What a conference we had in Malta! The opportunity to meet TCC members from around the world, learn about their backgrounds and be inspired by their interesting stories was the highlight for me. My message is about sharing what I learned about other members and what makes this club interesting for me.
New York member Ed Hotchkiss has assembled a photo book on the New York City subway system. Having ridden on all 660 miles of track to the 472 stations, this has been a fifteen-year passion for Ed culminating in his book, Station to Station: Exploring the New York City Subway. Read Ed’s Destination Feature contribution on page 2 of The Centurian about Senegal and The Gambia.
David Brickley shared how he was moved by the 9-11 disaster and became instrumental in establishing the 9-11 Memorial Trail connecting the three tragedy sites of New York, NY, Washington, DC and Shanksville, PA. At 1,300 miles long, it is equally split between actual roads and trails. President Joe Biden recently signed legislation declaring this the September 11th National Memorial Trail.
Professor Yvo Peeters from Belgium has a PhD in comparative European law and four masters degrees in history, archaeology, sociology and Soviet economic studies. The author of 112 books in French, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, English, Catalan and Italian, Yvo also finds time to teach college level courses. He has served as European parliamentary secretary for four years and as an eligibility officer for asylum seekers for the United Nations.
Ireland’s David Langan (327 TCC countries) insists on receiving a stamped postcard from every destination he has visited. But what happens when he doesn’t receive the postcard he mails to himself? This happened after his visit to Malaysia’s Sarawak when no postcard arrived back home in Ireland. He thought he was smart when he returned to the capital Kuching for a second time and arranged a visit with the postmaster himself. Still no postcard. Setting off to Sarawak for a third time, David sent himself six different postcards. Fortunately, one arrived with the appropriate postmark for his collection.
Dangers happen while traveling and few stories top Arkansas coordinator Steve Clift’s scuba diving abandonment in the British Virgin Islands. On a late morning dive, Steve and his wife surfaced, and to their horror, the dive boat had left the area. Treading water, conserving air left in their tanks and praying — six to seven hours later, a boat was slowly weaving back and forth in a grid pattern in search for them (before gps.) Fortunately, Steve used the strobe light attached to his underwater camera and held it as high as he could over the two- to three-foot waves. Seen and rescued, this is truly a story of faith and survival.
Olivia Carter-Pokras, preceded her trip to Malta with a ten-day walk on the Camino de Santiago in Spain. Believing her mother inspired her travel style, on one occasion when her father was away as a Methodist missionary, Olivia’s mom took her three young daughters on a 3-month trip to Latin America. To facilitate the difficult trip, her mother decided that the four of them would share a single suitcase. Each daughter was permitted to bring one pair of shoes, one dress, one pair of pants and one top. Needless to say, carry-on luggage is easy for Olivia.
William “Bill” Potts-Datema from our Atlanta, Georgia chapter, is attempting to visit every major North American sporting venue for the National Football League, National Hockey League, National Basketball Association and Major League Baseball. Merely visiting the various arenas and stadiums is not sufficient. As part of an elite group where only five sports fans have visited all sports venues, an event must be attended from beginning to end. Meaning? If a baseball game is postponed due to rain in the fourth inning, Bill must attend another game in the same stadium. So far, he has visited 105 of 124 possible stadiums.
Jeanine Fetterly was a pioneer hot air balloon pilot in the early 1970s. As one of four women to obtain a commercial pilot’s license, Jeanine became Dole Pineapple’s international commercial pilot and flew their company balloon to many events and numerous hot air balloon festivals throughout the United States.
These stories are just as unique as each one of us. The Malta conference not only connected us by our love of travel, but it gave us that special opportunity to hear everyone’s story and get us excited about future conferences and chapter gatherings.
Our strength as a club is in our community. It is not only how we celebrate our commonality but also our individuality. Make a decision to connect at chapter meetings, future conferences, online, get to know others, and be inspired to see more of the world. I look forward to getting to know you!