I’m not sure how Melanie Chambers came into my life, but if memory serves, it was a few years ago via the TMAC listserve (Travel Media Association of Canada). As we both teach travel writing, I remember sharing information and exchanging ideas via email and Skype. We’ve since kept in touch, albeit sporadically. But you know how it is when you admire someone from afar—you want to meet them in person!
We did try to connect two summers ago when we were both in Newfoundland. Although we were on the same coast for a few days, for various reasons it didn’t happen.
Last week, after a 23 hour drive from Toronto to Halifax and a short sleepover, she landed on our doorstep to visit for a few days. BOING! The moment Melanie stepped out of the car, I knew we were kindred spirits. You know how it is … feels like you’ve met some old soul you’ve hung around with and loved all your life. (We’re both Scorpios so that may explain in part why our personalities are in sync.)
Mind you, I’m 70 and she’s 43. Cripes —I could be her mother. But I so appreciate her energy, how savvy she is, her passion for travel, and her big heart. I’ve also read a lot of the stuff she writes and have huge respect for her skills and how she approaches story.
Better dial down the rah-rah factor before I get schmaltzy.
While Melanie was here, we went on a couple of shopping sprees to the “French Boutique” a.k.a Frenchy’s second hand clothing stores; I introduced her to rappie pie (a singularly unappealing Acadian dish, but oh-so-tasty); she accompanied me on a last minute photo shoot at Hug Your Nanny Goat Cheese, and we fit in some relaxing campfire chats with Barrie. Melanie also did a couple of 40-something-km bike rides and went swimming in the Tusket River in front of our home (which I likely won’t be doing for another month!)
This week I’ve been working on the 31-day itinerary and realize how much her visit meant to me. I’m still processing the significance of it all. I also realize that I yearn to have this kind of “prime time” with old friends, so I’ve invited them to accompany me on some of the July excursions.