July 2020 Circumbits

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Jul 022020

Update on Club Events

As we have previously reported, The Order of Magellan event scheduled for November 12 in New York City has been postponed due to the uncertainties of the pandemic. This important event will be rescheduled in 2021. The date is to be determined. Our Annual Meeting originally scheduled for May in NYC has been postponed and will now be held “virtually” using Zoom. Details to follow. Chapters are wrestling with how to schedule their events in the fall, and are hopeful that regular events will be ongoing for the next season.


The Board of Governors held its first meeting using Zoom technology and it was a great success. The Board members were able to interact in both a business and social manner as if they were in the same room. We are exploring ways to use Zoom to create events and “parties” for Chapters and members throughout the world. If you are interested, we suggest you familiarize yourself with Zoom or reach out the Club headquarters for more information. At the meeting, three new members were approved. Welcome to Richard and Janice Aaron (Chicago) and Karen Serret (Naples).

Have You Been to 7 Continents?

Circumnavigators who have visited all seven continents will soon be receiving their official certificates. So far, about 50 members have reported this achievement. If you qualify, go to the membership tab on this site to see if your name is listed.

The certificate shown recognizes venerable Canadian Circumnavigator Henri van Bentum who is about to turn 91. Luck to You, Henri.

We are sorry to report that Circumnavigator Douglas Nickson, Pacific NW Chapter, passed away in June. Readers might remember that Douglas was recognized in a recent issue of The LOG for his home replication of the House of Lords library which he got to see for the first time at the UK Chapter’s House of Lords dinner. Our condolences to his wife, Karen, and family.


Left to right: Herme de Wyman Miro with Arthur Benjamin and Mara Schainuck alongside “Lexi” & “Charlie” just prior to their planned wedding at THE BEN, West Palm Beach’s newest Autograph Collection Hotel. Herme, who is 100, is the “grand dame” of charity in Palm Beach and was Maid of Honor.

Palm Beach Circumnavigator Arthur Benjamin is known for his dedication to animal rescue. He and his new wife, Mara, dedicated their wedding to the cause. However, the wedding which was featured in Palm Beach Society magazine, had to be postponed because of the pandemic. Although disappointed, the couple were married privately in Utah and the big wedding party will take place next year, dogs and all. You can give the Benjamins a wedding present by going to www.americandogrescue.org. Congratulations to the Benjamins!

The Last Shot

Circumnavigator Jennifer Teague, Washington DC Chapter, took these shots of the deserted O’Hare Airport in Chicago. She describe the scene as “surreal”.

Do you have a good photo for The Last Shot? Please send to club@circumnavigators.org.

Luck to you!

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David A. Mink
International President

June 2020 Circumbits

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Jun 012020
circumbits June 2020

Staying at Home

With most Circumnavigators staying close to home during the pandemic, there isn’t much to report. Most Chapter events have been cancelled or postponed, and the Club is looking for options to hold our Annual Meeting. It was good to hear that Circumnavigators in Singapore and the United Kingdom are doing fine in these circumstances. Please let us know if you have any personal or travel news to report. We know that there have been a host of cancelled trips. Stay safe and healthy!

Annie Glenn Passes Away

Annie was the wife of Astronaut and Statesman John Glenn who received the Circumnavigators Order of Magellan. Annie was an outstanding person who accomplished much in the field of speech disorders. She died at the age of 100 from the deadly Covid-19. She was a “celebrity” at the Magellan event in New York City in 2001. Jeff Kelly, past president, remembers Annie as warm, friendly and fascinating.

The Glenns along with then-president Jeff Kelly and his wife Elizabeth.

Assistant Treasurer Named

Circumnavigator Jim Franch, Chicago Chapter, has been appointed to this new position to help with the Club finances. Jim is a Certified Public Accountant with many travel experiences.

Jim in Brittany, France at Saint Malo Cap Frehel.

Time to Remember

As pointed out in a recent Circumbits, this is a good time for Circumnavigators to look back on their past travels and organize their photos and memories. Circumnavigator Thomas Stratton-Crooke (Shaker Heights, Ohio) sent us this picture of him with a colorful doorman at the Raffles Hotel in Singapore way back in 1956.

