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 . . .
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.
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.
But I did have something the Ginmaster didn’t have:
To soak up all that alcohol, we also provided food.
We’d solicited area businesses for donations that we used as trivia prizes.
But the biggest donation came from Solgaard®, the luggage company I gushed about here . . .
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. . . 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.
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 . . .
. . . 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.
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.