The Extreme Traveler International Congress (ETIC) started as a meeting of eleven Most Traveled People (MTP) club members in October 2008 in Germany. Host Kolja Spöri (Germany) also invited MTP-founder Charles Veley (USA) and Nr. 3-ranked MTP-member Jorge Sanchez (Spain) to attend the get-together at Munich’s Alpha Business Club. The successful evening resulted in ongoing exchange and friendship between some of the participants.
In the meantime, The Best Travelled (TBT) was founded by Harry Mitsidis (UK/Greece) as the third country collector club, complementing the Travelers Century Club (TCC) and Most Traveled People (MTP) as tools for systematic travel. This primarily internet-based traveler scene became a virtual meeting point for the “travel addicted anonymous” and similar “dromomaniacs” around the world. It seemed a logical next step for Kolja Spöri to provide a physical contact point for those “extreme travelers” who had gained interest in each other through their internet clubs.
A befitting venue was identified in Grozny, Chechnya: distant, difficult to reach and dangerous, or so it seemed. The world’s Nr. 1 (Don Parrish, MTP), Nr. 2 (Charles Veley, MTP) and Nr. 3 (Kari-Matti Valtari, TBT) received a special greeting by the Chechen minister of tourism. It was a win-win-situation for both the ETIC guests and the host country.
After further events in Anabar, Mogadishu and Liberland, ETIC has slowly established itself as an institution in the community of systematic travel & country collecting. For instance, ETIC sees itself as an authority to verify claims of hitherto unknown travelers who sell themselves to the unwitting media as “the most traveled person”. And ETIC refuses social drop-outs / drifters who continuously travel without proper ethics / funds and therefore lower the positive impact of travel in the destination countries.
ETIC-founder Kolja Spöri believes that travel in itself is a moral act that leads to better understanding of values that all human beings share, independent of cultural differences, political regimes, or media propaganda.
The motto of ETIC is “travel promotes universal ethics”.