your terms, and never, ever apologize for it. Go against the grain, refuse to conform, take the road less traveled instead of the well-beaten path. Laugh in the face of adversity, and leap before you look. Dance as though EVERYBODY is watching. March to the beat of your own drummer. And stubbornly refuse to fit in.”
Mandy Hale

“Everyone wants to ride with you in the limo, but what you want is someone who will take the bus with you when the limo breaks down.”
Oprah Winfrey