Sue Fox didn’t have much time to travel as a single mother, so she’s making up for it now.
Fox created the Delmarva Bucket List Travel Club, a group that meets monthly at The Clubhouse at Baywood in Long Neck. With 80 to 90 members and a mailing list of more than 200, the group has quickly grown since its founding in 2016.
A retired college professor who taught history and American studies at Wesley College for 40 years, Fox used her experiences as a jumping-off point for the group. She became really interested in Irish history in her last 10 years at Wesley and took several trips with students to Ireland.
Fox has been to Ireland six times and to Italy seven times, Sicily and Spain twice, and England four times. That’s a selection of the adventures she and her husband Chet Long have been on since retirement.
“My husband always says I’ve never been to a place I don’t love,” she said.
At the meetings, held the second Wednesday of each month, members enjoy dinner before a presentation put together by one of the members. At the December meeting, Fox discussed Ireland and its history. It was an introduction to a trip members will take together in October.
While most members travel the world separately, there have been several group-sponsored trips over the years. In November 2017, members traveled together to Italy, touring Venice, Florence, Rome and many towns in between. In October, the group went to Bordeaux, France, for a river cruise. Future trips are also in the works to Croatia, the Rhone River and the Danube River.
Most months, the presentation features photographs and discussions about personal experiences throughout the world. One month was about Iceland, while another was about Africa.
“I just learn so much from everyone in the group,” Fox said. “That’s why I love it. You don’t necessarily have to travel there – you’d like to – but you learn all about it.”
Member Joe Kirby said it’s also a great way to meet people with common interests.
“It’s a way to get connected to the community,” he said. “It’s also fun to see what interests people and what they capture, because everyone sees something different.”
Fox said the diversity of the group makes every month unique.
“People in this group have moved here from different places, and they bring with them not only where they’re from but all their years of travel,” she said.
Ellen Fritz and Mike Schaffer moved to Lewes in April 2018. Both in their 70s, the couple had married in January after meeting online. Fritz learned about the group at a luncheon, where she met Fox.
The couple had already been traveling extensively – four international trips in 2018 alone – and thought the monthly dinner and discussion would be interesting. They had recently returned from Jamaica over Thanksgiving, had also visited Paris, Amsterdam and Ireland, and they took a trip on the Rhine River.
“We’re both in our 70s – our days are numbered,” Schaffer said. “If we’re going to travel, we need to do it now.”
“He and I have a long bucket list, so to speak, and we’re checking it off,” Fritz said.
Their next trip is to the south of France this spring.
Joe Ignatowksi and David McCarthy will travel to Portugal this year. Together, they’ve been all over the world, including a trip on the Orient Express and several trips to Iceland and Russia. They learned about the group through neighbors who are friends with Fox and her husband.
Ignatowski said he’s presented about Iceland, Cuba and a Viking cruise that he and McCarthy took to Berlin, Prague and Warsaw.
“It’s nice to hear about where other people have been,” he said. “It’s also great to meet people and talk to people. It’s really fun.”
Louise Huntley also joined the group through Fox, her neighbor. Huntley has traveled on five trips with Fox and plans to join her again.
“I like to hear about where other people have been and what they’ve done and the different types of trips they’ve taken,” she said. “Everybody is so willing to share their experiences.”
Fox seems to be a constant thread in the growth in popularity of the group. Ellie Flanzraich started attending the monthly meetings after overhearing Fox discuss it with someone at a pilates class. While the destinations are wonderful to learn about, Flanzraich said, the monthly meetings are also a great place to learn about travel companies.
“We like to share with each other our experiences with different groups, like Globus, Gate 1 or Viking,” she said. “We want to find out from other people their experiences. That’s a big deal.”
Fox is originally from Virginia, but relocated to Delaware while seeking her doctorate at the University of Delaware. From there, she took a job at Wesley, and the rest is history.
The group’s next meeting will be 6 p.m., Feb. 13, at The Clubhouse at Baywood, 32267 Clubhouse Way, Millsboro. To learn more about the Delmarva Bucket List Travel Club, email Fox at email@example.com.