A wonderful quote by the American writer and traveler Mark Twain expresses how to set off on a life without regret: “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
How often do you hear people say that the first thing they would do if they won the lottery would be to go travel? Why is travel a fantasy that’s possible only if struck by extraordinary fortune? All of us who have been to 100 or more more countries or territories know that travel doesn’t take money or luck, but rather an intense desire to make it happen. To travel the world requires only the curiosity to see what lies beyond the horizon, the perseverance to find the means, and finally the simple act of walking out the front door, bag in hand.
I doubt any TCC member has ever regretted any journey he or she has taken, and if any of us have regrets, it is probably something like: “Why didn’t I go to Srpska when I was in Bosnia and Herzegovina? I could kick myself!” So, always plan on setting sail for that new destination, whether it’s watching the sunrise over Taha’a, attending the Mass Games in Pyongyang, or sampling caviar in the market in Turkmenbashi. Go for it without regrets! You’re only limited by your imagination.
On another topic, many of you might wonder about how the TCC board operates. We meet four times a year on a volunteer basis in the mornings before the Southern California luncheons. In general, we discuss chapter updates: those that are active or not, or those areas that have expressed interest in forming a new chapter; possible new countries or territories to add to our list (we usually put this on the agenda in December unless it’s something obvious like the independence of South Sudan), and the budget.
Like other long-term, established non-profit travel organizations, our budget is dependent on membership dues. Our membership usually fluctuates between 1,500 to 2,000 members, with about 8% being “life members,” those people who opted for an extra fee to go dues-less after one year of membership. The TCC discontinued that policy some years ago, but we still honor their life member status. This is indicated in the roster by “L/M.” In our budget roughly 45% goes for newsletter, printing, and mailing expenses. No doubt many of you have noticed our expanded newsletter that now gives better coverage to our growing chapters. On even-numbered years, we print and mail our membership roster, which pushes these expenses to 55% of our budget. Where does the remainder of your dues money go? Basically, administrative expenses. We need to hire people to process the membership: mailing out the dues notifications, sending out reminders, and maintaining files on membership levels. The club has come a long way since Roe Davidson did all this on the kitchen table. Other expenses of note include bank charges for credit cards, telephone, storage, insurance, and a webmaster.
Still, membership dues in the TCC is considerably less than other non-Internet travel clubs, and best of all, unlike some of these clubs, you don’t need a recommendation by a current member to join. Been to 100 TCC destinations? You’re in!
—Pamela Barrus, TCC President