Have you ever invested so many hours into planning what to write, you’ve read it and then say to yourself, “That just does not sound good enough?”or “I think that’s already been said.”
I flossed the TCC archives and read every past president’s first message dating back to 2012. If I simply adapted those messages to my own story, it could work. We would learn that my parents planted the travel seed, and my wife, Lana, is my companion with whom I’ve experienced almost every destination. Also, that I discovered this club 20 years ago, attended my first TCC event ten years later in 2009, and traveling standby to the far-flung destination of Rodrigues was my greatest logistical challenge. Finally, answering the question to past president Michael’s theme of “One” — Canada is my first country, and my home. All of these messages are fantastic, and worthy of re-reading. They connect us to our past presidents, our club, and help us formulate our own story we share with others.
As we roar into a new decade, I would be wise to take a more pedestrian approach in my first message, but that just wouldn’t be my style. I’m used to jumping in with both feet with the hope that the proverbial “pool” is deep enough. I promise not to go too rogue and make tall commitments.After all, that’s what my June column is for.(wink)
I love everyone! There, I said it. My name is Tim. Yes. I’m Canadian, and I love all people. This is both uniquely me, and also reflective of Canadian values. I am fortunate to be born in the land of the True North, strong and free — a nation that celebrates diversity, and I believe, encourages love among citizens at home and abroad. (gasp) Did the president of the TCC just say love three times? Yep! And there’s more…
Love towards our family and friends is easy, but I’m referring to an unconditional love towards humanity. For me, this not only extends to my colleagues, and community at home, but fellow TCC members and especially, the world community I have met in my travels around the world. Can you relate? You see, the TCC country list inspires us to explore the world, a box to check for having been there, and that’s good! I do that myself; but I think we can collectively agree that through our travels, connecting with people everywhere is more than just a checked box. As travelers, our ability to connect with and love people around the world is our special opportunity to share.
Start with a smile. This is something I’ve grown up with with in Calgary. Still common to this day, a smile from strangers passing by means a nonverbal “Hello. Have a good day.” Are you walking through an airport? Or meandering through a market? Smile! On a recent trip to Skopje, North Macedonia, I was reminded of this upon reading a quote from Mother Teresa: “Every time you smile at someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing.” Yes!
Each of us has been afforded the rare privilege to explore a greater part of the world most people will never see. World Travel: The passport to peace through understanding. Our motto attracts many of us to become members, but once we become members, what next? We must demonstrate it. Smile, greet someone, shake hands, ask about their family, share tea … Be more than simply a member of the TCC, but an ambassador of peace and love for the good of humanity.
I’m writing this message at Christmas time when it is common to listen to Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II’s Christmas message. In 2004, the same year as the 50th anniversary of the TCC, Her Majesty spoke of how religion and culture should bring us together in her message of hope and love, not divide us. And I quote: “For me, as a Christian, one of the most important of these teachings is contained in the parable of the Good Samaritan when Jesus answers the question, “Who is my neighbor?” It is a timeless story of a victim of a mugging, who is ignored by his own countrymen, but helped by a foreigner, and a despised foreigner at that. The implication drawn by Jesus is clear. Everyone is our neighbor, no matter what race, creed or color .The need to look after a fellow human being is far more important than any cultural or religious differences.”
This is a powerful message from Her Majesty, that resonates well with our beloved club, which I’m honored to be named the president of for the next two years. Throughout my term, I will encourage you to connect with your fellow members, share travel experiences, participate in TCC events around the world, and remind you that you are part of the greatest fraternity of travelers on this planet. Let us take that benediction from Queen Elizabeth II and love the world we are blessed to explore by starting with just one human being in our next travels.
Blessings and happy travels!