Ohio State Alumni travel for the first ever trip to the Rose Bowl in 1969. Credit: Courtesy of Addie Natalie

The historic Alumni Tours is pursuing a new frontier to bring multiple generations of Buckeyes overseas. 

In its 50th year, Alumni Tours has created a new multigenerational trip to Iceland to service former Ohio State faculty, staff and alumni and their families for August 2020. Addie Natalie, assistant director of Alumni Tours Services and Operations, said the program organizes nearly 32 trips to every continent, supporting about 1,200 travelers every year — this will be the first time travelers can experience the trip with their families. 

Natalie said they chose Iceland as the new trip’s destination based on a previous experience she had.

“It’s not every place I get to go that I think, ‘Wow, a family could really do this trip,’” Natalie said. 

She said that within the first day, travelers will visit Blue Lagoon, receive a guided tour of Reykjavik — Iceland’s capital — and enjoy an Icelandic dinner while connecting with others. The six-day trip will be an Icelandic experience including everything from black sand beaches and geysers to whale-watching, Natalie said. 

Although the travelers fund their tour themselves, the support, structure and planning of Alumni Tours is indispensable, Natalie said. The program handles flight organization by providing easy flights from the United States to Iceland and offers assistance from the Alumni Tour office and full-time local guides while on location. 

“It’s more than just the trip itself, but the overall experience,” Natalie said. “Everything is taken care of for you.” 

With an average of about 30 people on a trip on land and about 60 on sea, Natalie said she expects a great outcome for the new trip, having more than 20 slots filled and 15 slots left for the August 2020 tour. The average age of travelers is 65, Natalie said. 

“We hope that this [excursion] will create memories and moments that they’ll be able to recall for their lifetime; a relationship that they’ve built with their family that they’re traveling with, with new alumni that they’re having the opportunity to engage with and being able to rely on the institution that they themselves called home at some point in their careers and know that we’re still here,” Natalie said.  

Dr. Robert Guthrie, a former professor emeritus of emergency medicine, is someone who is aware of the benefits. 

Having participated in five alumni tours, Guthrie said that through the organization, he has visited Seattle; the Grand Canyon in Arizona; Sedona, Arizona; Lake Meade, Pennsylvania; Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah; Zion National Park in Utah; Arches National Park in Utah; Northern California and Oregon. 

Guthrie said he decided to take the trip when the catalog was open on his coffee table and his son-in-law suggested they all go together. Guthrie said his granddaughter is enamored of earth science, and he looks forward to her witnessing it in person with Iceland sitting on the fault line. 

“Everybody’s excited over this one — you get to go behind a waterfall like in the ‘Lord of the Rings’ movies. That’s worth the whole trip,” Guthrie said. 

Guthrie said Alumni Tours has provided him the “comfortable and doable” opportunity to show his wife many of the treasured places he visited throughout his childhood, without the concern of arrangements. 

Guthrie said the trips only contribute to his love for the university. 

“I’m connected emotionally all along, but [the trips] have really cemented it,” Guthrie said.