A Toastmaster Journey to Ennis Ireland

By Rosalyn Kahn, DTM, 
Leaders World Wide, 
District 57 Speakers Bureau

We hear it all the time. People are always telling us that travel enriches one’s life and teaches us things that we cannot learn by staying home. Through our involvement in Toastmasters, we know that travel enhances speeches and maybe even one’s leadership skills. Stories are what speeches are made of! I have always been a world traveler and started traveling with a group when I was quite young, so I have plenty of experiences to reflect on, but my most recent international journey compelled me to reflect on my 30-plus-year career as a Toastmaster. 

I traveled to Ireland for a reunion for a group with which I traveled 20-something years ago. My trip to Dublin and Ennis, Ireland in June of this year gave me an experience that will change how I look at the world as a speaker, leader, and Toastmaster.

Travel forces us to grow up, even when we are grown up. When I first arrived in Ireland, I found out that a person I was supposed to be traveling with was refused entry due to an expired passport. That same day, I had some confusion with which bus to take. Thankfully, the locals were very helpful and I found my way to the hotel in Dublin. I spent the next few days seeing some sights in Dublin and had the opportunity to visit Castleknock Toastmasters (6467). The group was very supportive of me attending their meeting and asked many questions about how Toastmasters works in the U.S.

During my club visit, I got to give a speech on how Toastmasters can be on the highly coveted TEDx stage. I am fortunate to have been on the TEDx stage three times (see links below), and I have coached various speakers to become TEDx speakers on multiple occasions. I enjoyed sharing my knowledge with this group and saw great potential in each one of them. The room was filled with passion and motivation, and it was obvious that the Toastmasters in the room cared about their speaking and leadership skills. They very much wanted to be present and learn new tricks to become better at what we do. *

Later, I traveled to Ennis where the reunion for UP with People gathered. There, I met a group of 15 members whose clubs were off for the season. John Moran, a District 71 Officer from Ennis, introduced me as a DTM. After I gave a brief overview of my life through Toastmasters, I was able to sit down with the group for an hour. I learned about their passions, ideas, and challenges. After all, Toastmasters is about taking challenges and learning and growing from them. During the session, I found that the group was having a difficult time adapting to the new Pathways curriculum. Some of them weren’t so keen on following the new program and wanted to stick with the legacy curriculum. 

I remember telling them that we never like change when we are first presented with it. I said, “Do you remember at the beginning of the pandemic when you had to have work and attend all meetings on Zoom? You probably hated it, didn’t you.” Most people in the room agreed. Just this simple reminder helped the Toastmasters in the room to understand that change takes time and that we have to give it a chance if we want to grow, change, and overcome challenges. By the end, we all felt that it was a successful session. I appreciated this opportunity to utilize the skills Toastmasters has taught me over the years.

Besides getting to attend a Toastmasters meeting just outside of Dublin, It was great to meet and interact with locals while touring the city and on my way to Ennis. Once in Ennis I met my friends from my past travel group. Seeing that I recently launched my Los Angeles- and Las Vegas-based television show, I wanted to document my experiences to show them to my viewers. As I traveled about, I not only got to reconnect with my past friends but to meet new ones as well. I met Irish dancers, filmmakers, beach visitors, and even some wonderful locals who helped me with transportation and lodging. 

I will be forever grateful to these kind locals who helped me and look forward to staying in touch with them for the years to come. They gave me stories to tell that will enhance my speeches, and they taught me how to treat tourists in my community, further enhancing my leadership skills.

When I travel, one of my favorite things to do is look at sights in nature. Connecting with nature can be a deeply spiritual experience. On my journey to Ireland, I had the opportunity to see some of the sights in the attached photographs. What I loved about Ireland is that it is right on the water, similar to the California coast. I enjoyed looking at the water, the flowers, families of ducklings and birds, and best of all, the beautiful trees that grow in this part of Europe. Connecting with the sights, sounds, smells, and tastes of this country gave me many stories to think about for future speeches. This level of familiarity and experience is also sure to enhance my developing leadership skills. 

Brian Green, the VP of Public Relations in Castlerock Toastmasters, came and gave me a personal tour of Dublin. He also interviewed me for his podcast, www.irishtalk.com. A very active Irish Toastmaster, Geofric Murphy, DTM,  invited me to an online Toastmaster Group called Tinely Toastmaster. Through his digital prowess as a Zoom Host, Video Editor, and Area 40 Director, he connected me to Toastmasters Worldwide through the One Country – One World Toastmasters Club (Ireland – see link below).

After returning from this trip, I really improved as a speaker and storyteller. Not only did I get to practice one of my back-pocket speeches in front of an advanced and accomplished group of Toastmasters; I also had the opportunity to interact with accomplished locals, interview professionals, and learn from the culture. All of this will help me develop upcoming speeches as I strive for my second DTM.

*The trip also helped me further develop my leadership skills. Giving a speech as a guest at a club is a remarkable experience I hope that all Toastmasters should in their career. Doing this gave me the opportunity to learn how clubs vary from country to country. It helped me become a more empathetic and understanding leader and to truly grasp a club’s needs and desires for the future. Having the opportunity to advise them about Pathways also helped me learn more about the new program. I learned that even with a DTM, I am definitely not too seasoned to stop learning, and this is an important lesson to learn.

In conclusion, I must say that what people tell us about travel is true. It expands and broadens one’s horizons into a whole new world. Travel is especially good for Toastmasters because we encounter experiences when we travel that will give us storytelling material for future speeches. We also develop our leadership skills through our interactions with locals and problem-solving encounters. There are opportunities to be a guest at Toastmasters clubs in foreign countries and to expand the Toastmasters message worldwide via zoom. I understand that not everybody has the means, ability, or desire to travel, but one can have meaningful cultural experiences in their own backyard. My television show is all about living our best lives, and I talk a lot about cultural exploration in my programming. I recommend that all Toastmasters visit other clubs, have experiences in nature, and interact with people they wouldn’t normally interact with. This is sure to bolster Toastmasters-related growth and development. Continued – 

Bio – Check out Rosalyn’s Youtube Channel HERE. Here is a video from her channel that she made from the trip described above HERE which captures Ireland through her passion for photography. Check out her Facebook page. Rosalyn’s has always been featured on three Tedx Talks, starting with Language Comes to Life

PS – Also mentioned in this article – One Country – One World Club Facebook