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The Time Travel Club

by Charlie Jane Anders

Author spotlight

Published in Dec. 2015 (Issue 67) | 9800 words © 2013 by Charlie Jane Anders. Originally published in Asimov’s Science Fiction . Reprinted by permission of the author.

Nobody could decide what should be the first object to travel through time. Malik offered his car keys. Jerboa held up an action figure. But then Lydia suggested her one-year sobriety coin, and it seemed too perfect to pass up. After all, the coin had a unit of time on it, as if it came from a realm where time really was a denomination of currency. And they were about to break the bank of time forever, if this worked.

Lydia handed over the coin, no longer shiny due to endless thumb-worrying. And then she had a small anxiety attack. “Just as long as I get it back,” she said, trying to keep the edge out of her voice.

“You will,” said Madame Alberta with a smile. “This coin, we send a mere one minute into the future. It reappears in precisely the same place from which it disappears.”

Lydia would have been nervous about the first test of the time machine in Madame Alberta’s musty dry laundry room in any case. After all they’d been through to make this happen, the stupid thing had to work. But now, she felt like a piece of herself—a piece she had fought for—was about to vanish, and she would need to have faith. She sucked at having faith.

Madame Alberta took the coin and placed it in the airtight glass cube—six by six by six, that they’d built where the washer/dryer were supposed to be. The balsa-walled laundry room was so crammed with equipment, there was scarcely room for four people to hunch over together. Once the coin was sitting on the floor of the cube, Madame Alberta walked back towards the main piece of equipment, which looked like a million vacuum cleaner hoses attached to a giant slow-cooker.

“I keep thinking about what you were saying before,” Lydia said to Malik, trying to distract herself. “About wanting to stand outside history and see the empires rising and falling from a great height, instead of being swept along by the waves. But what if this power to send things, and people, back and forth across history makes us the masters of reality? What if we can make the waves change direction, or turn back entirely? What then?”

“I chose your group with great care,” Madame Alberta. “As I have said. You have the wisdom to use this technology properly, all of you.”

Madame Alberta pulled a big lever. A whoosh of purple neon vapor into the glass cube, followed by a “klorrrrrp” sound like someone opening a soda can and burping at the same time—in exactly the way that might suggest they’d had enough soda already—and the coin was gone.

“Wow,” said Malik. His eyebrows went all the way up so his forehead concertina-ed, and his short dreads did a fractal scatter.

“It just vanished,” said Jerboa, bouncing with excitement, floppy hat flopping. “It just . . . It’s on its way.”

Lydia wanted to hold her breath, but there was so little air in here that she was already light-headed. This whole wooden-beamed staircase-flanked basement area felt like a soup of fumes.

Lydia really needed to pee, but she didn’t want to go upstairs and risk missing the sudden reappearance of her coin, which would be newer than everything else in the world by a minute. She held it, swaying and squirming. She looked down at her phone, and there were just about thirty seconds left. She wondered if they should count down. But that was probably too tacky. She really couldn’t breathe at this point, and she was starting to taste candyfloss and everything smelled white.

“Just ten seconds left,” Malik said. And then they did count down, after all. “Nine . . . eight . . . seven . . . six . . . five! Four! Three! Two! ONE!”

They all stopped and stared at the cube, which remained empty. There was no “soda-gas” noise, no sign of an object breaking back into the physical world from some netherspace.

“Um,” said Jerboa. “Did we count down too soon?”

“It is possible my calculations,” said Madame Alberta, waving her hands in distress. Her fake accent was slipping even more than usual. “But no. I mean, I quadruple-checked. They cannot be wrong.”

“Give it a minute or two longer,” said Malik. “I’m sure it’ll turn up.” As if it was a missing sock in the dryer, instead of a coin in the cube that sat where a dryer ought to be.

They gave it another half an hour, as the knot inside Lydia got bigger and bigger. At one point, Lydia went upstairs to pee in Madame Alberta’s tiny bathroom, facing a calendar of exotic bird paintings. And eventually, Lydia went outside to stand in the front yard, facing the one-lane highway, cursing. Why had she volunteered her coin? And now, she would never see it again.

Lydia went home and spent an hour on the phone processing with her sponsor, Nate, who kept reassuring her, in a voice thick as pork rinds, that the coin was just a token and she could get another one and it was no big deal. These things have no innate power, they’re just symbols. She didn’t mention the “time machine” thing, but kept imagining her coin waiting to arrive, existing in some moment that hadn’t been reached yet.

Even after all of Nate’s best talk-downs, Lydia couldn’t sleep. And at three in the morning, Lydia was still thinking about her one-year coin, floating in a state of indeterminacy—and then it hit her, and she knew the answer. She turned on the light, sat up in bed and stared at the wall of ring-pull talking-animal toys facing her bed. Thinking it through again and again, until she was sure.

At last, Lydia couldn’t help phoning Jerboa, who answered the phone still half asleep and in a bit of a panic. “What is it?” Jerboa said. “What’s wrong? I can find my pants, I swear I can put on some pants and then I’ll fix whatever.”

“It’s fine, nothing’s wrong, no need for pants,” Lydia said. “Sorry to wake you. Sorry, I didn’t realize how late it was.” She was totally lying, but it was too late anyhow. “But I was thinking. Madame Alberta said the coin moved forward in time one minute, but it stayed in the same physical location. Right?”

“That’s right,” said Jerboa. “Same place, different time. Only moving in one dimension.”

“But,” said Lydia. “What if the Earth wasn’t in the same place when the coin arrived? I mean . . . Doesn’t the Earth move around the sun?”

“Yeah, sure. And the Earth rotates. And the sun moves around the galactic disk. And the galaxy is moving too, towards Andromeda and the Great Attractor,” said Jerboa. “And space itself is probably moving around. There’s no such thing as a fixed point in space. But Madame Alberta covered that, remember? According to Einstein, the other end of the rift in time ought to obey Newton’s first law, conservation of momentum. Which means the coin would still follow the Earth’s movement, and arrive at the same point. Except . . . Wait a minute!”

Lydia waited a minute. After which, Jerboa still hadn’t said anything else. Lydia had to look at her phone to make sure she hadn’t gotten hung up on. “Except what?” she finally said.

“Except that . . . the Earth’s orbit and rotation are momentum, plus gravity . Like, we actually accelerate towards the sun as part of our orbit, or else our momentum would just carry us out into space. And Madame Alberta said her time machine worked by opting out of the fundamental forces, right? And gravity is one of those. Which would mean . . . Wait a minute, wait a minute.” Another long, weird pause, except this time Lydia could hear Jerboa breathing heavily and muttering sotto voce.

Then Jerboa said, “I think I know where your medallion is, Lydia.”

“Right where we left it. On the roof of Madame Alberta’s neighbor’s house.”

Lydia had less than ninety days of sobriety under her belt, when she first met the Time Travel Club. They met in the same Unitarian basement as Lydia’s twelve-step group: a grimy cellar, with a huge steam pipe running along one wall and intermittent gray carpeting that looked like a scale map of plate tectonics. Pictures of purple hands holding a green globe and dancing scribble children hung askew, by strands of peeling Scotch tape. Boiling hot in summer, drafty in winter, it was a room that seemed designed to make you feel desperate and trapped. But all the twelve-steppers laughed a lot, in between crying, and afterwards everybody shared cigarettes and sometimes pie. Lydia didn’t feel especially close to any of the other twelve-steppers (and she didn’t smoke) but she felt a desperate lifeboat solidarity with them.

The Time Travel Club always showed up just as the last people from Lydia’s twelve-step meeting were dragging their asses up out of there. Most of the time travelers wore big dark coats and furry boots that seemed designed to look equally ridiculous in any time period. Lydia wasn’t even sure why she stayed behind for one of their meetings, since it was a choice between watching people pretend to be time travelers and eating pie. Nine times out of ten, pie would have won over fake time travel. But Lydia needed to sit quietly by herself and think about the mess she’d made of her life before she tried to drive, and the Time Travel Club was as good a place as any.

Malik was a visitor from the distant past—the Kushite Kingdom of roughly 2,700 years ago. The Kushites were a pretty swell people, who made an excellent palm-wine that tasted sort of like cognac. And now Malik commuted between the Kushite era, the present day, and the thirty-second century, when there was going to be a neo-Kushite revival going on and the dark, well-cheekboned Malik would become a bit of a celebrity.

The androgynous and pronoun-free Jerboa looked tiny and bashful inside a huge brown hat and high coat collar. Jerboa spent a lot of time in the Year One Million, a time period where the parties were excellent and people were considerably less hung up on gender roles. Jerboa also hung out in the 1920s and the early 1600s, on occasion.

And then there was Normando, a Kenny Rogers-looking dude who was constantly warping back to this one party in 1973 where he’d met this girl, who had left with an older man just as Young Normando was going to ask her to bug out with him. And now Normando was convinced he could be that older man. If he could just find that one girl again.

Lydia managed to shrink into the background at the first Time Travel Club meeting, without having to say anything. But a week later, she decided to stick around for another meeting, because it was better than just going home alone and nobody was going for pie this time.

This time, the others asked Lydia about her own journeys through time, and she said she didn’t have a time machine and if she did, she would just use it to make the itchy insomniac nights end sooner, so she could wander alone in the sun rather than hide alone in the dark.

Oh, they said.

Lydia felt guilty about harshing their shared fantasy like that, to the point where she spent the next week obsessing about what a jerk she’d been and even had to call Nate once or twice to report that she was a terrible person and she was struggling with some Dark Thoughts. She vowed not to crash the Time Travel Club meeting again, because she was not going to be a disruptive influence.

Instead, though, when the twelve-step meeting ended and everybody else straggled out, Lydia said the same thing she’d said the previous couple weeks: “Nah, you guys go on. I’m just going to sit for a spell.”

When the time travelers arrived, and Malik’s baby face lit up with his opening spiel about how this was a safe space for people to share their space/time experiences, Lydia stood up suddenly in the middle of his intro, and blurted: “I’m a pirate. I sail a galleon in the nineteenth century, I’m the first mate. They call me Bad Bessie, even though I’m named Lydia. Also, I do extreme solar-sail racing a couple hundred years from now. But that’s only on weekends. Sorry I didn’t say last week. I was embarrassed because piracy is against the law.” And then she sat down, very fast. Everybody applauded and clapped her on the back and thanked her for sharing. This time around, there were a half dozen people in the group, up from the usual four or five.

Lydia wasn’t really a pirate, though she did work at a pirate-themed adult bookstore near the interstate called the Lusty Doubloon, with the O’s in “Doubloon” forming the absurdly globular breasts of its tricorner-hatted mascot. Lydia got pretty tired of shooting down pick-up lines from the type of men who couldn’t figure out how to find porn on the internet. Something about Lydia’s dishwater-blonde hair and smattering of monster tattoos apparently did it for those guys. The shower in Lydia’s studio apartment was always pretty revolting, because the smell of bleach or Lysol reminded her of the video booths at work.

Anyway, after that, Lydia started sticking around for Time Travel Club every week, as a chaser for her twelve-step meeting. It helped get her back on an even keel so she could drive home without shivering so hard she couldn’t see the road. She even started hanging out with Malik and Jerboa socially—Malik was willing to quit talking about palm wine around her, and they all started going out for fancy tea at the place at the mall, the one that put the leaves inside a paper sachet that you had to steep for exactly five minutes or Everything Would Be Ruined. Lydia and Jerboa went to an all-ages concert together, and didn’t care that they were about ten years older than everybody else there—they’d obviously misaligned the temporal stabilizers and arrived too late, but still just in time. “Just in time” was Jerboa’s favorite catchphrase, and it was never said without a glimpse of sharp little teeth, a vigorous nod, and a widening of Jerboa’s brown-green eyes.

For six months, the Time Travelers’ meeting slowly became Lydia’s favorite thing every week, and these weirdos became her particular gang. Until one day, Madame Alberta showed up and brought the one thing that’s guaranteed to ruin any Time Travel Club ever: an actual working time machine.

Lydia’s one-year coin was exactly where Jerboa had said it would be: on the roof of the house next door to Madame Alberta’s, nestled in some dead leaves in the crook between brick gable and the upward slope of rooftop. She managed to borrow the neighbor’s ladder, by sort of explaining. The journey through the space/time continuum didn’t seem to have messed up Lydia’s coin at all, but it had gotten a layer of grime from sitting overnight. She cleaned it with one of the sanitizing wipes at work, before returning it to its usual front pocket.

About a week later, Lydia met up with Malik and Jerboa for bubble tea at this place in the Asian Mall, where they also served peanut honey toast and squid balls and stuff. Lydia liked the feeling of the squidgy tapioca blobs gliding up the fat straw and then falling into her teeth. Alien larvae. Never to hatch. Alien tadpoles squirming to death in her tummy.

