• A recent TCC Zoom meeting explored the remote Pitcairn Islands

  • TCC member Pirkko Schildt at the Illusat harbor in Greenland

  • Jill & George Kyle , founding members of the Pennsylvania Chapter

  • Member Christina Baldwin O’Meara in Antartica with her daughter

  • An April 2021 gathering of Atlanta-area TCC members

  • Member Sylvia-Hanna Russell at Kaieteur National Park in Guyana

  • A virtual Meeting of the Indiana/Kentucky/Ohio TCC Chapter

A Message From the President

A Message From the President

It’s December of 2009 and I’m about to embark on a two-month assignment with United Airlines. I’ve been selected to be part of a team helping to set up the Lagos, Nigeria airport operation. This should be an exciting moment, but it is met with mixed emotions. Why? Not because it is Nigeria, but be- cause it would be the first time Lana is not joining me for such a long adventure. She is not only my wife but she’s also my travel companion.

Charles Schulz wrote: “In Life, It’s Not Where You Go, It’s Who You Travel With.” Before I thought about my story, I might’ve said: “Phooey to that.

Doesn’t he know TCC members? It clearly is about getting to Bhutan, American Samoa and Venezuela, right?” Yes, but for those of us who have that constant travel companion(s), the one person we must see the world with, our travel equation is only partially complete when that person(s) is not by our side.

Now some of you solo travelers may be taking this as your cue to flip the page, scanning the colourful quiz photos on page 7, but stay with me. Even solo travelers can identify with this story in some way—all of us have had a travel companion at some point.

So who are these travel companions? Growing up, they start off as our parents and siblings. And then we get a little older and we explore a little more with a best friend, spouse or even a child. Somewhere along the way, we are shown … The TCC list. At this point, a metamorphosis occurs within us where we become an adventurous butterfly ready to explore the world.

So what happens with those travel companions? Some might say: “Okay. Let’s go on that Trans-Siberian rail trip together.” But most will bow out, seeking to recharge at the same all-inclusive Cancun resort year after year like a deciduous-chewing caterpillar stays on the same leaf. We almost become misunderstood to these former companions. That’s okay, we meet other travelers and locals along the way who fill that travel void.

Circa 2009: Lana Skeet wanting to tag along on Tim’s adventure to Lagos, Nigeria.

I’m truly lucky that the person I liked, became the person I loved, eventually married, and now travel with … until death do us part. Lana is that special person who tolerates my erratic planning and shenanigans in every country we visit. She’s bought into the whole airline standby game we play, which has led us to so many spontaneous adventures. We complement each other with me taking care of the travel logistics and she diving in deep to chase an interesting experience we must share once we arrive. We’ve simply come to the conclusion that we are destined to be on this travel odyssey together.

So why did I open with my Nigerian adventure? I was thumbing through the clichéd travel quotes and found this one which made me laugh: “I would gladly live out of a suitcase if it meant I could see the world with you.” It made me laugh because it made me think about something hilarious Lana did the night before I set off for Lagos.
It is usually my role to take something to the “next level” but she takes the prize for making me smile. Even though she would eventually join me in Lagos, Lana demonstrated that she was ready to go now—quite remarkably, climbing into my suitcase. Oh my gosh! Where’s the camera?

Mr. Schultz was right in saying that who we travel with makes life more complete. It taught me that for every trip and adventure I’ve taken, when we leave home to set off to meet new people, Lana, my travel companion, is the one person I want to see the world with.

June 2021 Photo Contest Winner: Jay Katz, Tumon, Guam

Congratulations Jay! With 66 photos to choose from and more than 100 participants rating the photos, yours received the highest rating. You’ve not only brought honor to the Oceania chapter, but you have won a year of free dues for yourself. Thanks to everybody who submitted their wonderful “Japan” theme photos for the June contest. They can still be seen and commented on by visiting https://pollunit.com/en/polls/tcc-2021-june-japan.

The theme for our September 2021 contest is “India.” Click for contest details »

Photo: Jay Katz

My wife, Margarita, pays respect to architect Tadao Ando’s 44-foot-tall Buddha. Built into an artificial hill and accessible through a tunnel, the Buddha’s head peers out of the opening and is surrounded by 150,000 lavender plants. Just outside the bustling city of Sapporo, this spot has offered a calm retreat for us through every season of the year.

For nineteen years we have been part time residents on the amazing island of Hokkaido. With four spectacular seasons, we love the back-country skiing, hiking in the national parks, and the fall foliage, always followed up by  a dip in the onsen. We never run out of things to do and see in Japan’s largest prefecture.

HONORABLE MENTIONS

Jan Devier, Lawrenceville, Georgia

Photo: Jan Devier

This was taken while wandering Hirosaki Park in the month of April, 2018. It is so hard to select one pic to represent the Japanese experience but this sturdy traditional bridge and the momentary glory of cherry blossoms on this glorious day come pretty close. There is a wonderful castle just beyond this bridge which was completed in 1611 and rebuilt in 1810 after lightening struck.


Laurel Glassman, Chevy Chase, Maryland

Photo: Laurel Glassman

Miyajima, a small island outside of Hiroshima, boasts one of Japan’s most iconic views of the giant orange Itsukushima-jinja torii gate, a UNESCO World Heritage site. It is hard to overstate how romantic and colorful Miyajima is. Deer wander freely through the streets and parks, but this little one seemed content to relax on the shore near the gate.