May 24, 2012
A cloudy, rainy day at JFK as our excited clients drifted in to gate 3 for the Austrian flight to Vienna and then to Kharkov. However, once we all gather at the hotel on the 25th, we will number 25 including John Adams, Ken Agee, Bud Patterson and yours truly. It is sure to be a tour to remember.
I always enjoy the interaction of all the clients upon first meeting. As individuals, they could not be more different – ages, occupations, home town and life circumstance. Yet, since the mission is identical, bonding occurs very quickly. The mood is heightened once stories begin to circulate among those who have traveled before and those who are on their maiden voyage. Questions abound and answers and opinions given.
I am reminded of returning from the Kiev tour in February. We were picking up our luggage at the same airport when my friend, Paul gave me a hug and said, “We came as strangers and leave as brothers”. This is exactly what happens each time. So what is it that binds us together? We have all dreamed, some for years, to travel over the sea to hope to find love. It is this belief that there is someone special waiting thousands of miles away to share a smile and a loving gaze to change one’s life forever that drives these men of good will to invest precious time and treasure.
So, now we all sit on a comfortable Austrian flight dreaming and hoping, many totally unaware of the fun and possibility that awaits all of us in the Ukraine – a land blessed with beautiful women who long for a sincere, loving relationship.
It is amazing that these women are willing to leave their family, friends, occupations and belongings to travel to a foreign country with a man with whom they have fallen in love. However, this scenario has occurred thousands of times in the past with overwhelming success. I sometimes wonder if the men would be willing to do the same if the situation where reversed? Interesting.
Well, having the benefit of enjoying several tours as a client and a leader, I know what awaits them and it makes me smile. I think of the joy in the faces of the clients who met that special lady and fell in love. I am eager to see how this plays out for these twenty two courageous men. I know that for each man who has taken this giant step toward happiness, there are thousands who unfortunately will never follow. Such a pity.
It is interesting that I have been party to two other tours when a film crew accompanied us. I have also viewed many other attempts to document what we do to varying degrees of success. Since we are dealing with human beings and relationships, there will, of course, be joy, heartache, the encouragement of future promise and occasional dejection. This is the nature of matters of the heart, no matter where it occurs.
And so now we sleep and dream at 600 miles per hour. We will awake in Vienna and there will be much more to our story.