The Evergreen B&B Club is a world wide network… an international community of like-minded individuals who love travel and meeting new people. For 36 years the slogan of the Evergreen Club has been “adventures in hospitality.” Along with its new tagline “Make friends. Host well. Travel savvy,” it leads one to say: “Where shall we travel next?” Think of all the amazing places and incredible people out there and the adventures and friendships waiting to happen!“There are no strangers here; only friends you haven’t yet met.” -- William Butler Yeats
So where are these incredible people? Everywhere! All around the world!
Did you know that the Evergreen Club has members in…
PUERTO RICO, US
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
...And more! The membership of the Evergreen Club is growing every day as more and more people learn about this wonderful way to travel, meet new friends, and express ageless activity.“Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer.” -- Unknown
When I think about some of my most vivid, rich, life-changing memories, my time overseas is what comes to mind. The spirit of genuine hospitality, accompanied by the adventure of seeing and experiencing new things is what makes a truly memorable holiday / trip.
Would you like to hear a story about genuine hospitality?
When I was in college, I had the privilege to travel abroad and spend two months in Turkey and Greece. It was the kind of trip that leaves a lasting impression and I think of it often.
The Mediterranean is home to some of the most fascinating ancient artwork, history, and Biblical landmarks. The focus of my college abroad was art, architecture, and art history.
Our group had a two week stay in the Turkish village of Priene. It’s on the far western side of Turkey, just over the escarpment from the Aegean Sea. Priene is a tiny, rural town with a population of less than 5,000. It's marked in red on the map below.
There was one restaurant.
It served whole fish, with eyes and a toothy grin burnt in place. One evening at dinner I got up to use the restroom and before I had walked 3 paces, a stray cat had leapt onto the table and escaped with my fish dinner triumphantly hanging from his mouth. That was the last time I left my seat in the middle of a meal.
I saw a rock turn into an elephant.
It was at an onyx factory. By factory, I actually mean that it was one guy in a tent. The tent was held up with wooden beams that looked like small trees that had the branches removed. It was large enough to have piles of unhewn blocks of onyx, and spinning wheels (like great sanding stones), buckets of water, and shelves full of this artist’s creations.
I watched the man take a chunk of rough black onyx in his hand and it became a small stone elephant before my eyes. It was like magic. He was so skilled and so fearless. He just pressed the stone to the spinning grinder and the little form emerged. Polished and perfect. He had drawn nothing, planned nothing. But the lines on his forehead and the scars on his hands said that he had been doing this a good long time, had learned a lot, and he no longer needed blueprints. He knew what he was doing. It was beautiful.
One day, two of my classmates and I were outside, sketching.
If you’re into drawing / sketching, or any craft really, you know that once you get into “the zone,” time can just fly by! We had been out all day and it was very hot. We were also hungry.
Although we didn’t say anything, a dear woman in the town perceived that it had been a long day for us. We had been drawing the buildings and trees in the same area as her house. I guess she had seen us out there all day working on our sunburns.
With a wave of her hand, she invited us to come over. We didn’t want to impose, but also didn’t know to politely decline in Turkish, so we went. From what I remember, she lived in a pink plaster house that looked very old. We didn’t go into the house. Instead, she lead us to the side of the house, which opened into her back yard.
As we stepped through the large wooden gate, the sun shone in my eyes making the edges of the scene melt into gold. It seemed that we were walking into an olive grove. The low trees with their thick, twisted trunks supported whispy limbs covered in leaves that glinted silver on one side.
On the grass under the olive trees was a small round wrought-iron table and three spindly chairs. The table was set - just for us - with a bowl of rice, some olives, and three little cups of hot apple tea. Honestly, I don’t remember what else because I was too overwhelmed with how beautiful it was. And more so, overwhelmed with the generosity of our host.
We enjoyed our home-made Turkish meal under the shade of the olive trees, taking care to not pinch one another in case this really was a dream.
From the looks of it, our host and her family didn’t have much. But that didn’t matter. She gave freely and expressed the most genuine hospitality to us… complete strangers. We didn’t speak any Turkish except “thank you” (“Teşekkür ederim” = Teşekkür, means “thankfulness.” After this comes ederim, meaning “give”) which we said repeatedly, but it still somehow didn’t seem like enough.
My classmate happened to have a camera with her. She offered to take a photo of the woman and her family, to which they agreed.
Our professor had a little portable printer that he somehow crammed into the limited space of his pack. We printed the photograph that night and delivered it to them the next morning as a token of our thanks. It was heartwarming to say the least. It was perhaps the only family photo they had.
I’ll always remember that sweet exchange. We didn’t have to speak a word of the same language, but the sense of generosity and good will was felt by all. This was hospitality at its finest.“Travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living.” – Miriam Beard
My hopes are that this spirit of "adventures in hospitality" continues in the interactions of the Evergreen Club members, and that this radiates outward into communities to build fellowship across borders.
Genuine hospitality is a special thing. Host like you mean it. Travel like you mean it. It’s a beautiful world full of beautiful people that are ready to experience the joy of genuine hospitality. Get out there and go see those wonderful places that you’ve always wanted to see!
Make friends. Host well. Travel savvy. I hope you're inspired to travel internationally / overseas / around the world and express this genuine hospitality.