Travel Brochure Project with Freeport Middle School
Teacher: Mr. Clay Carkin - Freeport, Maine. USA.
Click here to see samples of the Freeport School Students "Travel Brochures" for Tom Claytor

“Four continents down; three to go.”
by Marion Fraley
Haverford School Today - Fall 1998.
In Martin Satchell's world cultures class last year, eighth grade students provided bush pilot Tom Claytor '81 with advice and research assistance on part of his journey around the world. Claytor began his journey in 1990, to live and work with bush pilots on seven continents. By interviewing and waching these pilots at work, Claytor hopes to better understand the dynamics of change in the developing world - why forests are being cut down to make room for small farms, why endangered animals are being slaughtered, why both missionaries and developers work to change traditional cultures.

One of the lessons of his journey, he believes, is that conservation efforts will fail unless put in the hands of local people. Claytor's plane, a Cessna 180K called "Timmissartok" after the Greenlandic word 'to fly like a bird,' is a classic bush plane capable of landing in short remote fields and has been equipped to carry 15 hours of fuel for flights across oceans. Beginning in Philadelphia, he first flew to Greenland, followed by Africa and Europe.

His travels in Africa were the subject of the National Geographic video "Flight over Africa," now internationally available. His video diary appears periodically on National Geographic's "Explorer Journal." Claytor is writing a book to be published by Alfred A. Knopf Publishers, New York. The expedition was recognized by the 1993 Rolex Awards for Enterprise. If successful, it will be the first single-pilot flight around the world to land on all seven continents for the Guiness Book of Records.

Upper School English teacher Barry Bergh gave Claytor seven Haverford pins to give to individuals on each of the seven continents. To date he has given three of the pins to the following: Charles Darwin's great grandson (Europe), Nelson Mandela (Africa), and Ang Rita Sherpa (Asia). Claytor wrote to students in June: "I realize that you are all on summer break at the moment (at least I hope you are!). I am in the midst of the Himalayan Monsoon, so it is pouring with rain. ... I am hoping that Mr. Satchell can print this message out to share ... as you begin ninth grade in the Upper School this fall. "I enjoyed all of your probing questions. If I could be back at Haverford now, I would be more interested in the things you can "take with you" in life. One of these is photography. Carpe Diem. Learn it now. It will always be a great asset to know how to capture life and experiences with a camera. If you can do it with a camera, then the next step is doing it with words. The same rules apply - 'less is more.' "The other thing I would pay more attention to is languages. With each different language you learn, you aquire a different soul. You become able to see life through different eyes, and the world becomes a smaller, friendlier place. The Arabs say, "A strong enemy can become a strong friend." When I landed my plane in Algeria the day the military took over the government, the soldiers thought that a "bush pilot" was a pilot for George Bush. There are times when you must defeat your enemies by making them your friends, and the truth and a smile are your only weapons. "Some of you were also interested in aviation. I have learned that if you have a passion for something, then it is good to follow it, because if you employ the tools and discipline to do one thing well, it builds your confidence (something the Bhutanese call 'lungta') and then this becomes translatable, and you can learn to do other things well. ...

One of you also asked me where the idea for this journey came from. This journey began way back. I was 14 years old sitting in the Ryan Gymnasium at Haverford listening to Charles Darwin's great grandson tell us about Africa. Somehow, this planted a seed in my head - that maybe Africa was a place one could go, and that maybe dreams were possible. "What I have learned about dreams in life is that first, you must hold on to them. Second, you must seek out mentors to help show you how to realize them. Thirdly, you must never let anyone say no. You can tell yourself no, but don't let others crush the spirit of the dream. I like the expression: 'Only as far as we seek, can we go; only as much as we dream, can we be.' If we don't seek to climb the mountain, then we will never climb it. "The trick in life is tools. One of my tools is a small notebook that I carry in my back pocket. If I hear a good joke, or meet an interesting person, or see an interesting place to visit in a magazine, I write it down. This becomes a living fishnet for ideas. We forget 99 percent of the things that go into our head, so this way we can capture and remember the good things. "Some of you asked about money. I have found that the bigger the dream you have, the more willing people are to help you. The important thing is something that Goethe said: 'Whatever dream you have or think you can do, begin it. Boldness has great genious, power, and magic in it.' "Thank you all for your research assistance and for being a small part of my journey. I look forward to hopefully seeing you some day."

For more information on Claytor's journey, visit his web page at
Marion Fraley, The Haverford School, 450 W. Lancaster Ave., Haverford, PA 19041.
(610) 642-4583, ext. 317.

National Geographic Channel (Thailand) "Power of a Dream" Project with students under age 12 in Thailand. In September 2000, Students were asked to write to Tom Claytor about their dreams. Tom had quoted Albert Einstein's saying "imagination is more important than knowledge" on the Thai National Geographic Channel and invited students to share their dreams with him. The two winners get to fly with Tom and he visit their school in Thailand. These are samples of the some of the 2,000 cards received (including the two winners).

(clockwise beginning with Top Right) of some of the Thai cards received kindly provided by Khun Saelee via Naomi San in USA. Note - there were two winners. The first, Nong Nantida, was invited to fly with Tom. The second, Nong Panchoke, was visited by Tom and Khun Paramee up at his school in Chiang Rai where Tom and Khun Paramee gave a presentation on "Power of a Dream" and nature conservation in Thailand.

1) (INDIVIDUAL WINNER - Nong Nantida) I always watch the National Geographic programs. They give me much useful information. My highest dream is to be an astronaut. I want to fly all over the universe. I want to go see the stars far in space to see if there is anything interesting living in the stars. And the most interesting planet that I want to see is Saturn and to be able to stand on its ring.

2) Hello, I have been watching the National Geographic program that is why I wrote to you about my dream. I want to go to Egypt to see the great pyramids of Cairo and the Sphinx. Thank you. From, Nit.

3) Hello, I have been watching the National Geographic program. That is why I am sending you a postcard about my dream. My dream is to go and see the Milky Way in space. And to see how it is, looks like, and how it happened.

4) Hello, I want to fly with Tom Claytor to go see Greenland because it is the biggest island in the world. I don't know much about this island and want to know the area and see which areas are pretty or to see the interesting areas.

5) Hello, my highest hope is to go to Mount Everest and to see how high is Mount Everest. I wonder why so many people are wanting to climb this mountain. Maybe when I grow up, I would like to climb Mount Everest.

6) Hello, my highest dream is to fly around the world with Tom Claytor.

7) I want to be a bird.

9) (SCHOOL WINNER - Nong Panchoke) Hello, I want to be a dinosaur researcher. I want to dig dinosaur bones and find the secrets of them and many other hidden things under the earth. I would like to go from place to place and study. Some day I might be able to show others
about the things I found.