Enter all ye, who in the Order of Magellan be!

I’m not sure why my pirate voice sounds like Yoda, but somehow that’s how it works in my head.  A few years ago, I was looking to obtain a copy of my Order of Magellan Certificate, since I wasn’t quite sure when my signed copy was going to arrive.  In doing so, I stumbled upon a great organization.  I sent an innocent inquiry email, met with a member and the next month I was renting a tux to see Michael Palin receive an award in NYC.

This international organization is the Circumnavigator’s Club, headquartered in NYC.  At events it’s ok to ask others “Which way do you go?” and not get raised eyebrows since the response is East/West in the Northern/Southern Hemisphere.  It’s not a travel-club, it’s a club of travelers.  And while trying to get travelers together in one place is like herding-cats, the meetings we do have are unforgettable, like the upcoming award presentation to two astronauts.

Berlin 2010 at the East Side Gallery (Berlin Wall). Corollary to the Circumnavigator’s Moto: (my attempt at translation) Whoever wants the world to stay as it is doesn’t want the world to stay (at all).

When I was deployed to Afghanistan, this group was one of the many organizations that supported me from the home-front.  Their motto is “Through friendship, to leave the world a little better than we found it” and among the many ways they do that, there is one way in particular that stands out.  Among most children-of-80s, or among those who like Indiana Jones (and died a little when the fourth one came out), or maybe just me, I wanted to have a room with artifacts collected from around the world.  And much to the chagrin of my wife, our small apartment had fake-samuri swords, beer steins, a rug from India and a poorly aged bottle of cream-sherry from south-west Spain.  Well, the Circumnavigators Club doesn’t collect artifacts (sorry, that’s just me 😉 ), but we do send people around the world, sponsored by our Foundation.

Kids on a Goa, India beach, November 2006. Buying a rug in India was an experience in itself, one that I wouldn’t rush into. It took a month or two for it to clear customs and I’m pretty sure I overpaid. There were probably cheaper artifacts…

In one of the most creative foundation projects, we sponsor college students on an around the world study program, in which they are able to conduct field research through this amazing experience.  In fact, you can follow three of the foundation scholars as they are making their trip, right now:

  1. Thomas Larson, Georgetown University.
  2. Leah Luben, Arizona State University.
  3. Harry Boulding, University of Liverpool.
  4. Kevin Short, Northwestern University.

So what’s the deal then?  Well, first I’m trying to get the word out about the Circumnavigator’s Club.  We don’t really advertise per se.  And honestly, we need some younger members.  The requirement to travel the globe is not waiverable, but can be done by plane, which is a bit easier these days than when the club was founded 100 years ago.  And when I say younger, I mean that most members are retired.  But, what this club stands for and supports is timeless and should equally appeal to those in Gen-X and later.  That and I would like some company when I’m older. 😛

In Japan, December 2006. There was hope back then (mainly by wife) that I would eventually like skiing / snowboarding. A hope that I faintly subscribed to, which is why I must have kept the lift ticket on my jacket, that was probably a year old at the time. That hope is officially dead now; I’m a lodge dweller.

The yearly dues are affordable to college students and no-one is without at least one interesting travel story.  Applications are here and ideally, you can sync up with a Circumnavigator at a local chapter (listed on website) who can help with the application process, or you can send an email to HQ.

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