As a not-for-profit organization, Road Scholar depends on the generosity of thousands of contributors every year. Let us introduce you to one of those contributors, Toni Lohman, whose personal connection to Road Scholar runs deep.
It would be hard to pinpoint a time in her life when Road Scholar Toni Lohman wasn’t dreaming of learning and traveling.
“I’d look at those planes and think, “I want to go! I want to be on that plane!”
“I got the travel bug when I was still a preschooler. My parents would take me to the airport in Pittsburgh where we lived and we’d watch the planes taking off and landing,” says Toni, a member of the Road Scholar Class of ‘02. “I’d look at those planes and think, “I want to go! I want to be on that plane!”
A true lover of books throughout her lifetime, Toni often read about places she wanted to discover. What did a fjord in Scandinavia really look like? What would it be like to walk through a Costa Rican rainforest?
Since taking an early retirement from her job as the acting Service Development Manager for Virginia Beach Public Library, Toni was determined to answer those questions — and has since boarded many planes to make her way to more than 44 Road Scholar learning adventures. From Scandinavia to Costa Rica, Mackinac Island to Sanibel Island, she has pursued the topics that have interested her and explored places she always wanted to see.
"Travel means new experiences and new people and seeing how everything is different and still somehow the same. The people are the same deep down, but the culture and the scenery are all different.”
Toni inherited her enthusiasm for Road Scholar from her mother, who also enjoyed several learning adventures in her retirement. “My mom found out about Road Scholar just before she retired back in the ‘70s, and she went on three or four programs before she died,” says Toni. “She was so excited about them and I thought, ‘I want to do that too!’ I couldn’t wait until I was old enough.”
“There are things that I want to experience and find out about,” says Toni. “That’s what travel is — new experiences and new people and seeing how everything is different and still somehow the same. The people are the same deep down, but the culture and the scenery are all different.”
While she has traveled independently, Toni returns to Road Scholar for the educational content and ease of use. “I always come back to Road Scholar,” says Toni. “Everything is taken care of — I don’t like planning travel. I love the way everything is organized. I’ve never had a bad trip!”
Toni’s love for Road Scholar is something that she wants to share with others. Because of that, she has chosen to support Road Scholar through annual gifts, and has designated Road Scholar as a beneficiary of her IRA.
Always ready for her next learning adventure, Toni hopes that her gifts to Road Scholar will help to support the next generation of learners. “It makes me happy to give back to people who will enjoy it in the future,” adds Toni. “I hope it’s always there for anyone who loves to travel and experience the world.”