None of them had shown up for Time Travel Club, the previous night. Normando had called them all in a panic, wanting to know where everybody was. Somehow Malik had thought Jerboa would show up, and Jerboa had figured Lydia would stick around after her other meeting.

“It’s just . . .” Malik looked into his mug of regular old coffee, with a tragic expression accentuated by hot steam. “What’s the point of sharing our silly make-believe stories about being time travelers, when we built an actual real time machine, and it was no good?”

“Well, the machine worked,” Jerboa said, looking at the dirty cracked tile floor. “It’s just that you can’t actually use it to visit the past or the future, in person. Lydia’s coin was displaced upwards at an angle of about thirty-six degrees by the Earth’s rotation and orbit around the sun. The further forward and backward in time you go, the more extreme the spatial displacement, because the distance traveled is the square of the time traveled. Send something an hour and a half forward in time, and you’d be over 400 kilometers away from Earth. Or deep underground, depending on the time of day.”

“So if we wanted to travel a few years ahead,” Lydia said, “we would need to send a spaceship. So it could fly back to Earth from wherever it appeared.”

“I doubt you’d be able to transport an object that size,” said Jerboa. “From what Madame Alberta explained, anything more than about 216 cubic feet or about 200 pounds, and the energy costs go up exponentially.” Madame Alberta hadn’t answered the door when Lydia went to get her coin back. None of them had heard from Madame Alberta since then, either.

Not only that, but once you were talking about traversing years rather than days, then other factors—such as the sun’s acceleration toward the center of the galaxy and the galaxy’s acceleration towards the Virgo Supercluster—came more into play. You might not ever find the Earth again.

They all sat for a long time, listening to the Canto-Pop and their own internal monologues about failure. Lydia was thinking that an orbit is a fragile thing, after all. You take centripetal force for granted at your peril. She could see Malik, Jerboa, and herself preparing to drift away from each other once and for all. Free to follow their separate trajectories. Separate futures. She had a clawing certainty that this was the last time the three of them would ever see each other, and she was going to lose the Time Travel Club forever.

And then it hit her, a way to turn this into something good. And keep the group together.

“Wait a minute,” said Lydia. “So we don’t have a machine that lets a person visit the past or future. But don’t people spend kind of a lot of money to launch objects into space? Like, satellites and stuff?”

“Yes,” said Jerboa. “It costs tons of money just to lift a pound of material out of our gravity well.” And then for the first time that day, Jerboa looked up from the floor and shook off the curtain of black hair so you could actually see the makings of a grin. “Oh. Yeah. I see what you’re saying. We don’t have a time machine, we have a cheap, simple way to launch things into space. You just send something a few hours into the future, and it’s in orbit. We can probably calculate exact distances and trajectories, with a little practice. The hard part will be achieving a stable orbit.”

“So?” Malik said. “I don’t see how that helps anything . . . Oh. You’re suggesting we turn this into a money-making opportunity.”

Lydia couldn’t help thinking of the fact that her truck needed an oil change and a new headpipe and four new tires and the ability to start when she turned the key in the ignition. And she needed never to go near the Lusty Doubloon again. “It’s better than nothing,” she said. “Until we figure out what else this machine can do.”

“Look at it this way,” Jerboa said to Malik. “If we are able to launch a payload into orbit on a regular basis, then that’s a repeatable result. A repeatable result is the first step towards being able to do something else. And we can use the money to reinvest in the project.”

“Well,” Malik said. And then he broke out into a smile, too. Radiant. “If we can talk Madame Alberta into it, then sure.”

They phoned Madame Alberta a hundred times and she never picked up. At last, they just went to her house and kept banging on the door until she opened up.

Madame Alberta was drunk. Not just regular drunk, but long-term drunk. Like she had gotten drunk a week ago, and never sobered up. Lydia took one look at her, one whiff of the booze fumes, and had to go outside and dry heave. She sat, bent double, on Madame Alberta’s tiny lawn, almost within view of the St. Ignatius College science lab that they’d stolen all that gear from a few months earlier. From inside the house, she heard Malik and Jerboa trying to explain to Madame Alberta that they had figured out what happened to the coin. And how they could turn it into kind of a good thing.

They were having a hard time getting through to her. Madame Alberta’s fauxropean accent was basically gone, and she sounded like a bitter old drunk lady from New Jersey who just wanted to drink herself to death.

Eventually, Malik came out and put one big hand gently on Lydia’s shoulder. “You should go home,” he said. “Jerboa and I will help her sober up, and then we’ll talk her through this. I promise we won’t make any decisions until you’re there to take part.”

Lydia nodded and got in her rusty old Ford, which rattled and groaned and finally came to a semblance of life long enough to let her roll back down the highway to her crappy apartment. Good thing it was pretty much downhill all the way.

When Madame Alberta first visited the Time Travel Club, nobody quite knew what to make of her. She had olive skin, black hair, and a black beauty mark on the left side of her face, which tended to change its location every time Lydia saw her. And she wore a dark headscarf, or maybe a snood, and a long black dress with a slit up one side.

That first meeting, her Eurasian accent was the thickest and fakest it would ever be: “I have the working theory of the time machine. And the prototype that is, how you say, half-built. I need a few more pairs of hands to help me complete the assembly, but also I require the ethical advice.”

“Like a steering committee,” said Jerboa, perking up with a quick sideways head motion.

“Even so,” said Madame Alberta. “Much like the Unitarian Church upstairs, the time machine has need of a steering committee.”

At first, everybody assumed Madame Alberta was just sharing her own time-travel fantasy—albeit one that was a lot more elaborate, and involved a lot more delayed gratification, than everybody else’s. Still, the rest of the meeting was sort of muted. Lydia was all set to share her latest experiences with solar-sail demolition derby, the most dangerous sport that would ever exist. And Malik was having drama with the Babylonians, either in the past or the future, Lydia wasn’t sure which. But Madame Alberta had a quiet certainty that threw the group out of whack.

“I leave you now,” said Madame Alberta, bowing and curtseying in a single weird arm-sweeping motion that made her appear to be the master of a particularly esoteric drunken martial arts style. “Take the next week to discuss my proposition. Be aware, though: This will be the most challenging of ventures.” She whooshed out of the room, long flowy dress trailing behind her.

Nobody actually spent the week between meetings debating whether they wanted to help Madame Alberta build her time machine—instead, Lydia kept asking the other members whether they could find an excuse to kick her out of the group. “She freaks me out, man,” Lydia said on the phone to Malik on Sunday evening. “She seems for real mentally not there.”

“I don’t know,” Malik said. “I mean, we’ve never kicked anybody out before. There was that one guy who seemed like he had a pretty serious drug problem last year, with his whole astral projection shtick. But he stopped coming on his own, after a couple times.”

“I just don’t like it,” said Lydia. “I have a terrible feeling she’s going to ruin everything.” She didn’t add that she really needed this group to continue the way it was, that these people were becoming her only friends, and the only reason she felt like the future might actually really exist for her. She didn’t want to get needy or anything.

“Eh,” said Malik. “It’s a time travel club. If she becomes a problem, we’ll just go back in time and change our meeting place last year, so she won’t find us.”

“Good point.”

It was Jerboa who found the article in the Berkeley Daily Voice—a physics professor who lectured at Berkeley and also worked at Lawrence Livermore had gone missing in highly mysterious circumstances, six months earlier. And the photo of the vanished Professor Martindale—dark hair, laughing gray eyes, narrow mouth—looked rather a lot like Madame Alberta, except without any beauty mark or giant scarf.

Jerboa emailed the link to the article to Lydia and Malik. “Do you think . . .?” the email read.

The next meeting came around. Besides the three core members and Madame Alberta, there was Normando, who had finally tracked down that hippie chick in 1973 and was now going on the same first date with her over and over again, arriving five minutes earlier each time to pick her up. Lydia did not think that would actually work in real life.

The others waited until Normando had run out of steam describing his latest interlude with Starshine Ladyswirl and wandered out to smoke a (vaguely postcoital) cigarette, before they started interrogating Madame Alberta. How did this alleged time machine work? Why was she building it in her laundry room instead of at a proper research institution? Had she absconded from Berkeley with some government-funded research, and, if so, were they all going to jail if they helped her?

“Let us say, for the sake of the argument,” Madame Alberta played up her weird accent even as her true identity as a college professor from Camden was brought to light, “that I had developed some of the theory of the time travel while on the payroll of the government. Yes? In that hypothetical situation, what would be the ethical thing to do? You are my steering committee, please to tell me.”

“Well,” Malik said. “I don’t know that you want the government to have a time machine.”

“Yeah, yeah,” Jerboa said. “They already have warrantless wiretaps and indefinite detention. Imagine if they could go back in time and spy on you in the past. Or kill people as little children.”

“Well, but,” Lydia said, “I mean, wouldn’t it still be your responsibility to share your research?” But the others were already on Madame Alberta’s side.

“As to how it works,” Madame Alberta reached into her big black trench coat and pulled out a big rolled-up set of plans covered in equations and drawings, which meant nothing to anybody. “Shall we say that it was the accidental discovery? One was actually working on a project for the Department of Energy aimed at finding a way to eliminate the atomic waste. And instead, one stumbled on a method of using spent uranium to create an opening two Planck lengths wide, lasting a few fractions of a microsecond, with the other end a few seconds in the future.”

“Uh huh,” Lydia said. “So . . . you could create a wormhole too tiny to see, that only allowed you to travel a few seconds forward in time. That’s, um . . . useful, I guess.”

“But then! One discovers that one might be able to generate a much larger temporal rift, opting out of the fundamental forces, and it would be stable enough to move a person or a moderate-sized object either forward or backward in time, anywhere from a few minutes to a few thousand years, in the exact same physical location,” said Madame Alberta. “One begins to panic, imagining this power in the hands of the government. This is all the hypothetical situation, of course. In reality, one knows nothing of this Professor Martindale of whom you speaks.”

“But,” said Lydia. “I mean, why us? I mean, assuming you really do have the makings of a time machine in your laundry room. Why not reach out to some actual scientists?” Then she answered her own question: “Because you would be worried they would tell the government. Okay, but the world is full of smart amateurs and clever geeks. And us? I mean, I work the day shift at a . . .” she tried to think of a way to say “pirate-themed sex shop” that didn’t sound quite so horrible. “And Malik is a physical therapist. Jerboa has a physics degree, sure, but that was years ago, and more recently Jerboa’s been working as a case worker for teenagers with sexual abuse issues. Which is totally great. But I’m sure you can find bigger experts out there.”

“One has chosen with the greatest of care,” Madame Alberta fixed Lydia with an intense stare, like she could see all the way into Lydia’s damaged core. (Or maybe, like someone who was used to wearing glasses but had decided to pretend she had 20/20 vision.) “You are all good people, with the strong moral centers. You have given much thought to the time travel, and yet you speak of it without any avarice in your hearts. Not once have I heard any of you talk of using the time travel for wealth or personal advancement.”

“Well, except for Normando using it to get in Ladyswirl’s pants,” said Malik.

“Even as you say, except for Normando.” Madame Alberta did another one of her painful-to-watch bow-curtseys. “So. What is your decision? Will you join me in this great and terrible undertaking, or not?”

What could they do? They all raised their hands and said that they were in.

Ricky was the Chief Fascination Evangelist for Garbo.com, a web startup for rich paranoid people who wanted to be left alone. (They were trying to launch a premium service where you could watch yourself via satellite 24/7, to make sure nobody else was watching you.) Ricky wore denim shirts, with the sleeves square-folded to the elbows, and white silk ties with black corduroys, and his neck funneled out of the blue-jean collar and led to a round pale head, shaved except for wispy sideburns. He wore steel-rimmed glasses. He had a habit of swinging his arms back and forth and clapping his hands when he was excited, like when he talked about getting a satellite into orbit.

“Everybody else says it’ll take months to get our baby into space,” Ricky told Malik and Lydia for the fifth or sixth time. “The Kazakhs don’t even know when they can do it. But you say you can get our Garbo-naut 5000 into orbit . . .”

“. . . next week,” Malik said yet again. “Maybe ten days from now.” He canted his palms in mid-air, like it was no big deal. Launching satellites, whatever. Just another day, putting stuff into orbit.

“Whoa.” Ricky arm-clapped in his chair. “That is just insane. Seriously. Like, nuts.”

“We are a hungry new company.” Malik gave the same bright smile that he used to announce the start of every Time Travel Club meeting. They had been lucky to find this guy. “We want to build our customer base from the ground up. All the way from the ground into space. Because we’re a space company. Right? Of course we are. And did I mention we’re hungry?”

“Hungry is good.” Ricky seemed to be studying Malik, and the giant photo of MJL Aerospace’s non-existent rocket, a retrofitted Soyuz. “The hungry survive, the fat starve. Or something. So when do I get to see this rocket of yours?”

