A cool connection: Toronto travellers take photo of Star man (me) in Ireland
This is kinda cool, I think.
I was in Donegal, Ireland in April, taking a hike around the cliffs known as Slieve League. They're wild and wicked slopes north of Sligo, far higher than the famed Cliffs of Moher but virtually unknown to many travellers, including some Irish folks. I wrote a story about the experience in Star Travel on Saturday, July 24 (also my wedding anniversary, which is kinda connected if you'll hang in a bit).
When I was at Slieve League, my wife and I got to chatting with one of the few other couples who were checking out the cliffs and the surging ocean. They were from the Toronto area. I didn't talk about working for the Star, I don't think. We just talked in general about the area and how wonderfully isolated and beautiful the cliffs were, and left it at that.
I didn't think much about it until earlier this week, when a chap named Peter Davidson sent me a note to say something like, "Hey, you're the guy we met at Slieve League. I saw your story in the Star. That must have been you we chatted with. Your wife was with you and she was researching her family, the O'Keefe's, right?"
Damned good memory on his part, I can say, remembering my wife's mother's family name. Guy should be a reporter.
That was kinda funny, so I sent him a note back saying hope you had a good trip, nice to meet you, thanks for the kind words about the story, all the best, etc...
It's the photo you see to the right of my wife, Barbara, who's taking the photo of me at the top of the page, and hold off on the jokes about my windswept hair, would ya? I find this quite funny - and a little spooky, to be honest. Not in a bad kinda way, just a weird/coincidence kind of way.
Funny thing about travel. You never quite know where the road will take you or who you'll meet, to paraphrase Bilbo Baggins, or perhaps Marco Polo, I can't recall. I was in Rome in 1979, having graduated from UCLA (a shameless plug, I know) a month or so earlier, and met up with a group of three Canadian girls travelling on the train from Rome to Florence. One of them I quite liked, and we became friends over three days in Florence. That's her in the photo, taking her goofy husband's picture a couple months before their 29th wedding anniversary.
So just to add to the general timing of all of this six degrees of separation stuff, where am I flying tonight? To Rome, where I met Barbara around about Aug. 1 or 4 (I have it written down in my journal somewhere in my basement), almost exactly 31 years ago. I'm writing a general Rome story for Star Travel and a hotel review, and also taking in the island of Ponza. I'll also be meeting up with my 22-year-old daughter, Kathleen (sorry, Kate), who just graduated from university a month ago (Go Queens) and, like her parents, is backpacking around Europe, checking out museums, art galleries, Mediterranean beaches and sampling the odd pitcher of sangria.
I told her to be careful in Rome while she waits for her father to arrive and that if she meets any Americans named Jim, to run as fast as she can in the other direction.
Hope to blog from Rome tomorrow but not sure about the Internet connections at my hotel...