You learn the darnedest things just chatting with people at parties here. At one such event, I ran into Moira Fennessey and pretty soon she was telling me about her membership in the Circumnavigators Club of Naples. It seems we have 125 local people who have traveled all the way around the globe in one direction (you can do it in more than one segment) and love to tell each other about their adventures.
And, boy, are there stories. I checked in with club president Barb Roy and she told me, for example, about Cort and Sarah Mckee who have been through Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia while Cort was accrediting schools there. “They told us they had to travel with guards,” Barb says. “In Saudi Arabia, Sarah had to go veiled and ride in the back seat only when driving around in this Muslim country.” On the schedule for next season’s presentations will be one Circumnavigator’s harrowing account of being picked up by Samoan pirates while out with a small fleet of sailboats, a retired Secret Service agent’s stories about protecting the President overseas, and a member’s experiences traveling with the U.S. Olympic team as its physician. The spirit of adventure is high. Barb goes places with her 94-year-old husband, who gets around in a wheelchair, and they’re just back from a foray into less-heralded parts of Cuba and have reached out to the people of Iran. “Once you leave the airport in Iran, it’s like one big hug,” she says. “The people were so friendly to us.”
The Naples chapter of this national organization—“we’re the largest,” Barb says—meets at The Club at Pelican Bay during the season and has regular summer lunches for people to get to know each other even better. Many are also involved with Opera Naples and Chaine des Rotisseurs. If you’ve got the travel bug and love to listen to, and regale others with, spellbinding narratives of jaunts abroad, contact membership chairman Joe Donahue (435-9134; firstname.lastname@example.org.) The welcome mat is always out to travelers who have logged the miles.