Little did I realise when I joined Toastmasters in 1986 that thirty years later I would be in the audience judging a contest in Warrington, Cheshire, or watching a master DTM in Berjaya Times Square coach young Toastmasters in the art of being a credible Emcee; or that I’d be invited to have coffee with the International President Elect in the finest hotel in Colombo; shop in the Souks of Dubai then have delicious snacks with a dynamic speaker whose husband is a pilot on my favourite airliner the A380.
To be in Kandy, SL and gaze admiringly at the rangers who care for orphan elephants and then watch fixated as the herd with their mahouts march down the elephant walk to the river to be bathed. Such gentle mammals, protected from the poachers who would slaughter them for their ivory tusks.
And then, the highlight of spending four hours in a private room drinking tea then having a full English breakfast with a World Champion of Public speaking, while we reminisced about one of the fabulous events held here in Melbourne at the Austin in June 2014.
When I joined Toastmasters all those years ago I did it for self improvement, and in the years that followed I quickly became imbued with the need to serve others as I’d served myself.
The world has changed a lot in thirty years and technology allows us to connect with people all over the world. I’m sure like me you have many, many Facebook friends and are LinkedIn to colleagues, take pictures on Instagram and send tweets on twitter. In fact we have more and more ways of connecting on line, and less and less time to connect physically.
Fortunately I’ve been able to Travel and in the recent past I enjoyed a 33 day trip to Malaysia, Dubai, UK and Sri Lanka. It was the trip of a lifetime, though it has given me the urge to do it all again in Feb/March next year, and then in July 2017 another big trip across USA culminating in attendance at the International Convention in Vancouver.
As I mentioned earlier technology allows us to connect with TM’s across the globe, though nothing beats meeting in person over tea or coffee, in the places where our TM friends live.
David Hughes DTM