Global Relations

Travel Club


Our Story

"I have returned toplaces in the world that were not the same as when I first visited. I’m sure those before me thought the same. The planet is changing rapidly. Experience it. Tomorrow it will be different. Cuba today is different from when I first visited almost two decades ago. It will be dramatically different in the not too distant future,” Dan Rutherford.

"Having been to a few other places around the world, I found Cuba to be a unique throwback in time. I feel very safe there, the food is wonderful , the people are exceptional." Josh Lanning

Dan Rutherford

Dan Rutherford traveled to all Seven Continents before he was 40, and visited over 70 countries, including some that have changed names and boundaries. He has been in areas of the world during times of war and coups. At other times Dan has enjoyed some of the finest locations on the planet. Few have been to Antarctica, canoed down the Orinoco River to the Amazon, led safaris in Kenya, visited the top of the world in Tibet and logged hundreds of dives as a Master Scuba diver. Dan has.

Dan has recessed from politics after serving as a State Representative, a State Senator and State Treasurer. He has decided to put his travel experiences, understanding of cultural differences and global network to use for his friends.

Dan was eight years old when his mom and dad opened a pizza restaurant in the small Central Illinois town of Pontiac. He worked there through grade and high school. He missed some football games on Friday nights because he, his sis and his parents all needed to work in the family business. While in college, Rutherford worked at the pizza place on campus. During the summer Dan saved his money working road construction and paid his own way through college after receiving help from his parents with the first semester. He graduated from college with no loans and no debt. His family is from modest means, but they did well because they worked hard.

As a young man, Dan joined the ServiceMaster Company, which was based in the Chicago suburbs. During a 25 year career, he was responsible for international expansion and licensing the company’s Terminix, TruGreen, Merry Maids, and ServiceMaster businesses in Latin America, Europe and Asia. Dan learned from, and worked with, many people of different religions, skin colors, customs and cultures. That experience helped him be more tolerant and accepting of diversity. 

As a legislator, Dan did not leave the private sector. He worked long hours and fulfilled his responsibilities in both.

He is distinguished by a legislative career of accomplishment in both the House and the Senate. Dan shaped legislation to help some of the most fragile citizens. He was a leading sponsor of important bills which fundamentally changed the formula for reimbursing nursing homes.   

An avid conservationist, he is helping preserve the environment by using recycling programs in his home and office. He has personally planted thousands of trees and shrubs to promote reforestation on his own land, in addition to utilizing stream bank stabilization practices.

Rutherford graduated from Illinois State University, where he served as Student Body President. 

As a youngster, Dan enjoyed camping, fishing and adventure. In high school he was a foreign exchange student to Barbados. After graduating from college he backpacked across Europe, and in his mid-twenties he spent months leading safaris in Kenya. 

He learned to sail boats and crewed for numerous Chicago to Mackinaw Island races, competed in regattas off of Melbourne and cruised the southern coast of Australia.

Before his 30th birthday, Dan joined a small group of adventurers. Together they spent three months crossing Africa in their diesel Bedford truck- camping, bathing in creeks, cooking open fire meals, using sand mats to cross the Sahara, and making sure not to drink from wells that were poisoned because of the war with Libya. He began in Algeria and went south through Niger, Chad, Cameroon, Central Africa Republic, Zaire and Burundi. 

Having been on all the continents of the world but one, Dan was determined to get to Antarctica before his 40th birthday. With a lot of luck and a few connections, he found himself in the Falkland Islands meeting a Russian icebreaker with a group of naturalists who were exploring the continent. Whales were a common sight, often accompanying the ship as it made its way through the icy waters. Dan has particularly fond memories of Christmas that year, which he spent on a tabular iceberg in the Antarctic Sound. 

Always looking for excitement, Dan skydived in college and learned to fly at a relatively young age, before he decided to master scuba diving. He is an Advanced Certified Diver, logging a few hundred dives. He has dived in Cuba, Belize, Curacao, the Bahamas, Saba, the Turks & Caicos, Saipan, Rota, Guam, Bali, Mozambique, Yap, Cape Town, the Great Barrier Reef, and Apo Island in the Philippines, to name a few.

Later in life, Dan went to West Africa to take a canoe up the Niger River in Mali to Timbuktu, camping in the southern Sahara before traversing Burkina Faso, Togo and Benin.

When examining his background, one quickly realizes that there are very few people with the professional, governmental and global experience of Dan Rutherford. Not to mention his love of life and eagerness to make a difference in the lives of others.

Global Relations Travel Club grew out of Dan's desire to put his travel experiences, understanding of cultural differences and his global network to use for his friends.

Josh Lanning

Josh Lanning is an energetic Midwestern who has broad global travel experiences. He has camped along the eastern coast of Australia, visited South Korea with permission to visit the Demilitarized Zone. Israel included Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, and a helicopter escort to the Syrian border. China’s visit included off the beaten path to Tibet and Shenyang, and then Hong Kong.

Cuba has been a multi-visited country for Josh. He has helped lead tours for hundreds of Americans to the elusive island.

Josh is a Heartland Community College graduate (2007) followed by his Bachelor’s Degree from Illinois State University (2009). He was a Heartland Community Scholar where he volunteered to assist not for profit organizations including the Bloomington Police Dept., McLean County Juvenile Detention Center, Livingston County Humane Society, the Livingston County War Museum and Habitat for Humanity.

After college Josh went on to work for the Livingston County Coroner’s Office as Deputy Coroner and honorably continues his role in that office.  He worked a number of years in various positions for the Illinois State Senate and the Illinois State Treasurer’s office where a wealth of knowledge was gained.

On Josh’s free time he enjoys his family and son who is in grade school. He enjoys the outdoors for work, playing ball, fishing, hunting, recreational shooting or riding the four-wheeler.Having visited Cuba a number of times over a number of years, Josh has grown a strong heart for the people of the island, the richness of their culture, respect for their work ethic and their kind, welcoming attitude to Americans.