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The Circumnavigators Club is an organization for people who have made a trip around the world. Learn more about the Club on the international website. The Chicago chapter sponsors 4 educational events a year plus a December Holiday party.

To raise funds to support the Circumnavigators Foundation, we have a fundraiser each year. One of the main activities of the Foundation is to send carefully selected students (Scholars) on an around the world trip to pursue research. Our creed is:


See our 2019 events and photos in the archive. Also view all events and photos from 1986 to 2019.
The entire history of the Chicago Chapter can be found grouped by year in the Photos and Events archive.

Below is a listing of our 2020 events. Please reserve these dates on your calendar. Updated information is posted on this page, as it becomes available, from Mary Houston (contact via e-mail), our Vice President of Programs.

Click on the thumbnails for the paper invitation. Click on underlined locations for a Google map.

  • Invitation March 2020 Sunday, March 8th, 2020
    "How to Hide an Empire"
    with NU Professor Daniel Immerwahr
    at Uncommon Ground Restaurant, 1401 West Devon Ave., Chicago.

    1:00pm -- Appetizers and conversation (cash bar)
    1:30pm -- Family Style Lunch at the Farm to Table Restaurant
    2:30pm -- Presentation

    Circumnavigators can sign up for this event using their credit card at eventbrite.com.

  • Invitation June 2020 Saturday, June 6th, 2020
    "Chicago Chapter Student Scholarship Presentation & Fundraiser"
    Featuring Foundation Scholar Christopher LaMountain
    at Your Home via ZOOM: This is a free event.

    2:00pm Chris will show photos & play music of Bahai Temples.
    Pre-Registration Required: Click to Register for A Global Song
    You will be sent a confirmation email on how to join the meeting.
    Zoom is easy to use. We have used it already for an Officer meeting.

    Click on thumnail for pdf with donation details and presentation scope..

  • Invitation Sep 2020 Tuesday, September 22th, 2020
    "Travel Around the World with Nancy Schumacher"
    Executive VP of Travel & Tour Operations for National Geographic Partners

    via a ZOOM Meeting from 5:30 to 6:30.

    Join fellow Circumnavigators for a virtual cocktail hour and presentation.
    After Nancy's presentation, there will be time for discussion and questions.

    The meeting is free, but registration for this event is required: Click Here.
    Registration provides the link to join the Zoom meeting.
    A reminder email will be also be sent to you with the same link to join the Zoom meeting.

    Click on the thumbnail to see the paper invitation and a photo of Nancy Schumacker.
    To donate to the Circumnavigators Foundation and support our Chapter's Scholar click here.

  • Invitation Oct 2020 Tuesday, October 27th, 2020
    "Remote Island Adventure Stories"
    By Don Parrish

    via a ZOOM Meeting from 5:30 to 7:00.

    Join fellow Circumnavigators for a virtual cocktail hour and presentation.
    After Don's presentation, there will be time for discussion and questions.

    The meeting is free, but registration for this event is required: Click Here.
    Registration provides the link to join the Zoom meeting.
    A reminder email will be also be sent to you with the same link to join the Zoom meeting.

    Click on the thumbnail to see the paper invitation and a photos of Don Parrish.
    To donate to the Circumnavigators Foundation and support our Chapter's Scholar click here.

  • Invitation Dec 2020 Wednesday, December 9th, 2020

    "Holiday Party via a ZOOM Meeting from 5:30 to 7:00"

    Featuring Circumnavigator Tall Train Tales from members
    using one photo with a 2 to 3 minutes talk

    The meeting is free, but registration for this event is required: Click Here.
    Registration provides the link to join the Zoom meeting.

    Click on the thumbnail to see the paper invitation and a photos of a few trains.
    To donate to the Circumnavigators Foundation and support our Chapter's Scholar click here

On March 8, 2020, we gathered at the Uncommon Ground Restaurant, 1401 West Devon Ave., Chicago. Our speaker, NU Professor Daniel Immerwahr treated us to a fascinating relook at American History to understand the Greater United States. This was an exceptionally well received talk notable for its big picture reassessment of American History and spiced with many intriguing details.