“You can’t, sorry,” Malik said. “Our, uh, chief rocket scientist is kind of leery about letting people see our proprietary new fuel system technology up close. But here’s a picture of it.” He gestured at the massive rocket picture on the fake-mahogany wall behind his desk, which they’d spent hours creating in Photoshop and After Effects. MJL Aerospace was subletting ultra-cheap office space in an industrial park, just up the highway from the Lusty Doubloon.

Malik, Lydia, and Jerboa had been excited about becoming a fake rocket company, until they’d started considering the practical problems. For one thing, nobody will hire you to launch a satellite unless you’ve already launched a satellite before—it’s like how you can’t get an entry-level job unless you’ve already had work experience.

Plus, they weren’t entirely sure that they could get a satellite into a stable orbit, which was one of the dozen reasons Malik was sweating. They could definitely place a satellite at different points in orbit, and different trajectories, by adjusting the time of day, the distance traveled, and the location on Earth they started from. But after that, the satellite wouldn’t be moving fast enough to stay in orbit on its own. It would need extra boosters, to get up to speed. Jerboa thought they could send a satellite way higher—around 42,000 kilometers away from Earth—and then use relatively small rockets to speed it up to the correct velocity as it slowly dropped to the correct orbit. But even if that worked, it would require Garbo.com to customize the Garbo-naut 5000 quite a bit. And Madame Alberta had severe doubts.

“Sorry, man,” said Ricky. “I’m not sure I can get my people to authorize a satellite launch based on just seeing a picture of the rocket. It’s a nice picture, though. Good sense of composition. Like, the clouds look really pretty, with that one flock of birds in the distance. Poetic, you know.”

“Of course you can see the rocket,” Lydia interjected. She was sitting off to one side taking notes on the meeting, wearing cheap pantyhose in a forty-dollar swivel chair. With puffy sleeves covering her tattoos (one for every country she’d ever visited.) “Just maybe not before next week’s launch. If you’re willing to wait a few months, we can arrange a site visit and stuff. We just can’t show you the rocket before our next launch window.”

“Right,” Malik said. “If you still want to launch next week, though, we can give you a sixty-percent discount.”

“Sixty percent?” Ricky said, suddenly seeming interested again.

“Sixty-five percent,” Malik said. “We’re a young hungry company. We have a lot to prove. Our business model is devouring the weak. And we hate to launch with spare capacity.”

Maybe going straight to sixty-five percent was a mistake, or maybe the “devouring the weak” thing had been too much. In any case, Ricky seemed uneasy again. “Huh,” he said. “So how many test launches have you guys done? My friend who works for NASA says every rocket launch in the world gets tracked.”

“We’ve done a slew of test launches,” Malik said. “Like, a dozen. But we have some proprietary stealth technology, so people probably missed them.” And then, he went way off script. “Our company founder, Augustus Marzipan IV, grew up around rockets. His uncle was Wernher von Braun’s wine steward. So rockets are in his blood.” Ricky’s frown got more and more pinched.

“Well,” Ricky said at last, standing up from his cheap metal chair. “I will definitely bring your proposal to our Senior Visionizer, Terry. But I have a feeling the V.C.s aren’t going to want to pay for a launch without kicking the tires. I’m not the one who writes the checks, you know. If I wrote the checks, a lot of things would be different.” And then he paused, probably imagining all the things that would happen if he wrote the checks.

“When Augustus Marzipan was only five years old, his pet Dalmatian, Henry, was sent into space. Never to return,” said Malik, as if inventing more stories would cushion his fall off the cliff he’d already walked over. “That’s where our commitment to safety comes from.”

“That’s great,” said Ricky. “I love dogs.” He was already halfway out the door.

As soon as Ricky was gone, Malik sagged as though the air had gone out of him. He rubbed his brow with one listless hand. “We’re a young hungry company,” he said. “We’re a hungry young company. Which way sounds better? I can’t tell.”

“That could have gone worse,” Lydia said.

“I can’t do this,” Malik said. “I just can’t. I’m sorry. I am good at pretending for fun. I just can’t do it for money. I’m really sorry.”

Lydia felt like the worst person in the world, even as she said: “Lots of people start out pretending for fun, and then move into pretending for money. That’s the American dream.” The sun was already going down behind the cement fountain outside, and she realized she was going to be late for her twelve-step group soon. She started pulling her coat and purse and scarf together. “Hey, I gotta run. I’ll see you at Time Travel Club, okay?”

“I think I’m going to skip it,” Malik said. “I can’t. I just . . . I can’t.”

“What?” Lydia felt like if Malik didn’t come to Time Travel Club, it would be the proof that something was seriously wrong and their whole foundation was splitting apart. And it would be provably her fault.

“I’m just too exhausted. Sorry.”

Lydia came over and sat on the desk, so she could see Malik’s face behind his hand. “Come on,” she pleaded. “Time Travel Club is your baby. We can’t just have a meeting without you. That would be weird. Come on. We won’t even talk about being a fake aerospace company. We couldn’t talk about that in front of Normando, anyway.”

Malik sighed, like he was going to argue. Then he lifted the loop of his tie all the way off, now that he was done playing CEO. For a second, his rep-stripe tie was a halo. “Okay, fine,” he said. “It’ll be good to hang out and not talk business for a while.”

“Yeah, exactly. It’ll be mellow,” Lydia said. She felt the terror receding, but not entirely.

Normando was freaking out, because his girlfriend in 1973 had dumped him. (Long story short, his strategy of arriving earlier and earlier for the same first date had backfired.) A couple of other semi-regulars showed up too, including Betty the Cyborg from the Dawn of Time. And Madame Alberta showed up too, even though she hadn’t ever shown any interest in visiting their aerospace office. She sat in the corner, studying the core members of the group, maybe to judge whether she’d chosen wisely. As if she could somehow go back and change that decision, which of course she couldn’t.

Malik tried to talk about his last trip to the thirty-second century. But he kept staring at his CEO shoes and saying things like, “The neo-Babylonians were giving us grief. But we were young and hungry.” And then trailing off, like his heart just wasn’t in it.

Jerboa saw Malik running out of steam, and jumped in. “I met Christopher Marlowe. He told me that his version of Faust originally ended with Dr. Faust and Helen of Troy running away together and teaching geometrically complex hand-dances in Shropshire, and they made him change it.” Jerboa talked very fast, like an addict trying to stay high. Or a comedian trying not to get booed offstage. “He told me to call him ‘Kit,’ and showed me the difference between a doublet and a singlet. A doublet is not two singlets, did you know that?”

Sitting in the Unitarian basement, under the purple dove hands, Lydia watched Malik starting to say things and then just petering out, with a shrug or a shake of the head, and Jerboa rattling on and not giving anybody else a chance to talk. Guilt.

And then, just as Lydia was crawling out of her skin, Madame Alberta stood up. “I have a thing to confess,” she said.

Malik and Lydia stared up at her, fearing she was about to blow the whistle on their scam. Jerboa stopped breathing.

“I am from an alternative timeline,” Madame Alberta said. “It is the world where the American Revolution did not happen, and the British Empire had the conquest of all of South America. The Americas, Africa, Asia—the British ruled all. Until the rest of Europe launched the great world war to stop the British imperialism. And Britain discovered the nuclear weapons and Europe burned, to ashes. I travel many times, I travel through time, to try and change history. But instead, I find myself here, in this other universe, and I can never return home.”

“Uh,” Malik said. “Thanks for sharing.” He looked relieved and weirded out.

At last, Madame Alberta explained: “It is the warning. Sometimes you have the power to change the world. But power is not an opportunity. It is a choice.”

After that, nobody had much to say. Malik and Jerboa didn’t look at Lydia or each other as they left, and nobody was surprised when the Time Travel Club’s meeting was cancelled the following week, or when the club basically ceased to exist some time after that.

Malik, Jerboa, and Lydia sat in the front of Malik’s big van on the grassy roadside, waiting for Madame Alberta to come back and tell them where they were going. Madame Alberta supposedly knew where they could dig up some improperly buried spent uranium from the power plant, and the back of the van was full of pretty good safety gear that Madame Alberta had scared up for them. The faceplates of the suits glared up at Lydia from their uncomfortable resting place. The three of them were psyching themselves up to go and possibly irradiate the shit out of themselves.

Worth it, if the thing they were helping to build in Madame Alberta’s laundry room was a real time machine and not just another figment.

“You guys never even asked,” Lydia said around one in the morning, when they were all starting to wonder if Madame Alberta was going to show up. “I mean, about me, and why I was in that twelve-step group before the Time Travel Club meetings. You don’t know anything about me, or what I’ve done.”

“We know all about you,” Malik said. “You’re a pirate.”

“You do extreme solar sail sports in the future,” Jerboa added. “What else is there to know?”

“But,” Lydia said. “I could be a criminal. I might have killed someone. I could be as bad as that astral projection guy.”

“Lydia,” Malik put one hand on her shoulder, like super gently. “We know you.”

Nobody spoke for a while. Every few minutes, Malik turned on the engine so they could get some heat, and the silence between engine starts was deeper than ordinary silence.

“I had blackouts,” Lydia said. “Like, a lot of blackouts. I would lose hours at a time, no clue where I’d been or how I’d gotten here. I would just be in the middle of talking to people, or behind the wheel of a car in the middle of nowhere, with no clue. I worked at this high-powered sales office, we obliterated our targets. And everybody drank all the time. Pitchers of beer, of martinis, of margaritas. The pitcher was like the emblem of our solidarity. You couldn’t turn the pitcher away, it would be like spitting on the team. We made so much money. And I had this girlfriend, Sara, with this amazing red hair, who I couldn’t even talk to when we were sober. We would just lie in bed naked, with a bottle of tequila propped up between us. I knew it was just a matter of time before I did something really unforgivable during one of those blackouts. Especially after Sara decided to move out.”

“So what happened?” Jerboa said.

“In the end, it wasn’t anything I did during a blackout that caused everything to implode,” Lydia said. “It was what I did to keep myself from ever having another blackout. I got to work early one day, and I just lit a bonfire in the fancy conference room. And I threw all the contents of the company’s wet bar into it.”

Once again, nobody talked for a while. Malik turned the engine on and off a couple times, which made it about seven minutes of silence. They were parked by the side of the road, and every once in a while a car simmered past.

“I think that’s what makes us such good time travelers, actually.” Jerboa’s voice cracked a little bit, and Lydia was surprised to see the outlines of tears on that small brown face, in the light of a distant highway detour sign. “We are very experienced at being in the wrong place at the wrong time, and at doing whatever it takes to get ourselves to the right place, and the right time.”

Lydia put her arm around Jerboa, who was sitting in the middle of the front seat, and Jerboa leaned into Lydia’s shoulder so just a trace of moisture landed on Lydia’s neck.

“You wouldn’t believe the places I’ve had to escape from in the middle of the night,” Jerboa said. “The people who tried to fix my, my . . . irregularities. You wouldn’t believe the methods that have been tried. People can justify almost anything, if their perspective is limited enough.”

Malik wrapped his hand on Jerboa’s back, so it was like all three of them were embracing. “We’ve all had our hearts broken, I guess,” he said. “I was a teacher, in one of those Teach For America-style programs. I thought we were all in this together, that we had a shared code. I thought we were altruists. Until they threw me under a bus.”

And it was then that Malik said the thing about wanting to stand outside history and see the gears grinding from a distance, all of the cruelty and all of the edifices that had been built on human remains. The true power wouldn’t be changing history, or even seeing how it turned out, but just seeing the shape of the wheel.

They sat for a good long time in silence again. The engine ticked a little. They stayed leaning into each other, as the faceplates watched.

Lydia started to say something like, “I just want to hold on to this moment. Here, now, with the two of you. I don’t care about whatever else, I just want this to last.” But just as she started to speak, Madame Alberta tapped on the passenger-side window, right next to Lydia’s head, and gestured at her car, which was parked in front of theirs. It was time to suit up, and go get some nuclear waste.

Lydia didn’t see Malik or Jerboa for a month or so, after Madame Alberta told her weird story about Europe getting nuked. MJL Aerospace shuttered its offices, and Lydia saw the rocket picture in a dumpster as she drove to the Lucky Doubloon. She redoubled her commitment to going to a twelve-step meeting every goddamn day. She finally called her mom back, and went to a few bluegrass concerts.

Lydia got the occasional panicked call from Normando, or even one of the other semi-regulars, wondering what happened to the club, but she just ignored it.

Until one day Lydia was driving to work, on the day shift again, and she saw Jerboa walking on the side of the road. Jerboa kicked the shoulder of the road over and over, kicking dirt and rocks, not looking ahead. Hips and knees jerking almost out of their sockets. Inaudible curses spitting at the gravel.

Lydia pulled over next to Jerboa and honked her horn a couple times, then rolled down the window. “Come on, get in.” She turned down the bluegrass on her stereo.

Jerboa gave a gesture between a wave and a “go away.”

“Listen, I screwed up,” Lydia said. “That aerospace thing was a really bad idea. It wasn’t about the money, though, you have to believe me about that. I just wanted to give us a new project, so we wouldn’t drift apart.”

