Rex Farrow has blown glass in Chicago, visited the World War I graves of his uncles in Belgium and rafted the rivers of Canada.
He admits these are things he otherwise would not have done had he not joined the Western Bay of Plenty Friendship Force - a group of intrepid travellers who love immersing themselves in other countries' cultures and customs.
One of 368 branches in 50 countries worldwide, the Western Bay group has been everywhere from Belgium and Northern Ireland to Brazil and Tokyo since it was formed 22 years ago.
Mr Farrow, the group's president, was encouraged by a friend to join the group six years ago.
"I would have joined a lot earlier but I didn't know about it. A friend of mine said why don't you come along to Canada?
"So I went with my wife and we've been away five times since with the friendship force."
"It's a great experience and living with people in their own homes gives you a greater understanding of how they live and creates lasting friendships around the world."
That was the philosophy when US minister Reverend Wayne Smith founded the organisation in 1977, with the hearty backing of then US president Jimmy Carter.
In the same year, the first exchange took place between US members in Atlanta, Georgia and UK members in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, with 762 ambassadors taking part.
"The name was chosen to stress the force that friendship can be, for good in the world," Mr Farrow said.
"It is an international, non-political, non-sectarian, non-profit organisation. It's sole aim is to foster international friendship among the people of the world, achieving this by personal contact and shared experiences, through a programme of home hosting."
In 1992, the organisation was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, three years after Western Bay group was formally established on February 27, 1989.
Its 55 members get together on the third Sunday of each month at the Omokoroa Hall at meetings that usually feature guest speakers and entertainment.
"We usually have two inward exchanges of people from other countries and at least one outward bound exchange. In May of this year we are going to be hosting a group from Nashik in India. Several of our members are joining in with other clubs and travelling overseas with them."
Mr Farrow said overseas groups visiting the Bay were shown as much of the region as possible, with a mayoral reception with Tauranga Mayor Stuart Crosby and trips to Mauao and the Rotorua hot pools frequently on the to-do list.
"We also have inter-club exchanges usually just over a weekend, and two weeks ago we visited the Western Waikato group and had a very enjoyable time with them," Mr Farrow said.
"In the past three years the group has been to Oxfordshire, Belgium and Atlanta, Sao Paulo, San Salvador and Santa Angela, and Chicago, Denver, Montreal and Toronto.
"This year we are going to Sydney and Murray Bridge on a shorter trip so that those members who can not travel on big trips or cannot be away for too long do not miss out on exchanges."
So what does it take to be a member of the Friendship Force?
"There are no prerequisites for joining - just the freedom to travel and the love of meeting people."
Name: Western Bay of Plenty Friendship Force.
Number of members: 55.
How often it meets: Meets every third Sunday of the month at the Omokoroa Hall.
People wanting to join the group can phone Mr Farrow on (07) 552 4730.