And only one week later we may say that his talk was part of some Great Before (the Corona Virus) since in the week that followed we have already experienced a cultural shift notable for a massive plunge in the stockmarket, declarations of Emergency at Federal, State and local levels with curtailments in international travel and wide spread closing of schools and some businesses. At at a personal level substitutes for handshakes have made their appearance first at our event and on TV at the Presidential level. Will this be some passing fad or some profound shift into a kind of social distancing? Time will tell.

Professor Immerwahr's book, How to Hide an Empire, (See Amazon for all variants) was highly recommended by Jim Franch, our VP of Membership. The main theme was the US had an empire that was never explicitly acknowledged. This is a contrast to the British Empire which was explicitly celebrated by the British as the largest empire in human history. In the case of the American Empire, it was not even acknowledged on December 7, 1941 when FDR focused on Pearl Harbor and barely mentioned the Philippines, which was also attacked by the Japanese Empire that day.

For example, in the Philippines, US territory from 1898 to 1946, almost a million civilians and military were killed in WWII. This is more than the total of both North and South in the US Civil War and about twice the US military deaths in WWII.

We had our usual drinks and discussion before the talk, celebrated a new member, our Foundation Scholar and several guests.

Mar2020Photo1 Mar2020Photo2 Left: Secretary Don Blom, Webmaster Don Parrish, Jim Houston, Rich Aaron, and President Jeneane Blom.
Right: Guest Catherine Carrigan, Foundation Scholar for 2020 Mandy Davis and Treasurer, Barbara Franch.
Mar2020Photo3 Mar2020Photo4 Left: Guests Diane & Eric Thurman and David Warning.
Right: Susan Nelson gets membership certificate from Jim Franch.
Mar2020Photo5 Mar2020Photo6 Left: Don, David, Daniel, Catherine, former President Karen Schlueter, Eric & Diane, and Jeneane.
Right: Judy & John Meade, Pat Young, Jim Keating, Mandy, Dinah Jacobs, and Jaclyn & Kent Winship
Mar2020Photo7 Mar2020Photo8 Left: Susan, Mary & Jim Houston, Don, Jan & Rich Aaron, and Barbara.
Right: Professor Immerwahr, wanders around sharing insights and ancedotes.
Mar2020Photo9 Mar2020Photo10 Left: Daniel Immerwahr and his book cover art showing American's empire at scale fits inside the continental USA.
Right: Continental USA, with Alaska, the Philippines, Hawaii, Puerto Rico and other islands of the Pacific & the Caribbean drawn to scale.
Mar2020Photo11 Mar2020Photo12 Left: 1898 Canadian stamp proclaiming the British Empire largest in history. Empire Day celebrated on May 24th.
Right: The US empire was celebrated sub rosa on June 14th, Flag Day.

On June 6, 2020, we had our first Zoom meeting. In 2020 during the Covid pandemic crisis, Zoom became the techology solution for organizations to gather on the internet in lieu of meeting in person. Illinois was still under lockdown restrictions when we had our annual Fundraiser for Foundation Scholars.

What is Zoom? The Wikipedia article gives the basic overview. The incredible acceleration of its business in 2020 was recognized when it joined the NASDAQ-100 index on April 30, 2020. The company website is here. The company was founded in 2011 and had a decade to grow and polish its product when the Covid Pandemic skyrocketed its product. Our chapter stayed in the mainstread using it in 2020. Our meeting was conducted by Keith Sbiral, our Co-Director of Publicity.

Our chapter has been one of the most active in supporting Foundation Scholars in the Circumnavigators Club. Every year of the 21st century, we have supported a student to make a circumnavigation of our planet in order to do research on a topic of their choice. See all of our Scholars here.

Chris LaMountain made his circumnavigation last summer. His topic was "A Global Song: Investigating the Global Diversity of Baha'i Temple Music". There are only 8 Baha'i temples on our planet. And the only Baha'i temple in North America is a ten minute walk from the Northwestern temple.

This year our Foundation Scholar from 2019, Chris LaMountain made his presentation via Zoom. First he explained an overview of his trip, then showed a YouTube video of his trip. And, of course, answered our many questions. His 32 minute YouTube impressed us with its contents and technical polish. And, of course, there were musical selections in his YouTube.