“It’s not your fault.” Jerboa did not get in the truck. “I don’t blame you.”

“Well, I blame myself. I was being selfish. I just didn’t want you guys to run away. I was scared. But we need to figure out a way to turn the space travel back into time travel. We can’t do that, unless we work together.”

“It’s just not possible,” Jerboa said. “For any amount of time displacement beyond a few hours, the variables get harder and harder to calculate. The other day, I did some calculations and figured out that if you traveled a hundred years into the future, you’d wind up around one-tenth of a light year away. That’s just a back-of-the-envelope thing, based on our orbit around the sun.”

“Okay, so one problem at a time.” Lydia stopped her engine, gambling that it would restart. The bluegrass stopped mid-phrase. “We need to get some accurate measurements of exactly where stuff ends up, when we send it forwards and backwards in time. But to do that, first we need to be able to send stuff out, and get it back again.”

“There’s no way,” Jerboa said. “It’s strictly a one-way trip.”

“We’ll figure out a way,” Lydia said. “Trial and error. We just need to open a second rift close enough to the first rift to bring our stuff back. Yeah? Once we’re good enough, we send people. And eventually, we send people, along with enough equipment to build a telescope in deep space, so we can spy on Earth in the distant past or the far future.”

“There are so many steps in there, it’s ridiculous,” Jerboa said. “Every one of those steps might turn out to be just as impossible as the satellite thing turned out to be. We can’t do this with just the four of us, we don’t have enough pairs of hands. Or enough expertise.”

“That’s why we recruit,” said Lydia. “We need to find a ton more people who can help us make this happen.”

“Except,” said Jerboa, fists clenched and eyes red and pinched, “we can’t trust just any random people with this. Remember? That’s why Madame Alberta brought it to us in the first place, because the temptation to abuse this power would be too great. You could destroy a city with this machine. How on Earth do we find a few dozen people who we can trust with this?”

“The same way we found each other,” Lydia said. “The same way Madame Alberta found us. The Time Travel Club.”

Jerboa finally got into the truck and snapped the seatbelt into place. Nodding slowly, like thinking it over.

Ricky from Garbo.com showed up at a meeting of the Time Travel Club, several months later. He didn’t even realize at first that these were the same people from MJL Aerospace—maybe he’d seen the articles about the club on the various nerd blogs, or maybe he’d seen Malik’s appearance on the basic cable TV show GeekUp! . Or maybe he’d listened to one of their podcasts. They were doing lots and lots of things to expand the membership of the club, without giving the slightest hint about what went on in Madame Alberta’s laundry room.

Garbo.com had gone under by now, and Ricky was in grad school. He’d shaved off the big sideburns and wore square Elvis Costello glasses now.

“So I heard this is like a LARP, sort of,” Ricky said to Lydia as they were getting a cookie from the cookie table before the meeting started—they’d had to move the meetings from the Unitarian basement to a middle school basketball court, now that they had a few dozen members. Scores of folding chairs, in rows, facing a podium. And they had a cookie table. “You make up your time travel stories, and everybody pretends they’re true. Right?”

“Sort of,” Lydia said. “You’ll see. Once the meeting starts, you cannot say anything about these stories not being true. Okay? It’s the only real rule.”

“Sure thing,” Ricky said. “I can do that. I worked for a dotcom startup, remember? I’m good at make-believe.”

And Ricky turned out to be one of the more promising new recruits, weirdly enough. He spent a lot of time going to the eighteenth century and teaching Capability Brown about feng shui. Which everybody agreed was probably a good thing for the Enlightenment.

Just a few months after that, Lydia, Malik, and Jerboa found themselves already debating whether to show Ricky the laundry room. Lydia was snapping her third-hand spacesuit into place in Madame Alberta’s sitting room, with its caved-in sofa and big-screen TV askew. Lydia was happy to obsess over something else, to get her mind off the crazy thing she was about to do.

“I think he’s ready,” Lydia said of Ricky. “He’s committed to the club.”

“I would certainly like to see his face when he finds out how we were really going to launch that satellite into orbit,” said Malik, grinning.

“It’s too soon,” Jerboa said. “I think we ought to wait six months, as a rule, before bringing anyone here. Just to make sure someone is really in tune with the group, and isn’t going to go trying to tell the wrong people about this. This technology has an immense potential to distort your sense of ethics and your values.”

Lydia tried to nod, but it was hard now that the bulky collar was in place. This spacesuit was a half a size too big, with boots that Lydia’s feet slid around in. The crotch of the orange suit was almost M.C. Hammer wide on her, even with the adult diaper they’d insisted she should wear just in case. The puffy white gloves swallowed her fingers. And then Malik and Jerboa lowered the helmet into place, and Lydia’s entire world was compressed to a gray tinted rectangle. Goodbye, peripheral vision.

She wondered what sort of tattoo she would get to commemorate this trip.

“Ten minutes,” Madame Alberta called from the laundry room. And indeed, it was ten to midnight.

“Are you sure you want to do this?” Jerboa said. “It’s not too late to call it off.”

“I’m the only one this suit sort of fits,” Lydia said. “And I’m the most expendable. And yes. I do want to be the first person to travel through time.”

After putting so many weird objects into that cube, thousands of them before they’d managed to get a single one back, Lydia felt strange about clambering inside the cube herself. She had to hunch over a bit. Malik waved and Jerboa gave a tiny thumbs up. Betty the Cyborg from the Dawn of Time checked the instruments one last time. Steampunk Fred gave a thumbs up on the calculations. And Madame Alberta reached for the clunky lever. Even through her helmet, Lydia heard a greedy soda-belch sound.

A thousand years later, Lydia lost her hold on anything. She couldn’t get her footing. There was no footing to get. She felt ill immediately. She’d expected the microgravity, but it still made her feel revolting. She felt drunk, actually. Like she didn’t know which way was up. She spun head over ass. If she drifted too far, they would never pull her back. But the tiny maneuvering thrusters on her suit were useless, because she had no reference point. She couldn’t see a damn thing through this foggy helmet, just blackness. She couldn’t find the sun, or any stars, for a moment. Then she made out stars. And more stars.

She spun. And somersaulted. No control at all. Until she tried the maneuvering thrusters, the way Jerboa had explained. She tried to turn a full 360, so she could try and locate the sun. She had to remember to breathe normally. Every part of her wanted to hyperventilate.

When she’d turned halfway around on her axis, she didn’t see the sun. But she saw something else. At first, she couldn’t even make sense of it. There were lights blaring at her. And things moving. And shapes. She took a few photos with the camera Malik had given her. The whole mass was almost spherical, maybe egg-shaped. But there were jagged edges. As Lydia stared, she made out more details. Like, one of the shapes on the outer edge was the hood of a 1958 Buick, license plate and all. There were pieces of a small passenger airplane bolted on as well, along with a canopy made of some kind of shiny blue material that Lydia had never seen before. It was just a huge collection of junk welded together, protection against cosmic rays and maybe also decoration.

Some of the moving shapes were people. They were jumping up and down. And waving at Lydia. They were behind a big observation window at the center of the egg, a slice of see-through material. They gestured at something below the window. Lydia couldn’t make it out at first. Then she squinted and saw that it was a big glowy sign with blocky letters made of massive pixels.

At first, Lydia though the sign read, “WELCOME TIME TRAVEL CLUB.” Like they knew the Time Travel Club was coming, and they wanted to prepare a reception committee.

Then she squinted again, just as another rift started opening up to pull her back, a purple blaze all around her, and she realized she had missed a word. The sign actually read, “WELCOME TO TIME TRAVEL CLUB.” They were all members of the Club, too, and they were having another meeting. And they were inviting her to share her story, any way she could.

—Thanks to Dr. Dave Goldberg for trouble-shooting the physics. Thanks also to Rochelle Underwood, Bruce White, Karen Burnham, and David Calkins for advice on aerospace issues. And thanks to Naamen Tilahun and Liz Henry for feedback!

  • Spotlight with Charlie Jane Anders
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Charlie Jane Anders

Charlie Jane Anders, Photo Credit: Sarah Deragon/Portraits to the People

Charlie Jane Anders is the author of Victories Greater than Death and its sequel, Dreams Bigger Than Heartbreak (out April 2022). Her previous books include All the Birds in the Sky and The City in the Middle of the Night . She’s also the author of a short story collection called Even Greater Mistakes , and a book about how to use creative writing to get through hard times called Never Say You Can’t Survive . She co-hosts the podcast Our Opinions Are Correct with Annalee Newitz.

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These Private Travel Clubs Are Exclusive — and Affordable

If unrivaled access and seamless planning sound like your style, perhaps it’s time to sign up for a private travel group.

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Andria Gutierrez is a marketing executive in Lake Tahoe, California, who loves to travel — but doesn't love the time suck of researching vacations. "When I was younger, I planned all my own trips," she says. "But now that I own a business, I just don't have the spare hours anymore."

That's why she recently joined Allcall , which offers personalized itineraries and exclusive deals to members. She's already taken three Allcall trips, including a multi-state ski trip and a vacation in Baja California, Mexico. "The team is incredibly helpful and responsive," Gutierrez says. "They make the planning process so efficient."

While some established outfits like Exclusive Resorts and Wheels Up have catered to the ultra-wealthy for years, a number of new clubs are opening their doors. One reason is, of course, a new obsession with safety.

"Health has become the paramount concern of our members," says Melissa Biggs Bradley, founder of Indagare , which plans and books trips for its members. "We have a ton of information on COVID protocols, and the team takes care of understanding those, even as they change all the time."

There are other factors at play. "I'd traveled independently for decades," says Suzy Kellems Dominik, an artist from New York City. But hearing about an opportunity to visit Modena, Italy, with acclaimed chef Massimo Bottura of Osteria Francescana was enough to convince her to join Prior , a company that started in 2019.

"What's so interesting is that they have this access," Kellems Dominik says. "It's intellectual and emotional travel — the imagination is just endless — and they curated a group of very interesting people who were all like-minded around food."

That ability to open doors is also drawing travelers who don't normally think of themselves as joiners. Around half of all millennials are now considering signing up for some form of travel club, according to one industry survey, outpacing the interest from Gen Xers and baby boomers. Even Exclusive Resorts, which charges an extra hefty fee per day for trips on top of the cost of membership, has seen a surge of interest from young families. In 2020, the company notched its best December in nine years, despite the pandemic.

So which of these clubs is right for you? It all depends on what you're looking for — and how much you're ready to invest.

For Upscale Private Stays

Exclusive Resorts has a portfolio of over 400 vacation homes, plus members-only cruises and expeditions. Inspirato has the keys to villas in over 180 locations; members can also jump aboard cruises arranged by the company. A more affordable choice is Koala , which allows travelers to book one-off stays in timeshares all over the globe.

For a Like-Minded Community

El Camino began as a small-group-trip operator focused on helping women to travel to new places, but has since unveiled El Camino Travel Clubhouse, a platform that allows members to participate in virtual events and chats about upcoming trips. Manifest , which debuted in August 2020, has chapters in cities across the United States. "We create a social aspect, with people getting to know each other outside of just traveling together," founder Jeff Potter says.

For Feel-good Trips

The upstart wellness website and app MyLifeWell went live in 2020 with virtual fitness classes and a selection of workout gear. Now it connects subscribers with travel advisors who specialize in booking wellness retreats at Canyon Ranch properties, among others.

For the Commitment-phobic

The high cost of clubs has historically been a barrier to signing up. But in the spring of 2020, Prior lowered its price tag in an effort to draw together a more diverse group of adventurers. "I don't want a club in the sense of shutting people out," founder David Prior says. Travel + Leisure Co. launched its own affordable subscription club, promising preferential rates and insider experiences around the world.

A version of this story first appeared in the June 2020 issue of Travel + Leisure under the headline Join the Club.

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Welcome to the city break

T here’s a unique kind of thrill to zipping off to the airport or train station after work one day, and waking up in a new city the next. Welcome to the modern city break: a few days stuffed full of culture, great food and drink, interesting people and, most importantly, a brilliant time.

Budget airlines have made European city breaks far easier for much of the UK, so the prospect of a long weekend in lively cities such as Lisbon , Rome or Krakow is an intoxicating one. Or, closer to home, swap London for Leicester, Bristol for Belfast or Cambridge for Cardiff — there’s nothing like a few days spent learning another city’s rhythms to make you appreciate home turf.

Scroll down to see a selection of guides to our favourite cities and destinations.

Main photo: A Primavera do Jeronimo restaurant in Lisbon, Portugal (Alamy)

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Timeshares vs. Vacation Clubs vs. Travel Clubs

10 Min Read | Apr 4, 2023


These days, most people have heard enough horror stories about timeshares to know you should run for the hills whenever someone tries to sell you one.

