While I go around I dream about a group of men and women from all over the world that would constitute archipelago of humans with wider understandings. Wandering and extravagant, in search of new configurations, distant from usual cultural field. New mental energies. Fresh air would blow through the world.
— Kenneth White
The Travel Club is a community of travelers, explorers and creators, founded on the ideas of free sharing, free movement, and personal exploration of the world.
The Travel Club was founded in early 2005, when great poverty in the countries of former Yugoslavia, together with the prohibitive visa regimes of surrounding countries, made traveling almost impossible for the people in this part of the Balkans, leaving us isolated in our own geographical and cultural space. The mission of the Club was to teach people how to penetrate this barrier and personally reconnect with the world in spite of all the seemingly insurmountable obstacles, relying heavily on hitchhiking, hospitality, loopholes in visa procedures and so on. Over time, our focus shifted from travel to exploration and creative work.
To travel means to move. In and of itself, traveling means nothing, but it can serve as a starting point for something. We see traveling as a tool for building a culture of solidarity and understanding, for developing attitude and sensibility, for forging personal, intimate bonds with the world; an antidote to prejudice, stupidity and hatred, helping us become immune to borders without and within; the creative drive of an artist, the joy of an explorer, the passion of a cartographer who draws her own unique map – as each and every one of us must do.
The world belongs to all of us. We all have the right to live in it, as well as the responsibility to leave it in a better state than it was when we came into it. For that to be possible, we first need to get to know it. We can learn about the world from the comfort of our armchairs, through what others are saying and writing about it, but that kind of knowledge is problematic on many levels. It has been said that we are living in the time of post-truth; today more than ever before, each of us is responsible for our own education. That education requires us to get out of the house, out of the concentric circles of our family, village, town, nation, religion, ideology, and above all – to get out of ourselves. In the words of Miroslav Antic:
Now I know
It is wiser to make one step outside of myself
Than to travel millions of miles
Inside my heart.
The Travel Club is centered around the concepts of understanding, connecting, and creating value. We try to understand the world, as best we can, and help those who inhabit it to understand each other – as best they can. We try to connect the world, but not in the way it is done by the corporate logic and the interests of the capital. We are connecting the world individually, intimately, by our own movement from point to point, from place to place and from person to person, and building personal connections. The Travel Club logo, a white arrow on a black circle, stands for the concept of Brownian motion: as it moves around, a particle collides with other particles, thus changing their trajectories as well as its own. A person moves around the planet, changing everything they touch, and being changed by every touch. Mankind is the sum of feelings, thoughts and actions of all its people: a grand civilizational project we all participate in, creating value for ourselves and others along the way.
WHAT WE DO
So far, most of our activities have been tied to the Balkan cultural and linguistic area – our public lectures, books, community projects, travel-writing competitions and so on. This is something we are hoping to change in the near future. Here are some of the international projects we have carried out:
- As an independent publishing house, we have so far published three books, one of which, Bantustan, is available in English.
- We have organized six Travel Houses/Schools (Istanbul, Granada, Athens, Tbilisi, Aveiro and Liepaja), providing free accommodation to a total of 1,000+ travelers from 80+ countries.
- We have completed one lo-fi documentary, with the next one scheduled to be released this summer (2021).
- We have been maintaining this website for 16 years, publishing travel-and-culture-related content, and providing free advice for independent travelers.
- We have carried out dozens of expeditions around the world, collecting materials for our articles, books and films.
Our goal is not a hyperproduction of contents, likeability, clickability, or amassing a large following. We may not create much, but what we do create is done carefully, thoughtfully and meticulously, with great attention to purpose and detail.
The Travel Club is a non-profit. There is no hierarchy nor official membership; we are a group of loosely connected people scattered around the planet. All our projects are funded through crowdfunding and carried out through volunteering. Any money that comes our way is donated to charity or reinvested into the Club.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
- If you like to travel, explore, communicate, share and create, and if you believe that we could do something together – feel free to contact us and tell us all about it. All our projects are collaborative, and there is nothing we enjoy more than exploring and creating in good company. We are looking forward to growing into a more international community – hopefully with your help!
- If you like what we do, please consider supporting The Travel Club on Patreon. Your 1$ a month goes a long way in helping us stay afloat.
- To stay up to date with our projects and activities, please join our mailing-list.