The topic of COVID-crucified travel has come up a lot these past few years, both on the blog and off. But travel wasn’t the only—or even the first—pandemic-related casualty in our house. With great reluctance, we had to pull the plug on our Travel Bucket List Party & Fundraiser.

Just ten weeks earlier on a plane from Cambodia, unaware of the horrific jet lag that was about to pummel us, the husband and I pondered how to help the demining efforts we’d learned about at Siem Reap’s moving Landmine Museum. Tossing ideas around, we landed on hosting a travel-themed fundraiser. Once the Time Zone Torpor finally subsided, we got to work planning, prepping, and inviting.

And then . . . 

Such a bummer

But this past spring, with COVID expected to be in retreat in the Midwestern states all summer, we began to resurrect the idea of holding the party. And at long last—after weeks of baking, concocting, creating, decorating, shopping, borrowing, and renting—we finally made good on those plans. I genuinely wish I could have invited all my blog buddies, but since that’s ridiculous, I’ll give you a virtual tour.

To get people talking, we hatched the idea of “Mingle Trivia,” which involved assigning each guest a wine glass bearing a travel-themed trivia question.

With a wine glass, a trivia answer book, and a plate of food, it was a lot to juggle, but our guests are nothing if not talented and managed it all without incident.

The name tags also encouraged conversation. They read, “Ask me about my trip to _______” and the guests inserted a past or future travel destination.

A big draw was the many-flavored Gin & Tonic Bar. The husband—a potion-master (chemist) by trade—enjoys mixology and got to show off his infusions to a thirsty crowd.

My own contribution was 80 gallons worth of rum punch, but I couldn’t compete with his ten unique gin flavors.

I even made a fruit-studded ice ring, but no one noticed . . . so I took the only reasonable course of action and drank it all myself.

But I did have something the Ginmaster didn’t have:

Designated “The Little Whizzer,” it’s actual name became the final trivia question.

To soak up all that alcohol, we also provided food.

Our homemade hors d’oeuvres were followed by a variety of Asian noodle dishes from Noodles & Co.

We’d solicited area businesses for donations that we used as trivia prizes.

Several gift cards and other items were on offer.
The husband donated a pan of his BBQ pork and I did the same with an extra Jamaican Rum Cake I’d made.

But the biggest donation came from Solgaard®, the luggage company I gushed about here . . .

. . . which donated both a Check-In Closet and a Carry-On Closet Plus! With a combined value of $650, this immediately generated a new feature for the party: a mini silent auction.

I love this company so much I invested in it.

So people ate and drank and bid and talked travel and answered trivia questions.

Until it was time for Desserts From Around the World (which, in my “like a chicken with her head cut off” hosting manner, I forgot to take proper pictures of) . . .

. . . followed by a short speech from the husband about The Landmine Relief Fund‘s  demining mission as well as a heartfelt thank you to our generous guests and the businesses that contributed. Then came the revealing of trivia answers, the determining of winners, and the choosing of prizes.

And then, just like that, it was all over. 

The guests collected their baggage . . . 

Goody bags!

. . . the food was brought inside, one cat snuck the food and got diarrhea for three days, the decorations were taken down, tables disassembled, rentals returned, and The Little Whizzer was cleaned and put away, eagerly awaiting his next chance to urinate in public.

Making The Belgians proud.

But this wasn’t just a travel-themed party; it was a fundraiser.  We are happy to report that our generous friends, family, and neighbors, including several who had to decline the invitation but still donated, as well as—get this—our electrician, who was doing some work in our house, learned why the dining room looked like an explosion in a party favor factory, and immediately put $50 cash into the husband’s hand—nearly doubled our hoped-for fundraising goal. In all, we raised $1,955 for The Landmine Relief Fund.

It is our hope that one day this nonprofit foundation won’t even need to exist.

43 thoughts

  1. What’s the saying? “No good deed goes unpunished?” Hence, the cat diarrhea. But I guess it stands to reason given how good of a deed it was! You guys are incredibly talented and creative and it’s nice to see all that skill invested in a good cause. Nice work!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much. It could be a regular thing, except for the fact that I vowed never to do it again because it was so much work – haha. But actually, I couldn’t help coming up with some ideas for a strictly British-themed party, so we’ll see… The hardest part was soliciting businesses. It was a lot of work and quite disheartening. Such a large proportion of the requests I made were ignored. I understand that not everyone can give, but I didn’t think it would be so few relative to the number of requests I made. I’m not sure I’m up for that again. If we did something again it would probably be things/gift cards we purchase as prizes.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This looks like so much fun! Wish that I could’ve been there in person to participate: the double-decker bus Hershey’s are SO cute! And I would’ve loved to have stolen a baklava (or two). You raised a solid amount, and it’s definitely going to a great cause!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! It was my first time making baklava and I was a little nervous because of working with phyllo dough, but it actually wasn’t bad at all. I’ll definitely be making it again in the future. I plan on making all the desserts into Travel Inspired Baking posts, but technically I can’t do it with the Baklava because I haven’t been to Greece. I’ll have to check with the Blog Boss (me) to see if she’ll look the other way on that one. Or maybe I should just go to Greece – haha.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’ve made baklava before, but I’ve only used pre-made phyllo dough. Saves a lot of time and effort as opposed to making the dough from scratch! Otherwise, I’ll just head to my nearby Greek/Mediterranean café to grab a slice (or ten) to-go, if I’m feeling lazy, haha.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. This looks like so much FUN! A great cause and the right atmosphere to get people in the mood to help and talk and eat. I don’t much like gin, but even I would have to try some of those drinks.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Whoa, you guys sure know how to throw a party. Gotta admit I clicked because I saw a Malaysian flag. Clickbait! 😛

    I love the attention to detail you put into the party, and the cause you did it for. Throwing a party is a skill, and it seems like you and the husband are black belts at it. What a wonderful post. Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Such is my ignorance of flags of the world that I didn’t realize that was on the photo! Actually, the string of flags had 100-some and there were so many we couldn’t identify. One of my many personal failings.
      Thanks for the compliments and I love the karate analogy. It’s not often I’m an instant black belt at something, so I’ll take it!

      Liked by 1 person

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