When it comes to vacation clubs and travel clubs, though, things are a little different. Those programs have started popping up a lot over the last few years, and they’re billed as the way to achieve R and R. Resorts, airlines and other companies in the travel industry advertise these members-only clubs as great alternatives to timeshares and play up their discounted travel options .

But here’s the truth: Vacation clubs and travel clubs are, by definition, timeshares. There are some differences between them—but nothing that makes them any better. And in some ways, they’re even worse. You’ll get all the restrictions, money traps and sneaky fees of a regular timeshare —but wait! There’s more! You’ll get some extra ones too—including creative new ones you’ve probably never heard of. 

Now, all that might surprise you if you’ve heard only good things about these clubs or you’re thinking of buying a membership. So let’s dig into the details. We’ll show you how these clubs work, how they waste a ton of your money, and why you’re better off keeping your distance.

How Timeshares and Clubs Work

A timeshare is a single property you visit year after year. You purchase a time-sharing agreement, then pay maintenance fees. After all that, you own the right to vacation at the property during preset times, usually a week or two each year.

Not only does the insane cost of owning a timeshare make it a complete rip-off (thanks to a boatload of hidden fees and restrictions), but the timeshare industry is also full of fraud and often uses unethical sales practices. Stay far away.

Vacation Clubs

A vacation club is a type of timeshare. But instead of paying to use a single property, like a traditional timeshare, you get access to multiple properties in multiple locations. Don’t be fooled though: Vacation clubs stink just as badly as timeshares since they also come with a ton of fees and restrictions.

Travel Clubs

Travel clubs are a type of vacation club. They have a lot of the same expenses and destinations, but members of a travel club vacation together. The company gets them group rates, so they usually pay less for memberships and fees than vacation club members.

The Risks of Vacation Clubs and Travel Clubs

Timeshares, vacation clubs and travel clubs all sell people the idea of a fairy-tale vacation at a bargain price, but these “dream” vacations come with nightmarish problems. Here are some of the biggest:

  • They limit where you can travel. A lot of vacation club companies make it sound like you can travel anywhere in the world using their plan, but it’s just not true. Sure, vacation clubs give you more options than a traditional timeshare, but you can only travel to locations where the vacation club company has a property. And even the biggest companies don’t have properties everywhere.
  • They’ve got restricted travel dates. Even though you technically “own” a timeshare or club membership after you buy it, you can’t use it whenever you want. That’s because you have to work around the other owners’ schedules and any blackout dates set in place by the timeshare company. No thanks.
  • They don’t always let you bring your family. Here’s an area where vacation and travel clubs are worse than timeshares. Did you know many clubs only give the membership to the person who paid for it? That means, unlike with a timeshare, you can’t bring anyone you want along for a trip to some club destinations. And depending on the club, these restrictions can also apply to your immediate family! 
  • They’re hard to get out of. This one’s the kicker. It can be really difficult to get out of a timeshare or club membership if you decide you don’t like it. There’s a reason one of the first things you’ll see if you search the internet for “timeshares” is a list of companies dedicated to helping folks get out of them.

Vacation Club Costs

Not only do timeshares, vacation clubs and travel clubs have a bunch of confusing risks and restrictions, but they also charge a ton of fees! Let’s take a look at all the costs involved in owning a timeshare or club membership, many of which are totally ridiculous. They include:

  • Initial purchase price
  • Financing costs
  • Closing costs
  • Maintenance fees
  • Point redemption fees

Initial Purchase Price

This is the actual cost of purchasing ownership in a timeshare, vacation club or travel club. It’s the biggest expense in owning a timeshare, but once you pay it, the timeshare is yours. Of course, there are plenty of other fees you’ll still have to pay even after dropping cash on the initial purchase price—more on those fees in a moment.

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The average initial purchase price of a seven-day timeshare is $24,140. 1 With vacation and travel clubs, the price depends on the company you’re buying from. For example, Disney Vacation Club’s typical initial purchase price starts around $32,000. 2 A Hilton Grand Vacations membership averages $22,000. 3 And some vacation clubs also charge an annual membership fee on top of the initial purchase price.

Financing Costs

Now, most folks who buy timeshares don’t have $20,000 just lying around, so they wind up financing the initial purchase price. That means they make a down payment and turn the remaining amount into debt that they pay off in monthly installments. It’s just like a car loan or a student loan —but way worse.

Why? Because timeshare financing usually carries a ridiculous interest rate. Take Disney Vacation Club as an example. While they advertise interest rates that start at 10% (which is still terrible, by the way), the fine print will tell you that some members could get slapped with an 18% interest rate! 4 That’s almost as bad as credit cards —which, for comparison, have a 20.4% average interest rate. 5

So, while a monthly payment of $400–500 may not sound like a big deal, you’ll be racking up interest the whole time. That’s a huge part of how these companies make money.

Closing Costs

Are you ready to pay your initial purchase fee and jump into vacationing? Hold your horses, partner. There’s still more money to fork over.

Next, you’ll pay closing costs to finalize the sale of the club membership or timeshare. And closing costs aren’t cheap—close to $1,000 in some cases. For example, Disney Vacation Club sometimes charges over $850 for closing costs. 6

There aren’t even this many hoops to jump through at the National Dog Show!

Maintenance Fees

One of the “perks” of owning a timeshare or club membership is that, even though you technically own part of the property, you don’t have to worry about cleaning or other maintenance when you’re not using it. It seems like a great benefit, but don’t think for a second you won’t pay for it.

Maintenance fees are timeshare and vacation club companies’ way of charging you for the upkeep of their properties, and these suckers are expensive. The average timeshare annual maintenance fee is a whopping $1,000. 7

Here’s the kicker with maintenance fees: You have to pay them as long as you own the timeshare. That’s right—even if you pay cash for your timeshare or membership, or pay off your loan, you’ll still owe annual maintenance fees.

Alicia, a member of our Ramsey Baby Steps Community on Facebook, found that out when she paid off her vacation club membership in 2021. She called the club company after making her final payment and asked if she’d still owe her $875 maintenance fee. Spoiler: She did.

“I paid it off two years early, then I asked, ‘Do I still have to pay the maintenance fees?’ And they said yes,” Alicia said. “I get irritated when we have to hit ‘submit’ on the payment.”

Point Redemption Fees

Somehow, there’s still another fee left to go over, and this one is the most ridiculous of them all. A lot of vacation clubs operate based on a points system. Each year, members are awarded a set number of points. Then, when a member wants to take a vacation, they redeem those points to book time at a property.

Here’s the problem: Sometimes, vacation clubs charge their members a fee to redeem their points. That’s right—you have to pay even more money just to use the points that you already paid for! It’s complete nonsense, right? And yet, plenty of people sign up for these plans year after year. 

This is just dumb, folks. Don’t fall for this garbage.

Are Vacation Clubs Worth It?

No! One more time for the people in the back: No! One more time for everyone else who still didn’t hear: No!

Even if you stumble onto a timeshare or club that isn’t a scam, it’s still a horrible financial decision. Let’s take a look at why.

For this example, we’ll say you bought a vacation club membership and agreed to pay a $400 monthly payment over 15 years with a $1,000 annual maintenance fee. Over the course of a year, that comes out to $5,800.

What if, instead of sending $5,800 to the vacation club company, you just bought a $3,000 vacation yourself and kept the remaining $2,800? That $3,000 would probably buy you a pretty nice vacation, and you’d have a ton of extra money to put toward other important financial goals like getting out of debt or saving for retirement .

In fact, $2,800 invested annually for 15 years in good mutual funds with a 10% rate of return comes out to nearly $100,000, according to our investment calculator . So, if you bought a vacation club, you’d be wasting almost $100,000 of investment potential on nothing.

Do you see how the math just doesn’t make any sense here? Especially when you consider that those numbers didn’t include membership fees, point redemption fees, closing costs, or interest. And don’t forget, clubs and timeshares almost always cover only your lodging—your costs for food, travel and attractions will likely only be discounted (not free) with these programs.

At their worst, timeshares and vacation clubs are fraudulent scams. At their best, they’re complete rip-offs. This is a lose-lose scenario if we’ve ever seen one.

The Better Way to Pay for Vacations

Like we just talked about, saving up and paying cash for your vacations is a much better way to travel than buying a timeshare or club membership—and it’s not close. But saving money isn’t always easy, and it can be super difficult if you aren’t living on a budget by making a plan for your money at the beginning of every month.

If you’ve never made a budget before—or if you want a tool that makes it a whole lot easier—downloading the free EveryDollar app is a great place to start. EveryDollar lets you set up a budget in minutes so you can get a jump start on saving up for that next big trip. Plus, the premium version allows you to connect your bank account to the app so it automatically tracks your transactions.

So, instead of dealing with these timeshare and vacation club companies, give them the cold shoulder by getting on a budget and saving up to pay for vacations without them.

Download EveryDollar today!

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Ramsey Solutions

About the author

Ramsey Solutions has been committed to helping people regain control of their money, build wealth, grow their leadership skills, and enhance their lives through personal development since 1992. Millions of people have used our financial advice through 22 books (including 12 national bestsellers) published by Ramsey Press, as well as two syndicated radio shows and 10 podcasts, which have over 17 million weekly listeners. Learn More.

The Truth About Timeshares

The first word that should come to your head when you hear the word timeshares should be RUN! Run far, far away! If you run fast enough, you can eventually escape that annoying, high-pressure salesperson!


Timeshare Maintenance Fees: The Ugly Truth

A timeshare is a guaranteed vacation spot, but it’s also a guarantee you’ll be slapped with hefty maintenance fees every year. Here’s what you need to know.

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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 at the turn of the millennium, 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 to 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 our house, out of the concentric circles of our family, village, town, nation, religion, ideology.

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.

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 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 (Turkey, Spain, Greece, Georgia, Portugal and Latvia), providing free accommodation to a total of 1,000+ travelers from 80+ countries;
  • We have completed two short documentaries: No life (Mauritania, 2018) and See you all in Shenzhen (China, 2022);
  • We have been maintaining this website for almost two decades, 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.


  • 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!
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We recently published our first English book: Bantustan, Atlas of an African Journey . It is an illustrated travelogue with a collection of hand-drawn maps, available on Amazon. Find out more at www.bantustanbook.com .

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10 travel memberships that are worth the money

Leila Najafi

November 11, 2021 // By Leila Najafi

By Leila Najafi November 11, 2021

The Salon at PS

We live in a subscription-obsessed world and there’s a subscription for everything you can imagine, from razors to clothing and even hot sauces. Travel memberships are on the rise, providing new ways to ease some of the stress that comes with traveling these days and help make the journey more seamless.

Whether you’re willing to pay a premium for exclusive travel experiences that provide a little more privacy or you're more budget-conscious and want to find the best travel deals, there’s a membership for every type of traveler. Here are 10 travel memberships that are worth considering.

Wheels Up King Air 350i on runway

Wheels Up offers private jet charter memberships so travelers can access a fleet of aircrafts, including a King Air 350i, an 8-passenger Citation Excel/XLS, and one of the fastest aircrafts, the Citation X. Wheels Up uses a dynamic pricing model offering competitive rates, so members can book flights on-demand with the flexibility to pay as they go.

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Additional m embership benefits include invites to signature events, President’s Circle status with Hertz, a complimentary trial of Inspirato Club subscription for 12 months (Core members only), certain perks at select Waldorf Astoria hotels across North America, a partnership with Delta SkyMiles, dedicated partnership rates with Porsche and more.

Membership cost: Three membership options are available – Connect, Core and Business. The Connect membership requires a one-time initiation fee of $2,995 and annual dues of $2,495 which begin on year two. The Core membership has an initiation fee of $17,500 and annual dues of $8,500 which begin on year two. The Business membership requires an initiation fee of $29,500 and $14,500 for subsequent years and includes up to six lead passengers.

A private suite at PS at LAX

Getting through airport security lines can be a drag, especially during holiday weekends and a pandemic that has increased the demand for more seclusion when traveling. PS (formerly known as Private Suite) is designed for first and business class travelers who are seeking privacy and convenience, allowing them to bypass LAX altogether.

Travelers check into a private terminal where they can relax in a fully-stocked luxury private suite that includes complimentary in-suite meals catered by h.wood Group , as well as additional services upon request such as in-suite massages, manicures and detailing services for personal cars. PS also provides a designated on-site TSA and Customs agent for expedited screening.

Upon boarding, travelers are transported across the tarmac directly to their aircraft in a BMW 7 Series sedan. Earlier this year, the Salon at PS launched, which features a new full-service lounge at the terminal for travelers who want the same benefits of PS but seek a more social experience.

Membership cost: Annual membership costs $4,500, which gives members access to a preferred rate of $3,250 for a one-way Suite experience for up to four travelers. The Salon is available to members and non-members for $695 per use per person.