The Last Shot

Circumnavigator Sandy Schopbach, Michigan Chapter, took this shot at Ha Long Bay in Vietnam.
Circumnavigator Sandy Schopbach, Michigan Chapter, took this shot at Ha Long Bay in Vietnam. Ha long literally means “descending dragon”. The islands are said to be giant emeralds that were once the teeth of Vietnam’s Mother Dragon and her children, who left them behind to create an impossible-to-penetrate barrier against foreign invasion. 

Do you have a good photo for The Last Shot? Please send to club@circumnavigators.org.

Luck to you!

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David A. Mink
International President

May 2020 Circumbits

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May 012020

Challenging Times

We hope all Circumnavigators and families are staying safe and healthy during the current pandemic. Our postponed events and cancelled trips are minor issues compared to the serious problems caused by the coronavirus. Assuredly, we will be back on the road again soon.

Scholars Trips on Hold

Our two Foundation scholars were getting ready for their around-the-world adventures when the pandemic crisis caused their trip to be put on hold. We hope the scholars will be able to make their trips when the situation gets better.

Amanda Davis

To make a donation to the Foundation click here. 

Hard to Stay Home

Circumnavigators Geoff and Marilyn McGrath miss traveling during the Stay at Home restrictions. They are reading and working on projects, including plans for their next circumnavigation. Their customized license plate says it all!

Circumnavigators Geoff and Marilyn McGrath

Over The Horizon Lawrence I. Brown
Larry, pictured here at a black-tie dinner held at the Union Club in New York City in the late 1990s when then International President Howard Matson asked Larry to introduce the guest of honor, the former Queen of Sikkim, Hope Cooke.

Lawrence I. Brown, who served as the Club’s Executive Secretary from the mid-1950s until the mid-1960s died of the deadly coronavirus,

April 12th, in Stratford, Connecticut. Larry was a life member of the Circumnavigators Club.

After graduating the University of Michigan Law School and returning to New York, Larry found himself handling the day to day affairs for our Board of Governors. Doing an excellent job, the Club kept him on!

Larry eventually became one of the premier maritime attorneys. He traveled around the world frequently, visiting his client roster which included many firms based in Panama, Liberia and Vanuatu.

Larry and his wife, Barbara, remained active in the club for many years. 

The Circumnavigators Club extends its deepest sympathy to his wife, Barbara and to his family.

Our Changing World

Circumnavigator Fred Myers, Naples Chapter, called our attention to a story in the Wall Street Journal about how travel has been impacted by the pandemic. Here Fred reviews the piece.

Back in 1914, one could travel to and from many, if not most countries in the world without ever seeing or using a passport. In so many words, that was revealed in the memoirs of Austrian novelist Stefan Zweig, and was used to open a recent article in the Wall Street Journal entitled “A World of Hardening Borders.”

The article, written by Yaroslav Trofimov, the WSJ’s Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent, continues by saying that the travel freedom ended with World War I when nations became more protectionist, a condition that existed until after World War II. That’s when again, the world became more international, a trend marked by the emergence of such entities as NATO, the International Monetary Fund, and the U.N. In the meantime, travel between countries became much easier. Hundreds of millions of people have since roamed the globe and crossed borders for a myriad of reasons such as vacationing, studying, or buying a second property.

As Circumnavigators, we can strongly relate to that because we’ve been a part of it. What we haven’t gained from personal experience, we’ve gathered from what our fellow travelers have told and shown us. Only rarely has there been reason to dwell on border crossing problems.

Within only a few weeks, however, the coronavirus pandemic played havoc with everything related to travel. Most worrisome is that it has sparked the resurgence of the nation state with its accompanying surveillance of the citizenry and threat to human liberties.

Even veteran historians have been taken aback by how quickly most all national borders have closed, blocking trade, as well as outsiders. That, in turn, threatens solidarity, even within the European Union. Checks and balances are eroding. A trend toward more nationalism is growing stronger even in the face of an increasing awareness that the pandemic can be controlled only by nations cooperating with one another.

Complicating the issue is social media with its ability to empower a nation’s internal factions that oppose the established order. In one way or another, the pandemic has also renewed racial tension and amplified the widening gap between those with financial means against those who are without.

Of far greater importance is the global economic meltdown, the discord over China being accused as the source of the virus, and the real or perceived failure of the U.S. to fill its traditional role of leading the world out of a crisis.

These are only a few highlights from the nearly 3,000-word article that makes for interesting if not urgent reading. Be prepared, however, to feel an emotional mix of concern, worry, and frustration along with hope as you think of all the beautiful and startling places you’ve seen and the wonderful and engaging people you’ve met along the way.