The 2 photos below are screen shots taken by our technical host Keith Sbiral. Click to enlarge the photos. This rectangle of individual locations is what our club members see on their home computers or iPads. As members join or drop out, the Zoom software automatically reconfigures the rectangle. And members can freely move off camera to get a drink of water or whatever. Some members only had an audio connection. In general, members had a good experience with Zoom. This and similar technologies were all the rage around the world in 2020 to cope with social distancing restrictions. While Chris was making his presentation, the audience members were not visible to each other. One advanced point is that members (for example, Dan, Don and Keith) can select some favorite photo instead of the actual backround of their room.

Zoom Photo 1 Zoom Photo2

On October 27, 2020, we had a Zoom presentation by Don Parrish entitled "My Visit to 6 Remote Islands" and subtitled "Welcome to My World". This was a long presentation of 75 minutes with maps at different scales, photos, videos, and stories.

There was interest from other chapters and the advantage of Zoom was we could allow it. We had a much larger attendance than usual. We were priviledged to have the President of the Circumnavigators Club, David Mink in attendance at Don's highly anticipated talk. Since these islands are rarely visited even by top travelers, this was new material for everyone. And it was well received.

Don focused on the barriers to get to these islands because of Government restrictions, the need to travel by small chartered boats and the uncounted dangers. Don observed this is not a talk about scenery.

The one island that everyone had heard of, but not visited was Iwo Jima. There is a report on Iwo Jima with a video slideshow set to music on his website.

Another island was familiar by name to members of the Travelers Century Club (TCC), because it is the hardest one on the TCC list to visit. It is the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT). Don is one of only two dozen intrepid travelers who have completed the TCC list. He was awarded a high tech trophy by the TCC President at a meeting in California in 2017. His TCC Award Report also includes some photos of BIOT.

Since Don attended the Zoom presentation of the Annual Meeting of the Circumnavigators Club where President Mink recently discussed some of the Lore of the Circumnavigators Club, Don started by sharing his own piece of Club Lore. It happened at the Chicago chapter meeting in 1990 when he received his Circumnavigators Certificate and the Chicago Chapter was gifted our Earth Rise Photo which has been passed from Chapter President to Chapter President.

Don took his certificate out of the frame and asked our speaker that evening James Lovell, of Appolo 8 & 13 fame, to autograph it. Lovell was happy to agree and issued a challenge. He wrote: "You have 421 times to go". As an astronaut, Lovell had made 421 circumnavigations around our planet.

Later in 2011, Don remembered the idea of Lovell's challenge, but transformed it to honor Roald Amundsen on the 100th anniversary of his arrival at the South Pole by making 100 circumnavigations by walking around the South Pole 100 times in about 2 hours. Don recorded his time and step counts in a log book every 10 circumnavigators using a pencil. Because of the extreme cold, he knew a normal ball point pen would not work. His trip was documented in a Log article and in an extensive report on his website.

Zoom Photo 1

On December 9, 2020, we had a Zoom Holiday Party. These are fun events normally held in an atmospheric restaurant or even a private mansion. But in this Year of the Virus it was held via Zoom.

Our President Jeneane Blom had a very short business meeting. She praised the excellent work by Tim Foulas in creating our first Chapter Directory with a nice photo and short structured pieces of background infomation on each participating member. One of the ideas for the directory was to help new members learn about the existing members. However, existing members also learned about existing members too. It was a real hit!

It was a fun party with the theme of "Tall Train Tales". In advance of the party, we sent one photo per person to Jim Franch and we sent our Tall Train Tale title to Mary Houston, who moderated the event. There was only 1 rule: Stay under 3 minutes to give everyone a chance. Some wrote out their short talk and others winged it. But everyone stayed within their time limit.

And these talks were from places all over the globe. Some were luxury trains for special life moments. Other trips were on steam trains or on local trains with the natives. This was a classic self organizing activity.

And one of the delightful aspects of our Chapter is that all members are travelers so good questions got asked. There were many insightful comments. And there was sharing of observations about similar trips triggered by a tall tale. Wonderful back and forth.

Zoom Photo 1