Vail Grand View Great Room

Inspirato is a subscription-based luxury travel service that gives members exclusive access to over 150,000 luxury vacation homes and resorts around the world that are staffed by Inspirato. There are two membership types: Inspirato Club and Inspirato Pass. The former gives you access to the luxury residences and hotels around the world, on-site concierge and daily housekeeping with additional benefits such as late check-in and check-out, room upgrades, spa credits and more. However, members also pay nightly room rates.

With the Inspirato Pass, you automatically get the benefits of Inspirato Club plus nightly rates are already factored into the price of membership, so you can book as many vacations as possible in one month with one active reservation at a time. There is also no long-term commitment, so you can cancel the membership at any time.

Membership cost: Inspirato Club membership is $600/month plus a $600 enrollment fee and you pay nightly rates as you go. Inspirato Pass is a flat rate of $2,500/month which includes all hotel stays.

Scott’s Cheap Flights

Scott and Brian

A membership to Scott’s Cheap Flights includes flight deals and “Mistake Fares” accidentally published by airlines sent straight to your inbox. The team scours the internet for the lowest published airfare rates to popular destinations and shares them with members.

Subscribers can also track deals from a specific airport close to home or destinations of interest. A membership to Scott’s Cheap Flights is best for travelers who have flexibility on the destination and dates and are willing to fly based on low airfare rates. Flight deals don’t last long so you’ll have to act fast.

Membership cost: There are three membership tiers including Limited which is free, Premium costs $49/year and Elite $199/year.

PRIOR was started by a former travel editor who saw a gap in the market for travelers wanting a more immersive experience during their vacation. A team of experienced travel editors and local tastemakers on the ground design itineraries for curious travelers.

A PRIOR WORLD membership includes access to curated destination guides, unique local experiences in cities around the world, pre-planned group trips led by experts and for an additional fee, the team can create a custom itinerary based on your interests.

If you're a frequent traveler, PRIOR BESPOKE might be the membership better suited for you. For a flat fee per year, members get unlimited trip planning by their expert team of travel editors and membership managers.

Membership cost: PRIOR WORLD membership costs $249 per annum. PRIOR BESPOKE is $5,000 per annum.

Priority Pass

The Club MCO Lounge at Orlando International Airport, accessible via Priority Pass

Airport terminals may have come a long way in the last decade, but killing time for a three-hour layover in a crowded airport isn’t exactly on anyone’s list of things to do, especially on vacation. Trade the busy terminals for private lounge access with Priority Pass and enjoy guaranteed Wi-Fi and snacks.

Members of Priority Pass receive access to over 1,300 airport lounges globally, including several airline lounges such as Virgin Atlantic, Air France and Turkish Airlines. Several credit cards like the Chase Sapphire Reserve, American Express Platinum and Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express offer free Priority Pass memberships as part of their member benefits.

Membership cost: Choose from three membership tiers which start at $99/year for the Standard membership plus $32 per visit and go up to $429/year for the Prestige membership which includes unlimited lounge visits.

CLEAR touchless identification

TSA Pre-Check and Global Entry are services that allow travelers to expedite the security screening process upon departure and arrival. With CLEAR Plus, enrolled members get escorted to the front of the security line once they’ve been verified using facial recognition or fingerprint scans, so they no longer have to verify identification at security. However, for expedited clearance through security screenings, TSA Pre-Check or Global Entry are still required.

CLEAR uses biometric identifiers to create a unique ID assigned to each member that is used for verification at stations across airports, stadiums and other major venues nationwide.

Membership cost: A CLEAR Plus membership is $179 per year. American Express Platinum Card Members receive a $179 statement credit and United MileagePlus members receive a discounted membership rate.

Well Traveled

Well Traveled Lists

Well Traveled is a members-only social and booking platform that allows members to connect with friends to find and share travel recommendations. The community-driven platform is intended to make travel planning easier by allowing you to follow people in your network that you trust, in addition to other like-minded travelers who share similar budgets and travel preferences.

Members can also take advantage of the personalized booking service that includes perks like exclusive rates, room upgrades, food & beverage credits, complimentary breakfast and more. Currently, membership is invite-only but you can also apply to be considered.

Membership cost: $150 per year.

Travel + Leisure Club

T+L Club login

Travel + Leisure Club is a new travel subscription service offered by Travel + Leisure Group. Members can pay a monthly fee for access to preferred pricing on curated itineraries and an average of 25% savings on hotels, resorts, car rentals and activities that are listed on Travel + Leisure GO, the online travel booking site. Plus, members get a subscription to the glossy print magazine.

Members also get access to a personal concierge that can assist with travel planning, scoring tickets to sold-out events, making dinner reservations and more.

Membership cost: Travel + Leisure Club is currently offering an introductory rate of $9.95/month.

Exclusive Resorts

Lake Tahoe Northstar Mountainside Treehouse

Designed for families who value privacy, Exclusive Resorts is a small community of members (only 150 new members accepted each year) that get access to over 350 luxury residences around the world including the Amalfi Coast, Barcelona, Deer Valley, Kaua’i, Los Cabos, St. Barts and more.

Guests enjoy a more personalized experience with a dedicated on-site team who can assist with pre-trip planning details such as stocking the fridge with your favorite snacks, booking a massage or private chef, and housekeeping services.

Membership cost: There is a one-time, non-refundable initiation fee of $150,000 for a 10-year membership. Annual dues are $1,395/night and members travel 15-30 nights per year.

Leila Najafi

About Leila Najafi

Leila Najafi is a luxury travel writer based in LA who is a member of more subscription services than she'd like to admit.

Read more about Leila Najafi here.

Connect with Leila via: Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | TikTok

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We put our heart and soul into everything we do, taking care of every detail to ensure your trip is perfectly planned, tailored and truly exceptional.

Wouldn’t it be nice to have everything taken care of when you travel? Beyond booking hotel rooms and flight seats, The Travel Club enhances your travel experience and gives you access to the best. We take your travel needs very personally and make sure the package suits your needs. Be it leisure, corporate and group travels, or planning local and overseas corporate events, or even weddings and honeymoons, we leave no stone unturned to make sure your vacation or event is simply memorable.

The Travel Club opens a world of destinations; our upscale set packages have everything you need to match your expectations, and, if you have a special customized travel request, all you have to do is pick the destination and the activities that you’re interested in during your trip, and leave the rest to us. As each trip starts with a personal consultation, just tell us your requirements and we will take care of everything; understanding your needs and offering unparalleled advice to create your perfect holiday.


Our Mission: “ To turn your special travel requests into everlasting memories. ”

Our Vision: “ To craft exceptional travel experiences. ”

Since 2006 we’ve been crafting exceptional travel experiences for travelers. Our team of travel designers has operated around 16000 tours in the past 13 years, giving us a wealth of experience to draw upon when we plan our amazing trips and tours.

Our Values: “ A commitment to exceeding your expectations. ” Through updating you with the hottest deals, planning your trip from A to Z, following up with you on the smallest details we are committed to guarantee you the ultimate level of comfort and satisfaction every time you travel with us.


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Time Travel Adventures Of The 1800 Club: Book I

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Robert McAuley

Time Travel Adventures Of The 1800 Club: Book I Kindle Edition

  • Book 1 of 22 Time Travel Adventures Of The 1800 Club
  • Print length 254 pages
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  • Publication date November 24, 2013
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Time Travel Adventures Of The 1800 Club: Book I

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  • ASIN ‏ : ‎ B0071DLTTK
  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Robert P. McAuley; 1st edition (November 24, 2013)
  • Publication date ‏ : ‎ November 24, 2013
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • File size ‏ : ‎ 543 KB
  • Text-to-Speech ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • Screen Reader ‏ : ‎ Supported
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  • Sticky notes ‏ : ‎ On Kindle Scribe
  • Print length ‏ : ‎ 254 pages
  • #2,894 in Theater (Kindle Store)
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  • #3,925 in Drama & Plays (Kindle Store)

About the author

Robert mcauley.

Robert was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York and now resides on Long Island, New York. He is a retired art director of a weekly magazine in which he often wrote short stories and book reviews. Robert has written twenty-three e-books titled: The Time Travel Adventures Of The 1800 Club, Books 1 - 17. He also wrote, Aviation Facts & Rumors: Book 1, Aviation Facts & Rumors: Book 2, Vampire's Bloodline, The Dripping Sands Of Time and A New Jersey Yankee in King Author's Court and Romance In A Ghost Town. I have started to convert my books into a soft cover version to give the reader a choice of ebook or soft cover book.

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14 of the best kids’ clubs in Europe

We’ve handpicked europe’s very best hotels and resorts with kids’ clubs, from mountaintop chalets to beachfront surf spots, each with a big-smile guarantee.

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W hat used to be a swing set and a DVD cupboard now resembles a theme park in the sun — it’s certainly fair to say kids’ clubs have come a long way. At some hotels the focus is on education by stealth, teaching kids about ancient mythology, conservation or science in such imaginative ways that they don’t even realise they’re learning. Other kids’ clubs rely on star names to impress your children, offering top training at tennis, football and dance academies. You can expect aqua parks, water slides, soft play and gaming stations. And most importantly? You can expect time off. After all, it’s your holiday too.

Main photo: Neilson Alana Beach Club

The Yeatman (Booking.com)

1. The Yeatman, Porto, Portugal

Best for city-centre location The Yeatman’s sense of fun is plain, from its decanter-shaped infinity pool with underwater porthole windows, to the elevator designed like a hot-air balloon with ropes and all. This goes beyond design too, with a genuinely family-friendly atmosphere (the hotel is owned and run by various generations of a Porto dynasty) and pretty gardens that feel like a resort rather than a city-centre five-star. At the kids’ club, children take treasure hunts through olive groves of millennia-old trees, giving parents time to enjoy the spa with its port-barrel hot tubs and wine-inspired treatments.

Pool Y Price B&B doubles from £265

Amada Colossos (Expedia)

2. Amada Colossos, Rhodes

Best for value This brilliant-value five-star beach resort really comes into its own for families whose kids are not yet school age — plus, the weather is still warm well into November in Rhodes — so set your sights on spring and autumn for the best rates. But even during school holidays, Amada Colossos is a winner, with three kids’ clubs (for children aged four months to four years, four to ten, and ten plus), a five-slide waterpark, children’s movie nights, beach volleyball and tennis courts. There are also dedicated family and adult-only areas in the many pools and restaurants, so even parents can look forward to me time when offspring are otherwise engaged.


Pool Y Price B&B doubles from £129

Ikos Dassia (Expedia)

3. Ikos Dassia, Corfu

Best for families Of course, every one of these hotels with kids’ clubs is great for families — the clue’s in the name — but Ikos Dassia wins the title because Nanny will love it just as much as the newborns. For starters, it’s all-inclusive, so multi-gen groups needn’t worry about bills or differing budgets. And then there are the extras, such as Tesla cars, free to guests to explore Corfu island, as well as a Dine Out programme, which includes authentic local restaurants in your all-inclusive package. The kids’ club is Ofsted-standard (and split by toddlers, tweens and teens) and the hotel offers 30 minutes of free daily childcare on the beach or by the pool to every family.

Pool Y Price all-inclusive doubles from £495

Lujo Bodrum (Booking.com)

4. Lujo Bodrum, Turkey

Best for kids’ club haters Lujo even managed to get this writer’s child — staunch opponent of all kids’ clubs on an international level — through its doors, so we can vouch for its genius. The attraction is in its sheer size and freedom to do as you wish; it’s more like a kids’ hotel within a hotel. So, there’s a music room (with drum kit), an art room, dedicated spaces for science and Lego, a dance academy, ceramics, basketball court and wood workshop, in addition to sessions around the grounds that focus on planting or yoga. The picturesque spot of this luxury all-inclusive among pines near Bodrum on the Aegean coast — with countless private beaches — is a plus point for parents too, who are rested and ready to see kids when they emerge.

Pool Y Price all-inclusive doubles from £690

Eagles Resort (British Airways Holidays)

5. Eagles Resort, Halkidiki, Greece

Best for authentic Greece There are lots of upmarket, family-friendly resorts in Greece — many with impressive kids’ offerings, but many with such a loyal British clientele that you’ve always the sensation you’ll run into someone you know by the soft play. Greek-owned and independent, as well as being located on the furthest of Halkidiki’s three “fingers” of land (thus harder to reach), Eagles Villas feels much more Grecian and smaller-scale too, with a gorgeous shelving beach out to waters where dolphins play (go out on the hotel boat and they’ll come swim in your wake). The kids’ club only takes guests aged up to 12, yet still splits them in two-year bands so they’re only with close peers; we also love the Aqua Explorers arm of the club, making the most of the Med, teaching snorkel, stand-uppaddleboarding, kayaking, sailing and even scuba and triathlon training for older ones.