If nothing else, we as individuals and as a club can pledge ourselves to the cause of helping all people of the world not only understand themselves, but also understand the nation in which they live and the earth we all call home.

“A World of Hardening Borders” appeared in the Saturday/Sunday, April 18-19, 2020 issue of the Wall Street Journal.

The Last Shot

Jon Dill
Anxiety and worry might be keeping many from getting a good night’s sleep but this slumbering lion is at peace with the world. Thanks to Jon Dill, Naples Chapter for this shot taken in South Africa.

Do you have a good photo for The Last Shot? Please send to club@circumnavigators.org.

Luck to you!

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David A. Mink
International President

April 2020 Circumbits

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Apr 022020

Who would have thought?

How quickly our world can change in so many ways. No need to rehash the pandemic with Circumnavigators who, we are sure, are fully up on the news. We know it will cause serious disruptions for our Club of travelers. Just to recap some recent Club news, our Annual Meeting for May 15 in New York City has been postponed. We are shooting to reschedule sometime in September or early October, Inshallah. Below are two pieces from Circumnavigators related to the pandemic. Stay safe! 

Lessons Learned From 10 Days’ Detention 

By Susan Gary, Palm Beach Chapter 

My husband Brad and I spent ten days confined to our cabin aboard the Silver Shadow in Recife, Brazil. We were among more than 300 passengers from 18 countries. A passenger was taken to a hospital on March 12. As a result, the ship was not allowed to depart that evening as planned. Passengers were immediately confined to their cabins. Armed police patrolled the dock 24 hours a day. When repatriation plans were announced a week later, we were stunned to learn that the U.S. passengers could not depart with the other passengers. 

We were caught in the coronavirus pandemonium. What happened after our initial detention was the surprising and most disturbing part of the story. As a result, we developed new lessons learned and recommendations for future travel. These are in addition to the usual list that include, for example, taking an extra set of passport photos. 

Here is what we suggest going forward: 
Identify a private company (Kroll or Securitas, are examples) that specialize in challenges that may arise as a result of international travel. Fortune 500 companies in the U.S. typically have consultants with the experience, resources and relationships at the highest levels of the U.S. government and foreign countries to solve such problems. 

On our ship, we received very little communication from the ship regarding our circumstances; communication was generic when it did occur. We would have engaged a private company to better understand the situation and develop options. 

Secondly, we would recommend carrying more cash. Like most travelers today, we rely on the convenience of ATM’s in foreign countries, credit/debit cards, PayPal and other ways to avoid carrying cash. Cash has disadvantages; it can be easily stolen or lost. I was reminded of the advantages of cash however during a trip to Africa years ago. In the Democratic Republic of Congo, we were released by drugged military personnel only after offering him $100 cash. 

Another recommendation: secure a second passport. When you embark on a cruise you typically surrender your passport and it is not returned until you disembark. If we had that second passport, this would not be a concern. While a second passport is allowed by the U.S. Department of State, there is an additional cost and process. In retrospect, it would be worth the cost and effort. 

Lastly, establish relationships with your federally elected officials. This is a critical piece. It was our congressional delegation from Florida that did the most for us. They provided crucial support, constant contact and worked tirelessly on our behalf. Representative Lois Frankel from the West Palm Beach and U.S. Senator Marco Rubio were the heroes. 

We have travelled to 140-150 countries; met with Fidel Castro, visited the ruins of Persepolis while President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in office and visited South Sudan after their tumultuous separation from Sudan. We have seen a lot of this world and have been greeted with smiles from the capital of Yemen to the marketplaces of Somalia. 

The cruise to South America reminds us of the new hurdles international travelers face in today’s world. We are all learning new ways to make our future travels safer. 

Making The Most of Staying Home 

By Howard Matson , International President 1994-1998 

The pandemic has caused most, if not all, Circumnavigators to make ourselves comfortable in our homes for the duration.  We are the group that needs little motivation to go to the corners of the world. There is no such thing as boredom in our travels.  I often think that the genetic code of becoming a member of our historic organization includes a chromosome that’s activated by a new vista or adventure. 

