• The 2022 TCC International Conference in Malta

  • Paul Drake and his wife exploring Sicily before the 2022 conference

  • The June 2022 Arkansas Chapter gathering in Little Rock

  • New Member Jin Liu with David Brezic at her first TCC meeting

  • 200-country milestones for Linda Rose Victoire Byers & Margo Bart

  • The new Korea chapter resumed in-person meetings in May

  • Rimma Milenkova, guest speaker at the May 2022 Pennsylvania Chapter meeting, with member Jill Kyle

  • The spring 2022 Southeast Florida Chapter meeting

A Message From the President

A Message From the President

Can you imagine sailing a small boat across the Pacific with the famed author Jack London? Or navigating the Nile through the wilds of present day Sudan to Uganda? Or maybe even flying over an African jungle in your own airplane? There is a museum where you can relive these experiences.

UNESCO recently reported that the number of museums in the world has exceeded 100,000. With all of these institutions, one would think there would be one dedicated to travel. There happens to be such a museum, and it is a fascinating institution in the middle of the United States — The Martin and Osa Johnson Safari Museum in Chanute, Kansas.

Before Margaret Mead sailed to Samoa, Joy Adamson went to Africa or Dian Fossey was even born, there was a Kansas teenager named Martin Johnson who was smitten by the travel bug. The year was 1907, and young Martin heard that famed writer Jack London was seeking a cook for a trip around the world on his 40-foot sailboat named the Snark. After a passionate plea to London in a letter, Martin was accepted on this trip that lasted two years, from 1907 to 1909. He returned from this two-year voyage with hundreds of exotic photos and objects from
such places as the South Pacific and Africa.

Martin toured the vaudeville and country fair circuit impressing audiences with his excellent photography and exotic artifacts. He met 16-year-old Osa Leighty while exhibiting his travelogues and they married soon thereafter. For the next several years, the couple toured the United States and Europe earning money to finance their first overseas journey.

In 1917 the couple visited the new Hebrides (now Vanuatu) near the Solomon Islands, armed with Martin’s motion picture camera. The high point of this first journey was a frightening episode on the island of Malekula. The tribal chief took a particular liking to young Osa and held the couple against their will, and it took a British navy ship’s intervention to allow them to escape. Fortunately for them, this encounter was captured on Martin’s camera and the footage was featured in the couple’s first feature film: Among the Cannibal Isles of the South Seas. This 1918 film launched a successful Hollywood career for the couple. For the next 19 years, they alternated lengthy trips to the South Pacific and Africa with lectures, exhibitions and successful box office movies.

On an earlier trip to Africa, Martin and Osa traveled by boat down the Nile to Uganda and made their first motion picture of a pygmie tribe. Then they made another film entitled Simba on the Serengeti Plains, and the following year the couple went into the Belgium Congo where they made a survey of the mountain gorillas and a movie titled Congorilla — the first sound motion picture made in Africa.

In 1937, while on a speaking tour in the United States, the commercial plane carrying the couple crashed near Los Angeles killing Martin and seriously injuring Osa. Following Osa’s recovery, she continued their life work, and took one final trip to Africa. There she published dispatches of lifestyle practices of the Masai and other tribes. In 1940, she wrote a best-selling book on her life: I Married Adventure. Osa died in 1953 as she was preparing for a return trip to Africa.

The museum is a hidden gem in Osa’s childhood home of Chanute, Kansas. It boasts over 15,000 photos and several floors of ethnic art and artifacts. In 1974, the museum was bequeathed the extensive West African ethnological collection of famed infectious disease doctor Pascal Imperato. This and other gifts have made the West African collection the most extensive in the Midwest.

As members of the Travelers’ Century Club, it is fascinating to imagine how we would fit into the 1920 travel world of Martin and Osa Johnson. How many of us would take the travel steps of the Johnson’s? Similarly, it is interesting to speculate how the adventurous couple would fit into the 2022 world of travel. What would they be doing to pursue new and unexplored areas of the world? And how would they be doing it? We will never know. However, the world is ours to explore in our own way.

December 2022 Photo Contest Winner: Steve Owad-Jones, Calgary, Canada

Congratulations Steve! With almost 50 photos to choose from, yours received the highest rating among members. You’ve not only brought honor to the Canada chapter, but you have won a year of free dues for yourself. Thanks to everybody who submitted their wonderful “Lakeshore” theme photos for the December contest. They can still be seen and commented on by visiting https://pollunit.com/en/polls/tcc-2022-december.

The theme for our March 2023 contest is “Religious buildings.” Click for contest details »

Photo: Steve Owad-Jones

Moraine Lake is one of the jewels of the Canadian Rockies. This view is so popular that it was featured on the Canadian $20 note from 1969-1979. Arrive predawn as morning light is key to capturing the iconic turquoise hues. A windless day enabled mirror-like conditions. Members visiting the 2023 TCC Calgary Stampede regional event should seize the opportunity and take a canoe onto the lake for a near-transcendental experience.

HONORABLE MENTIONS

Steve Owad-Jones, Calgary, Canada

Photo: Steve Owad-Jomes

A very rare view of Upper Kananaskis Lake in October. We had some lovely weather for this time of year and decided to camp nearby. Arriving at the lake to start a hike, we were greeted by this jaw dropping vista. Inukshuks got there first!


Ed Hotchkiss, New York, New York

Photo: Ed Hotchkiss

In May 2021, Jackson Lake was partially frozen and very still, providing dramatic reflections of the Grand Teton Range in Wyoming. It’s one of the largest high-altitude lakes in the U.S. at 2,064 meters (6,772 feet) above sea level.