Pool Y Price half-board doubles from £128

Borgo Egnazia (British Airways Holidays)

6. Borgo Egnazia, Puglia

Best for style What more do you need to know than Victoria Beckham brought her brood to Borgo? Seduced by the sensational spa, sumptuous architecture (all built in ancient limestone) and the option for big groups — or big egos — to rent vast villas on this divine Italian estate, she and the mini-Beckhams lived la dolce vita here back in 2020. If you can’t stretch to a palazzo, even the standard rooms are spacious, while some one-bed Corte suites are like little townhouses and perfect for families with one child. There are three kids’ clubs — for under-sevens, tweens, and teens — the Trullaleri, for the youngest, being most popular with its design and magical activities being inspired by Puglia ’s fairytale trullo houses.

Pool Y Price B&B doubles from £290

Marbella Club (Expedia)

7. Marbella Club, Spain

Best for luxury There are two sides to the Costa del Sol: the “no-Carbs-before-Marbs” crew, with big muscles and big cars; and the glamorous old-school Marbella, once frequented by Brigitte Bardot, a coastal escape for well-heeled Spanish families. Marbella Club hosts the latter clientele, its ancient wooden doors open since 1954, inviting guests to the terracotta-roofed finca rooms, or individual villas amid seemingly endless tropical grounds. The kids’ club is as stylish as Marbella Club, with a beautiful courtyard-design enclosure holding a kids’ herb and vegetable garden, a high-spec kitchen for cookery classes, dance and arts studios, and a path down to the shore for aquatic larks.

Pool Y Price room-only doubles from £398

Anassa (Booking.com)

8. Anassa, Cyprus

Best for new experiences If you’re firm fans of Greece but looking to try somewhere new, consider Cyprus , with equally delicious fresh food and lovely landscapes of olive groves, but a longer season thanks to its sheltered southerly location. Anassa truly showcases its Cypriot heritage with kids’ club classes covering pottery, bread-baking, and archaeology — ancient history being something you can all experience on a trip to the nearby Baths of Aphrodite. With families in mind, Anassa has accommodation from studio suites that sleep three to vast residences that sleep nine and have private pools, each named after a mythical god.

Pool Y Price B&B doubles from £419

Pine Cliffs (Scott Dunn)

9. Pine Cliffs, Algarve

Best for pirate-ship fun We’ll get to the kids’ club in a minute. First, there’s Porto Pirata for children to explore (they may never make it out): a 7,000 sq m play village with two life-size wooden pirate ships, a bouncy castle, basketball court, mini-track for cars, scooters and bikes, as well as a kids-only pool and 18-hole mini golf course. Parents can play too or use the kids’ club services to leave children under supervision for the day — and then slope off to the spa, bar or golf course. Or all three. If you’re ever reunited with your offspring, you’ll all fall in love with Pine Cliffs’ sandy beaches, reached by a cool “elevador” from the resort’s stunning Algarve clifftop spot.

Pool Y Price room-only doubles from £190

In the kitchen at Verdura (British Airways Holidays)

10. Verdura, Sicily

Best for foodies Play your cards right and not only will you have an afternoon to yourself by the pool while kids play at Verdu club, but home-cooked dinner will await on your return home. That’s because food is part of Sicily ’s DNA, and children are taught how to cook it from a young age (not to mention the fact the hotel’s four alfresco restaurants will wow you at every meal). Verdura’s Chefs programme shows kids how to make Italian classics, while its EduFun sessions teach them about cultivating fruit and vegetables, in addition to classes on mythology, gymnastics, football, recycling, tennis and film-making. When they want to switch off entirely, there’s an indoor pool, a 60m outdoor pool and a private beach; they can take out kayaks or stand-up paddleboards and join scuba trips at the latter if they get bored easily.

Pool Y Price B&B doubles from £347

Princess Yaiza (Expedia)

11. Princesa Yaiza, Lanzarote

Best for off-season sunshine When it’s still too chilly to venture to the Med — we’re thinking of awkward February half-term and those early Easter school breaks — Lanzarote takes top spot. Springtime temperatures often hit 26C, enabling kids to get out in the fresh air. Which is exactly what Kikoland — Princesa Yaiza’s 10,000 sq m kids’ park — is lined up for, with playgrounds, soft play, age-specific swimming pools, beach areas for water sports and even a theatre for end-of-holiday shows. There’s a soccer school with former professional coaches, and special birthday parties if your child is celebrating while away.

Pool Y Price B&B doubles from £167

Enjoying the action at Almhof (Booking.com)

12. Almhof, Austria

Best for winter Looking like the chalet from Wham’s Last Christmas video, the Almhof resort near Innsbruck in Austria is a snowy idyll. There are ski courses offered as part of its kids’ club programme, and we like the fact that kids are split by the three-six age bracket and the seven-ten bracket (they’re sometimes bunched together, much to their chagrin); there are also cookery classes, children’s shows and tobogganing in winter. But Almhof is every bit as family-friendly in summer, with lake parties for teens, campfires, survival training and football camps; its park Water World — with indoor-outdoor pools, giant tube slide, and FeRRRari slide — is open year round.

Pool Y Price all-inclusive family rooms from £335

Terre Blanche (Booking.com)

13. Terre Blanche, Provence, France

Best for road trippers It’s by no means a hop-skip-and-jump from Calais to this photogenic eco estate near Grasse, but it’s still a viable driving option for families who prefer not to fly. And, on arrival, the kids’ club activities more than compensate with tons of time in the great outdoors: making birdboxes, beekeeping, gardening — all the while fed by Le Pitchoun, a healthy children’s café with a chef-devised menu. There’s also a specific pool for the kids’ club as well as a children’s pool below Terre Blanche’s Insta-famous infinity version, with the same lavender and cypress-filled views for accompanying parents.

Pool Y Price B&B doubles from £480

Having fun at Neilson Alana Beach Club

14. Neilson Alana Beach Club, Croatia

Best for sporty types If you’re new to the award-winning Neilson concept, here’s the spiel-free take: in short, they offer active breaks to people who like to “do stuff” on holiday and this extends to the kids’ clubs. So, Alana Beach Club (where all guests are Neilson guests) in Croatia has the looks of a fantasy Adriatic fly-and-flop — clear waters, cocktail bars, beachfront pool — but there’s extra-curricular windsurfing, stand-up paddleboarding, dinghy sailing, mountain biking, kayaking and rock climbing when you’re bored. All of these pursuits are open to children, too, but in a safe and expert-led club environment, so popular that parents are advised to book spaces before departure. You can also book one-on-one services for children who need extra care, as well as sleep clubs where kids stay overnight.

Pool Y Price seven nights from £799pp, almost full board, including flights

• Europe’s best affordable summer holiday destinations • Best family hotels in Spain • Best hotels with waterparks in Turkey

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20 of the best family-friendly hotels in the UK

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The National Archives

Family events: Time Travel Club

Travel through time with our family activities!

Time Travel Club is our family activities programme with events and activities designed for children. Learn, create and have fun with all the family.

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Get priority booking to all our events every month when you subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Get priority booking –  sign up to our mailing list now .

Plus, you can view and book all our upcoming Time Travel Club events via eventbrite .

Events until June 2024

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The Musical Archive Family Day

  • Sunday 2 June 2024, 11:00 to 16:00

Join us for a harmonious journey at our Musical Archive family day and enjoy the timeless escape that only music can offer!

Embark on an interactive adventure with the Enchanted Cinema, where children help create the sound effects and music alongside professional musicians as part of a live FX orchestra. Drop by our family friendly document display, make your own instrument, hear our collection come to life with a live harpist, and get your face painted.

Book tickets on Eventbrite

A woman wearing goggles and a silver helmet points at some equipment.

Ministry of Time Travel Online Mission (8 to 12-year-olds)

The Ministry of Time Travel is looking for new recruits brave enough to tackle any mission! But successful Time Agents are made not born, so you’ll need to learn the tricks of the trade.

Under the tutelage of the Chief Timer herself, this online adventure will see you complete five exciting challenges highlighting records, photographs and stories from The National Archives’ collection. You can take part at The National Archives on our first floor or from home.

Start the mission

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Time Travel Craft Club

  • Select days in school holidays, 10:30 to 12:30 or 13:30 to 15:30

Spend time getting crafty during the school holidays! There are two bookable Craft Club sessions taking place in our café on select days in the school holidays.

Find out more and book tickets on Eventbrite

Cartoon of a smiling mouse, painting.

Messy Play (2 to 5-year-olds)

  • Once a month, various dates

Join us for a fun messy session! Lizzie will use lots of sensory materials to spark your child’s imagination and creativity.

This event is for children aged 2 to 5 and their carers, and will take place in the Clore Learning Centre on the first floor.

You may wish for your child to wear clothes that they can get messy, or you can bring a change of clothes with you as it will get messy! Aprons and wipes will be provided.

Cartoon of a mouse reading a book.

Sensory Storytelling for Babies and Toddlers

  • Various dates for different ages

Come and join us for some sensory storytelling! The storytelling lasts for 30 minutes with time for playing and chatting afterwards.

About Time Travel Club

Our Time Travel Club family events are a great way for you and your children to learn and have fun.

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From the Tudors to Second World War spies, find out about the fascinating and unique stories that make up the history of our nation. Interact with astonishing original records from our collection and enjoy creative craft activities as a family.

Family event

Activities to watch and try at home

We have a wide variety of family activities including online Tots storytelling videos, Craft Club videos and activities which tie into national initiatives, such as the Big Draw and Arts Award.

Go to the family area

Time Travel TV

Discover our huge selection of Time Travel TV videos. Our TV series encourages viewers to explore archive documents from home with the guidance of members of the Education team. Throughout the series, you will learn about famous historical events and people, as well as the unusual documents we keep in our collection.

Each episode is completed with exciting follow-up activities, including a detective-based enquiry exploring other documents in our collection, and themed crafts.

Go to Time Travel TV

Also in What’s on

  • Exhibitions and displays
  • Online events
  • Events at Kew

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10 Salt Lake City bars where you can celebrate Pride this weekend

Get your rainbow feather boa and fiercest outfit, it’s time for Pride.

There are two pride festivals planned this month — the Utah Pride Festival on June 1-2, and SLC Pride on June 27-30.

But local businesses are celebrating the LGBTQ community, too. From drag shows to DJ sets, here is a list of 10 Salt Lake City bars that are going all out for Pride, or showcasing their weekly lineups.

Aces High Saloon

On Saturday, Aces High Saloon at 1588 S. State St. will be hosting a mini pride festival with a market from 1 to 5 p.m. and live music starting at 7 p.m.

Cam Girl, The Glitter Bombs, Orange Soda and others will perform. Cover is $20.

On Sunday, cocktail bar Alibi , at 369 S. Main St., is going to start serving drinks at 11 a.m., so you can walk over after the Utah Pride Parade ends.

Live DJ sets from Gato and Boo start at noon. Follow Alibi on Instagram for updates, @alibislc .

Club Try-Angles

Club Try-Angles , at 251 W. Harvey Milk Blvd. (900 South), will be kicking off its pride festivities on Wednesday this year with the Those Bitches Annual Pride Gala; doors open at 6 p.m. and the show starts at 8 p.m.

On Thursday, there will be “Pride-eoke” beginning at 8 p.m. Then on Friday, the bar will host its annual Bear Pride.

Saturday will be the Big Pride Party Blowout, and “second Pride” is planned for Sunday, featuring a barbecue on the patio at 3 p.m. On Monday, the bar will be closed, so the staff can take a well-deserved break.

It’s going to be near impossible to miss Club Verse at 609 S. State St. during Pride.

Owner Michael Repp has gotten a hold of 1,000 disco ball piñatas, and he plans to create a faux-disco ball ceiling that starts on the roof of Club Verse and comes to a rest on poles situated in a traffic lane on State Street, with that extra street space turned into a temporary patio.

Club Verse’s new rooftop patio — equipped with a full bar — will also be open for Pride. The interior of Ember, just a couple of doors down from Club Verse, will serve as a chill-out zone, where people can sip their drinks, enjoy calming ambient music, and get away from the hyped-up atmosphere in the main bar.

Club Verse’s own food truck, Bitch Plzzz will be serving street tacos, fries and more.

HK Brewing , at 370 W. Aspen Ave., will be holding a special edition of its Sip & Slay drag show for Pride on Sunday.

For the first showing, doors will open at 11 a.m. and the show will start at noon; for the second showing, doors will open at 3 p.m. and the show will start at 4 p.m.

There will be a full bar with cocktails, bloody marys and mimosas on the menu, and Vostok Burger food truck will be out front. There will be prizes for the best Pride outfit, “runway slay” and more.

Tickets are available through HK Brewing’s Instagram, @hkbrewingco .

Gracie’s , at 326 S. West Temple, will be hosting a Pride drag bunch on Saturday at noon, according to their Instagram .

Tickets are $15 at the door, and there will also be $4 mimosas and $4 bloody marys. Gracie’s will be matching all ticket sales to help support Equality Utah.

The Locker Room

Lynn Katoa, co-owner of gay sports bar The Locker Room , at 1063 E. 2100 South, said they haven’t planned anything “crazy” for Pride because of the construction happening in Sugar House .