As my daughter, wife and I enter our 17th day of self-quarantine, I was particularly touched by an essay recently published by the Swiss philosopher, Alain de Botton. He is the author of several bestsellers, including  The Art of Travel.  Some may recall that he was the individual selected in 2009 to be the “writer-in residence” at Heathrow Airport where he spent a week sitting in the middle of terminal.  A Week at the Airport published in London is the result of that week. 

De Botton writes, “…. Another thing we can do is to return to travels already taken.  This is not a fashionable idea.  The idea of making a big deal of revisiting a memory sounds a little strange…or sad.  We are careless curators of our own past.  We push the important scenes that have happened to us to the back of our minds.  However, I argue that regular immersion in our travel memories could be a critical part of what could sustain and console us.  In our neglect of our memories we are like spoiled children who toss these memories aside to seek fresh thrills.” 

This concept really hit a nerve.  I’ve been revisiting my travel shelf where I keep more than a dozen old travel journals.  There is more than a little self-reflection of “I did this?!?” as I reread the journal of my first solo summer in Europe at seventeen.  Were three months of unlimited travel via Eurailpass only $199?  Did I really leave Copenhagen after three nights because $12 nightly was too expensive?  My journal recounts that I was thrilled to arrive in Madrid and find the pensione on Avenida Jose Antonio for $2.90.  And, rereading the two volumes of my 1983 six-month trip around the world impressed again upon me the importance of this trip shaping my life and outlook. 

If just armchair thinking is not enough, then Circumnavigators give yourself a project.  Collect those old photos and put together a book.  Share this book with your children and grandchildren which may give them the  “bug” to travel.  I have another shelf of my grandmother’s diaries from trips in the 1950s to Europe and one recording my grandparents’ 1962 circumnavigation of the globe.  Reading them is to enter another world:  the Queen Mary, the Orient Express, the Tehran Hilton, the Peninsula and I reminisce how these diaries motivated me when I read them at the age of 10 or 11. 


Dog Lovers Alert

Circumnavigator Paulette Cooper Noble, president of the Palm Beach Chapter, is an author of many books. Her latest is Dog Secrets: Fun and Fascinating Things Your Dog Wants You to Know. Unfortunately for Paulette, she purchased 200 copies of her own book for a book event that was cancelled because of the pandemic. She now has all these copies on hand and would be very grateful if some fellow Circumnavigators would like to buy one. This cost is $28.  It is a wonderful book for dog lovers and can also make a great gift. She will autograph it to you, and if you wish, your dog.  To place your order, send an email to club@circumnavigators.org. 

On a Happy Note

Circumnavigator Henry Restarick reports: Since it was our 40th, Janet and I decided to celebrate our anniversary in Las Vegas.  It had been 14 years since our last visit to the Lost Wages.  Our plan was to see all the new sights and revisit some of our old favorite spots.  I planned a surprise 40th renewal wedding for Janet by taking her blindfolded from a casino to down the aisle of an old one-room redwood church built in 1941.  The church is the oldest building on the Las Vegas Strip and is listed on the United States National Register of Historic Places.  Notable weddings in the church include Betty Grable, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Dinah Washington, Judy Garland, Cindy Crawford, Angelina Jolie, Mickey Rooney, Robert Goulet and many others.  Also, a movie wedding of Elvis Presley and Ann-Margaret were filmed there.  I can’t believe Janet actually said “yes” again!” 

The Last Shot

Circumnavigator Lisa Brighton, Michigan Chapter, captured this beautiful shot of a fisherman on Inle Lake, Myanmar at dusk.

Do you have a good photo for The Last Shot? Please send to club@circumnavigators.org.

Luck to you!

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David A. Mink
International President

Annual Meeting Postponed

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Mar 232020
annual meeting postposed May 15, 2020

The Circumnavigators Club has decided to postpone its Annual Meeting, scheduled in New York City on May 15. We are disappointed to make this decision resulting from the uncertainties of the current coronavirus pandemic and the restrictions in New York. The meeting will be rescheduled in 2020 when the situation is clear.
We thank our guest speaker, author Patricia Schultz, and all the members who planned to attend from around the country for their understanding.

Luck to you in these trying times!

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David A. Mink
International President

Chicago Chapter Event on March 8th

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Mar 182020

Dr. Daniel Immerwahr, historian and professor at Northwestern University gave an illuminating presentation on “How to Hide an Empire”, which is the title of his book.Members and guests found it fascinating to look at the past and present territories of the U.S.

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