How did you first hear about the Travelers’ Century Club?
When the Travelers’ Century Club was first established, the original club members were, for the most part, clients of Hemphill Travel Services or known by the club founders, Bert Hemphill and Russ Davidson. Since then the assumption has been that members have largely heard about the club through word of mouth as the club does not promote itself. We wondered though if this is true and how much the occasional news article has played a part. Has the way people have first heard of the club changed over time or by travel experience? In traveling to remote parts of the world one is probably more likely to have run into a TCC member, so would more travel experience tend to mean one is more likely to have first heard of the club by word of mouth? For those who joined a long time ago, perhaps there were not as many TCCers around to happen across so would they have been more likely to first hear of the club through a news article? Is there a difference between how women and men have tended to hear about the club or would where you live be a factor?
To test these ideas, a cross-section of the membership was polled. A small sample included those with various lengths of membership from about forty years to those who have just joined this year. All country milestone levels were represented. Those surveyed also reflected the overall membership by area of residence and men and women surveyed were also approximately of the same ratio as in the club as a whole.
And the result was … slightly more than half first heard about the TCC via word of mouth and the others heard primarily via a news article, and in two cases a specific book was referenced. How members initially heard of the club was consistent regardless of how the data was looked at with just two exceptions. Members residing outside the US were somewhat more likely to have heard by word of mouth, and 100% of the seven current and past board members responding had first heard about the club through a news article.
Here is what some members had to say:
From Kelly Thomas, TCC Atlanta Coordinator: “I first heard about the Travelers’ Century Club through my Aunt Terry. She is the big traveler in our family and I have been lucky enough to go along! In 2006 she had the goal to travel to all seven continents so our family started planning a trip to Antarctica. We ended up flying to Antarctica from Punta Arenas, Chile, on February 19th of 2008 (We celebrate our Antarcticaversary every year!). While on the trip we jokingly asked my Aunt what her next travel goal was. She answered with, ‘Actually, I found this club of people who have been to 100 countries…’”
Love of travel may be an inherited trait. Both John Barner of Australia and Sunny McMullen of Southern California told us they had parents who were club members. We know of several other cases of multi-generational memberships.
Steve Newcomer was one of two responding who heard about the club from a travel agent/guide. Steve writes: “Prolific guide and traveler, Herb Goebels, introduced me to the TCC when we traveled together to Mogadishu in 2003.” Some of you may know Herb Goebels who was the German Chapter Coordinator until recently.
Both David Horne from New Zealand and Peter Machin from Australia heard about the club while on trips to Antarctica. New York Coordinator Lynn Simmons told us: “I was on a bus in Morocco when a couple mentioned the club and the list, and that piqued my interest.” Wendy Arbeit, one of our Northern California members, first heard of TCC from Texas member Magali Hinojosa in 2007 while on a ‘Stans tour. Several other TCC members were also on that ‘Stans tour — not surprising!
Renata Lemos, a Brazilian member currently living in Belgium, wrote: “When I was in the middle of my round-the-world tour, a friend of mine saw a report, I think on BBC News, and whatsapped me. I thought, ohhh, that is cool! And stayed with it on the back of my mind. When my tour finished, I counted my destinations according to TCC list and I was at 94! Then I made it a goal to reach the 100 and join the Club.”
From Rick Shaver, TCC Eastern Canada Coordinator: “In 1992 I was on a business trip (shooting a global beer campaign) in the Swiss Air Executive lounge in Mumbai. I met an HP computer sales guy who told me he had three goals in life (we’d had a few drinks):
- He wanted to be in a beer commercial (told him I could help with that).
- He wanted to join the Mile High Club (told him I couldn’t help with that).
- He wanted to join the Travelers’ Century Club (caught my attention—I did my tally of countries then and I had 43).”
The one book mentioned by both David Langan of Ireland and Angus Palmer of the United Kingdom was The Teatime Islands by Ben Fogle. Angus reports: “I first heard of TCC when I read a book by the well-known British traveler Ben Fogle. He had travelled to the BIOT in the company of members of the TCC. Out of curiosity I then checked my list of countries against the TCC list and, much to my surprise, it came to 97. So, three more countries and I joined.”
Regardless of how you found the Travelers’ Century Club, we are glad you did and hope you find inspiration in the travels of your fellow members and in turn inspire them.
Safe travels everyone!