• Michael Sholer honors Gold level member Kirsten Loumeau

  • July 2019 gathering of the Seattle Pacific Northwest Chapter

  • Filmmaker & TCC Member Craig Forrest at Machu Picchu in Peru

  • The spring 2019 Eastern Canada Chapter meeting in Toronto

  • The summer 2019 meeting of the Southeast Florida Chapter

  • Atlanta-area members enjoyed a potluck lunch in August 2019

  • The St. Louis Chapter welcomed Treasurer Kevin Hughes in August

A Message From the President

A Message From the President

“What is your favorite country?”

This is the question that we are probably asked more than any other. If you are like most Travelers’ Century Club members it is a difficult question to answer as you probably do not have a favorite country and have enjoyed, or at least come to appreciate in various ways, every place you have visited. As your travels have taken you around the world to a great variety of places, calling a place a favorite might need to be based on some limiting criteria to narrow the choice; nature or diversity of nature in the country, culture, history, food. Or the criteria might be the place you would most like to revisit or live in. It may depend on whether you like ease of travel or the exotic place that takes you out of your comfort zone. Maybe it was positive personal experiences with those met during travel that moved a country to the top of the list.

Many members reported that they don’t know how to answer this question, or even hate getting the question. Only one, our very positive Atlanta Coordinator Kelly Thomas, said she loved the question especially when answered with “Wherever my next trip takes me!” Indiana Chapter Coordinator, Frank Basile said, “Don’t ask me to name my favorite destination because we’re not through traveling.”Most of us are reluctant to name a favorite because we do not have one or have so many! When pressed though by the question many have an answer to share, even if it is qualified with a “for food” this country,“for nature”this country or these are my favorites followed by listing several.

Keeping in mind that we are all TCC members so sometimes our definition of country is just shorthand for “countries and territories” or even just regions, your fellow club members named Afghanistan, Andamans, Antarctica, Argentina, Australia, Bhutan, Brazil, Cambodia, Chile, China, Croatia, Cuba, Easter Island, Egypt, England, France, French Polynesia, Galapagos, Greece, Greenland, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Italy, Lithuania, Mali, Mongolia, Myanmar, New Zealand, Norway, Papua New Guinea, Russia, Spain, United States. Several named the continent of Africa, often mentioning the safari experiences they had had there. The favorites listed were as diverse as our world and what a great reflection on our membership to have this variety in responses. Only a few of all those countries were named by more than one member. Our favorites vary considerably, but our reluctance to name a favorite does not.

Like most members I do not have a favorite country, but the question is there, so knowing it will be asked again and again I’ve come up with an answer that is less about being a favorite country and more about being the country almost everyone seems to want to hear more about – North Korea. Interestingly no one has ever asked why this would be the favorite, although I sometimes volunteer it is because there is no other place I’ve been that is quite like it. Rather conversation quickly shifts to wanting to know more about it from a first-hand perspective. Even my limited four-day experience always seems to result in about ten times more questions than any other place I have ever named.

For a true favorite, right now I’d probably go with Greenland. Philadelphia Chapter Coordinator, Jane Berryman and I spent two weeks there last year and I left in awe of Greenland’s natural beauty and enjoyed some nice culinary surprises as well.

Most people did not have, or in some cases did not want to be on record saying, what their least favorite country was. But in more cases than not, the reason for a country being designated least favorite had to do with a personal bad experience there. The most common thing was to be robbed or cheated which can certainly make for bad memories of a place. Generally though we find kind and helpful people everywhere who are good ambassadors for their country. I know this has been my experience and I hope it has been yours as well. Part of having a love of travel is looking for those interesting things and experiences that exist in every place. Our UK Chapter Coordinator expressed what many others also have said. “I have learnt that there is something interesting about all destinations. I have also learnt that countries with difficult reputations can often have hidden positives that are very different to conventional opinion. I have found something to like in even the most challenging destinations.”

Do you have a favorite country or is it “the next one”? Maybe your fellow club member responses will give you some ideas on how to respond the next time you are asked, “What is your favorite country?

Safe travels everyone!

September 2019 Photo Contest Winner: David Berhenke, Chicago, Illinois

Congratulations Deborah! You’ve won a year of free dues! The theme for September was animals we have encountered. Thanks to everybody who sent in their wonderful photos. The theme for our March 2019 contest is “Deserts.” Click for contest details »

Photo: David Berhenke

There are some landscapes that are instantly recognizable, resembling nowhere else on Earth. To me, this colorful scene is classic Galápagos in a nutshell. A solitary Sally Lightfoot Crab was keeping company with a gang of Marine Iguanas on the volcanic rock in front of tropical turquoise waters and a small white sand beach. As with most of the local wildlife, these patient subjects showed no fear of my approach and maneuvering to compose this shot. The gathering storm clouds on the horizon made this a brief encounter however, as we had to hurry back to the ship before the thunderstorm rolled in.


Michael Ballard, Chattanooga, Tennessee

Photo: Michael Ballard

We didn’t know what to expect from our 2017 trip to the Isle of Man, but we quickly fell in love with the stunning countryside and quirky culture. On the far northern shore of the island stands the official Point of Ayre Lighthouse. But then further out on the stone beach is the miniature lighthouse pictured here, known as “Winkie.” We walked out on to the expanse of smooth stones and marveled at how loose they were, like wading through very thick gravel. I lay down on the rocks to get this shot that, for me, sums up the island. A stark landscape infinitely detailed and eclectic, all at once like a dollhouse and an alien planet.

Andrew Kirk, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada

Photo: Andrew Kirk

My wife Shannon and I traveled to Lord Howe Island from Sydney to see what all the fuss was about. We found that it was an incredible untamed place with wildlife free of fear of humans. The views were absolutely spectacular. We swam with turtles, saw 6% of the world’s population of woodhens, and relaxed in a place that must be one of the most beautiful in the world. Our eyes were drawn again and again to the twin peaks of Mount Gower and Mount Lidgbird.

How does the board pick the winners of the Photo Contest?
After the published deadline, each board member writes down his/her five favorites in order and placement points are compiled. Greatest number of points wins. Taken into consideration is the resolution
of the photo for reproduction quality, if there are at least a few sentences written about the photo, and if the photo relates to the theme. These are all important!