What could be more important to a traveler than making connections? All kinds of connections including connections with fellow travelers and connections from one flight to the next. As I’ll explain in this message, connections in their various forms are my priority as your new president of the Travelers’ Century Club.
My introduction to the TCC came through a newspaper article about the club. The article mentioned TCC’s list and the members who avidly pursue each destination. I was amazed. Why? It had long been my practice to maintain a diary of my travels and count the countries visited. Someone else does this? My application was in the mail and I was thrilled to become a member and attend my first chapter luncheon. “Where have you been recently?” “Where are you headed next?” How natural it is to connect with travelers and how beneficial these connections are to trip planning.
Planning a trip to Eastern Europe, as I was a few years ago, illustrates the importance of making connections. One of the discoveries while planning that trip was to travel via local buses. The man sitting next to me at my chapter’s luncheon extolled their virtues: safe, clean, on time and reasonably priced. I would never have known to search the internet for bus schedules had I not attended that TCC luncheon and connected with the man next to me.
Not only did buses reliably take us from place to place, they connected us with local people. One night, we had a long bus ride. At some point, I realized one earring was missing. As soon as the driver stopped for a rest stop, I hit the floor to search as others were exiting the bus. In response to the quizzical looks, I motioned to my ear and the absence of my earring. I didn’t find it but I, too, needed to take a rest stop. When I returned, the people seated around me were on the floor searching. I’ll never forget that. (There is a happy ending to this story. Later, I found the earring. It had dropped into my purse.)
I thank the man at that luncheon for his information about buses and I also thank Donna Marsh, U.K. chapter Coordinator, who helped me prepare for my Saudi Arabia trip, and Pam Barrus, TCC past president (2012-2013) and assistant editor of The Centurian, who provided important information for my Socotra trip. How fortunate we are to reach out to TCC members and gain valuable information in advance of a trip. These connections are important benefits of TCC.
The theme of connections is on your mind as well. Last year’s satisfaction survey revealed generally favorable ratings concerning TCC and its benefits along with your encouragement to expand opportunities to connect with members. Your comments included “I want more than bragging rights. I want to network with other TCC members.” We hear you, and we will strive to expand interactions with members. Attending chapter meetings is a wonderful way to connect as I learned in planning my trip to Eastern Europe. Virtual Exploration and the breakout sessions that follow are magnets for making connections as are also our international conferences, the next being May 30 to June 2, 2024, in the Azores.
Many of us are enjoying TCC WhatsApp as a vital tool to bring us together wherever we may be. Thanks to TCC WhatsApp, we can share the joys and challenges of travel. As one who often travels solo, I find it reassuring to know that I can reach out to my TCC community if things start to “head south.” WhatsApp is also a way to connect with other members who are headed to the same destination. Those who have not signed up to WhatsApp may do so by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. The connections you make are likely to enhance your travel experience.
Making connections with other travelers will continue to be one of the great benefits of TCC membership, and I pledge to make connections a central theme while serving as your president. To connect with information about TCC and your chapter’s events, TCC’s website is an excellent resource.
Until the next issue of The Centurian, I’ll leave you with this quote attributed to Edward Readicker-Henderson: “Whoever created the world went to a lot of trouble. It would be downright rude not to go out and see as much of it as possible.”