But he said that The Locker Room will be “open and celebrating” during Pride weekend, for anyone who wants to get away from the hustle and bustle of downtown.

On Friday, the bar will be holding drag queen karaoke with Lilia Maughn at 8 p.m.; on Saturday, you can pull up a seat and watch the UEFA Champions League; and on Sunday, the Tailgate Drag Brunch starts at 12:30 p.m.

The Locker Room is also going to be the host of Sugar House Pride on June 28-30.

MILK+ is going hard for Pride, with a huge outdoor celebration starting Thursday and ending on Sunday, June 9.

The theme of the party is Disco Utopia, and it will feature drag performers, DJs, dancing and night laser shows. The event will raise funds for the Utah Pride Center and Equality Utah.

Tickets are available via MILK’s Instagram, @milk.slc .

Japanese-themed bar Sayonara , at 324 S. State St., is celebrating Pride with DJ sets from Bo York (hiphop and funky and jazzy dance music) on Thursday; DJ Che (top 40 dance songs) on Friday; DJ Lowdown and Friends (all vinyl) on Saturday; and Social Disco Club (hi-fi sounds with disco and house) on Sunday.

The bar will be open from 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. Saturday and Sunday to accommodate Utah Pride Festival attendees; DJs start at noon on the patio.

The 2024 Utah Pride Parade is going to be passing directly in front of Why Kiki , at 69 W. 100 South, so instead of doing their typical block party out front, this LGBTQ bar is going to be expanding its back patio and adding another dance floor, said owner Randy Oveson.

Thursday will be lip sync karaoke at 8 p.m., followed by this month’s lip sync battle finale at 9 p.m.

On Friday, an all-queer comedy show will kick off at 7 p.m., followed by a drag king show at 9 p.m. and a Juneteenth preview show at 10:30 p.m. After, drag queen Brooke Lynn Hytes — who was in the top two in her season of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” — will perform at 11 p.m. There will be an encore drag show at 12:30 a.m.

On Saturday, Why Kiki will feature two showings of its celebrity impersonation show, “Almost Famous” — one at 8 p.m. (a seated dinner show), and one at 11 p.m. At 10 p.m., there will be an AFAB (”assigned female at birth”) drag show, and an encore drag show will start at 12:30 a.m.

Sunday will begin with drag brunch at 11 a.m. and drag lunch at 3 p.m. Paint night starts at 4 p.m., drag bingo at 6 p.m., a comedy show at 7 p.m., a burlesque show by House of Monroe at 8 p.m., and a “Sunday School” drag show at 11 p.m.

Why Kiki is opening its second floor as the new dance floor; beginning this weekend, it will feature music played over speakers, though in the future it will be used for silent disco, Oveson said.

(Leah Hogsten | The Salt Lake Tribune) Pride festival revelers dance to the music of OneUpDuo at the Utah Pride Festival at Washington Square, Saturday, June 4, 2022.

Viral Four Seasons baby takes internet by storm: 'She's so little but so grown'

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You're never too young to have good taste.

A Florida family, and specifically their tiniest member, has gone viral all over social media thanks to one baby's elevated preferences. The video, posted to TikTok on May 17, has amassed millions of views and likes.

"I have a question for everybody," says a woman's voice behind the camera, identified by TODAY.com as Bailey Wise of Tampa. The frame pans to a young girl climbing excitedly off her bed over to a diaper-clad baby held in a man's arms, who TODAY identified as her father, Will Wise.

"Who wants to go to the Four Seasons Orlando?!" the voice continues. The baby, who is named Kate according to TODAY, responds not a beat later with a resounding "ME!" complete with a raised hand and growing smile.

The young girl in the background, Kate's 4-year-old big sister Madelyn, agrees, enthusiastically insisting "meeeee!" as the adults can't help but giggle at the younger sibling's reaction.

"If the @Four Seasons Hotels is looking for a baby ambassador my niece got you 😂🤣😂🤣😂" Bailey's sister, Stefanie O’Brien, captioned the eight-second clip, posted to her account @sobrizzel.

Watch the viral 'Four Seasons Orlando baby' video

Internet goes crazy for "bougie" baby.

The "digitine:" The 'digital guillotine' and why TikTok is blocking big name celebrities

Naturally, Kate and her family went massively viral for the few-second video, wracking up more than 42 million views and 5.3 million likes. After all, what does the internet love more than cute babies? Nothing, except maybe cat videos.

Netizens couldn't help but be enamored both with the baby's enthusiasm, but her seemingly advanced intelligence and ability to understand the question - after all, who wouldn't be excited about the Four Seasons? That baby has taste.

"Oh my mother I would be dazzled to attend the four seasons Orlando," joked one commenter. "I would be delighted mother to accompany you on this exhilarating excursion to the four seasons Orlando I will be sure to pack the acquired necessities for our trip. my excitement is palpable," said another.

"The baby booked the trip," wrote one commenter, echoed by another who said, "I think the baby is in charge of the family finances," said two more.

"She's so little but so grown," one comment with thousands of likes summed up.

Countless response videos have flooded the platform making silly edits , putting Kate in a top hat , creating voice-overs and recreating the video itself.

Several sports teams got in on the joke as well, including the Atlanta Hawks, Cincinnati Bengals and the Spanish-language MLB account.

Perhaps most importantly, Four Seasons Hotels responded, posting on TikTok for the first time since 2022. In the video, Four Seasons employees can be seen lip-syncing along to the audio from the original clip in several Four Seasons locations, overlayed with the text "Who wants to welcome our newest ambassador for Four Seasons Orlando?!"

"Let the adventure begin  @Stefanie O’Brien  fam 🏰✨@FourSeasonsOrlando," said the caption.

What is the "fully conscious baby" TikTok trend?

The popularity of the Four Seasons baby left some marveling at what appeared to be an example of advanced understanding for such a young brain. Jokes about Kate being a super-intelligent baby rolled in as viewers marveled at what they saw as eerily adult-like behavior.

The juxtaposition between Kate's very young diaper-clad appearance and her seemingly grown-up reaction spurred a side conversation about "fully conscious babies" - young children who are cognitively advanced in a way that resembles a mini adult or someone beyond their years. Think something like a real-life "Boss Baby" or Stewie Griffin from "Family Guy."

The concept has spawned memes and videos galore. In some, people edit voice lines over clips of kids, making it look like the children are speaking in full adult sentences. Others are sharing clips of young children looking like mini-people, doing "adult" things like throwing darts at a board.

Some users have also taken to making videos sharing stories (fake or otherwise) of "fully conscious babies" they've met in their own lives, like one man who described briefly babysitting a young girl only to discover she could speak and understand more English than her parents believed.

While the clips are silly and fun, in reality, they show nothing abnormal.

In the original clip, Kate is about 1 year old, though she may appear younger to some. The processing and language skills she demonstrates in the video are age-appropriate, as are those of other children shown in similar videos.

Children begin to learn and process language very early in life, and while every baby is different, you can generally expect to see language milestones including the use of real words (hi, dog, mama, dada) and the understanding of basic words and concepts (their name, cup, juice, daddy, yes, no, come here, want more?) between 7 months and 1 year old.

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Season Ticket 2024/25

< < back to Season Tickets

SEASON Tickets for the 2024-25 season are now on sale, and we need YOU to help Fuel our Fightback.

Despite the disappointment of relegation after one season back in the National League last term, we were fortunate to welcome huge attendances to Aggborough week-in, week-out as fans took advantage of the match day experience on offer.

We need that backing once again, with Chairman Richard Lane explaining the Club have taken the difficult decision NOT to raise Season Ticket or match day prices for the campaign ahead, despite pressure to do so.

He confirmed: “The extensive budgeting and forecasting work we’ve done left us with the very clear picture: we need to increase the prices we charge in order to ensure we can meet the very difficult challenges of rising costs across the business.

“However, we have made the decision not to do this, as we recognise how loyal and passionate our supporters were throughout a difficult 2023-24 and want to reward that.

“Retaining Phil Brown was, I feel, the first step towards that, and we hope supporters can recognise this further gesture of a prize freeze and back us once again with a Season Ticket.”

Harriers are also pleased to confirm that, following the exceptional popularity of the Kids for a Quid initiative during the latter end of last season, the club will now make this a permanent fixture by introducing a £23.00 Season Ticket - £1.00 per league match – to anyone aged 12 or under when the season begins on August 10th, and when this is purchased alongside a non U12 or U16 Season Ticket.

Further benefits and advantages of having a Season Ticket include:

  • An Individual Season Ticket card guaranteeing you entry to all National League North home fixtures at Aggborough Stadium, whenever they’re played.
  • Your reserved, allocated seat for all National League North home fixture
  • Exclusive access to any Priority Windows held by the club for FA Cup, FA Trophy or any other high-profile matches.
  • Continued discounts on away travel worth at least £115 during the season ahead
  • FREE entry to all Wolves PL2 fixtures at Aggborough
  • FREE entry to all Harriers Women first team home games
  • FREE Room Hire at Aggborough Stadium*
  • Further benefits and perks at local businesses and venues, to be confirmed

* Terms and conditions apply.

Season Tickets will be available at the frozen Early Bird prices listed until 30th June. Existing Season Ticket holders will have the Early Bird window to renew tickets in their existing seats, which will be kept under Reservations in our ticketing account. Simply select ‘Convert Reservation’ and your selected seats will be ready for you to renew. After the Early Bird window ends, these seats will be released.

As introduced last season, Junior Season Ticket cards (U12s, U16s) will be branded differently for the new season to ensure fair use, and as such identification may be required at the stadium. Any such card found to be deliberately misused will be confiscated with no refunds issued, and a club Banning Order may issued.

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the times travel club


Diablos Baseball

The Livermore Diablos are a nonprofit travel baseball club from Livermore, California.

Cooperstown Experience

Cooperstown, New York is home to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum - a destination dedicated to the heroes and history of the game.   Cooperstown All Star Village is a family baseball resort that hosts tournament camps each summer for youth teams. Each summer, 12U teams from all across the US travel to Cooperstown for a weeklong tournament and team experience.


    The majority of the now 13U team has been together since 2018. The squad planned to travel to Cooperstown, NY, for a week long tournament / team experience during the Summer of 2020. Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the team could not travel to Cooperstown.   

Positions: 1B / OF / P

Throws: Left

Positions: IF / OF

Bats: Right

Throws: Right 

Positions: 3B / OF / C

 Positions: IF / OF

Throws: Left 

Positions: C / P / 3B

Positions: P / 3B / SS

Positions: 2B / OF / C

Positions: C / OF / 2B

Positions: SS / C/ OF

2019 Cooperstown Team

Information on 2019 Team (images below)


2018 Cooperstown team

Info on 2018 Cooperstown team (images below)


Our Sponsors

Thank you for your support.

Mitchell Katz Winery

Feel free to get in touch to learn more about Diablos Baseball.

Send us a message, and we will get back to you as soon as we can. 

Livermore Diablos

2749 Rivers Bend Circle, Livermore, CA 94550

Copyright © 2020 Livermore Diablos - All Rights Reserved.

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  • Course Conditions
  • Code of Conduct
  • Environment
  • DC Taphouse
  • Practice Facilities
  • Lessons & Instructors
  • Group Lesson Programs
  • The Deep Cliff Players Academy for Juniors
  • Junior Golf Camps
  • Junior Golf Sign Ups
  • Information
  • Join a League
  • Planning Golf Outings
  • Request an Outing
  • Planning Corporate Events
  • Events Calendar
  • Event Registration
  • Meet the Team


Welcome to Deep Cliff Golf Course

Covid-19 statement from courseco, view here.

Designed by Clark Glasson and built in 1961, Deep Cliff's 18 hole, par 60, executive course is nestled in the Cupertino foothills. Deep Cliff offers the finest 18 hole executive golf course for players of all abilities. Deep Cliff is also a walker's delight with flat terrain and gently tiered greens.

Glasson's classically designed courses are aesthetically pleasing and strategically sound, blending the beauty of the natural environment with intriguing and challenging layouts that create some of the countries most memorable courses. Glasson is renowned for making his courses challenging, playable and enjoyable for golfers of all skill levels.

Deep Cliff Golf Course is open daily and is home to outstanding golf classes and programs for new and beginner golfers. tournaments and leagues including Apple and the popular Women's Summer Evening Golf League, and great food in the cafe! Thank you for visiting our website, we look forward to you visiting the course soon!

Book A Tee Time: 408.253.5357 10700 Clubhouse Lane, Cupertino, CA 95014

  • Instruction
  • Upcoming Events


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  28. Welcome to Deep Cliff Golf Course

    Deep Cliff Golf Course is open daily and is home to outstanding golf classes and programs for new and beginner golfers. tournaments and leagues including Apple and the popular Women's Summer Evening Golf League, and great food in the cafe! Thank you for visiting our website, we look forward to you visiting the course soon! 408.253.5357.