My 3 Cents

Old Song /New Meaning


“Make new friends but keep the old. Some are silver and the others gold.” Typing this lyric, I had a flash back to scouting days and I apologize if you now have the tune in your head the rest of the day. It could be worse; I could have mentioned “It’s a small_____.” [Warning: DO NOT fill in the blank!]

Our trip to New Zealand was long planned. It was time to forgo short outings to Palm Springs for golf and family reunions in various states. All had proved to be wonderful experiences, but it was time for an adventure.  Planning the journey involved some compromise. Traveling with my wife, we bandied about possibilities. I wanted to visit the Far East; Kay thought the Scandinavian countries would be fun. We compromised on New Zealand. The best compromise – ever!

We had traveled with OAT (Overseas Adventure Travel) in 2015 to Africa and loved the company’s “all inclusive, small group” approach. It’s not my intent to write a day-to-day account of meals, sights, accommodations, and experiences, although I’m happy to relive my time bussing, hiking, shopping, and photographing this beautiful part of the world. Feel free to drop me a line.

The “bonus” of the trip was meeting fifteen strangers and sharing two and a half weeks getting to know one another. Common ground, of course for all was love of travel. Without hesitation we shared past adventures, reminiscing about other world cultures and how valuable it is to recognize differences and similarities in life.

Led by Kristin, a bundle of Kiwi energy, the Four Ps were introduced at the first meeting: Promptness, Patience, Positivity, and, the best, No Politics. I had decided before deplaning in Auckland that I would be virtually unplugged for my time in the Southern Hemisphere. It proved blissfully relaxing.

I need to preface the potential impact of this journey on me specifically re: making new friends. For years, my days have consisted of happily walking Dolly twice a day, writing most every morning, cooking a little, reading (never as much as I’d like), and relaxing in the evening in the comfort of my living room. Spending the better part of every day with more than my dog for more than two weeks could be a stretch.

Luckily, it was easy. I exchanged favorite pastimes with Cynthia and Dean from Hawaii, shared a pint of Guiness with Karen from Texas, marveled at similar life experiences with Karen from Colorado, played a wicked game of backgammon with Janna from Florida (while her husband Phil offered suggestions at my side), and regaled Kristin with more than she ever needed to know about my teaching in the jail when she graciously offered an arm for support on what was supposed to be an “easy,” twenty minute downhill hike that turned out to be anything but.

It’s amazing that strangers on the first day became friends in short order. Meeting again in person is unlikely although with 21st century tech, it’s possible. On one of my first solo adventures more than thirty years ago, kayaking on the Sea of Cortez, I met Ann, also from Texas. I suppose you would consider her a “gold” friend (I do) because of the years  we’ve been in touch. We still giggle about our time in Mexico seeing whales up close (really close) as well as listening to tiny mice scurrying around our tent at night.

To my old, and new, friends, let’s keep in touch. Whether by tweet, or email, or arranging to meet on another adventure halfway around the world.