People & Stories

Debbie and Christopher met on an Irish trip, the rest is history

Recently updated on July 5th, 2023 at 11:59 am

When Canadian traveller Debbie was gifted a Trafalgar trip to Ireland for her 50th birthday, little did she know she’d find a lifelong friend and travel buddy in Australian Christopher. Despite living oceans apart, theirs is a friendship that has lasted more than a decade. This is Debbie’s story.

Were you travelling solo on your 2006 Irish Wonder trip?

I had turned 50 in April and my family offered me the trip. It had been my dream to go to Ireland and it was my first trip overseas. I was travelling solo but asked for double occupation and was paired up with a lovely Australian lady. We had a wonderful time.

Christopher and Debra on their 2006 trip

How did you and Christopher start talking?

There were only four singles on the trip: my roommate Marian, Christopher, another Aussie named Patrick and myself. We tended to hang out together. I remember the night that we went to the Medieval banquet at Knappogue Castle, the wine was flowing and we had many laughs and were quite the happy bunch boarding the coach at the end of the evening. After the farewell supper, we all went off to our rooms to pack as we were on different shuttles in the morning. I slipped a note with my email address and street address under his door and said how much I had enjoyed meeting him and that I hoped to come to Australia someday.

What happened when you returned home – how did you keep the friendship going?

We exchanged birthday cards, Christmas cards, calendars of our respective countries, occasional letters with what was happening in our lives, emails with photos of family and some of our travels. We both love the Royal family and the following summer I went on my second Trafalgar (Great Britain and Ireland Delights) Tour. We had kept in touch by email and discovered that he would be visiting friends in England at the same time as my tour. He came to meet me the day I arrived in London and he was my private tour guide. After a full afternoon my jet lag started to kick in and we parted ways. But it was so great to see him again and he told me that if I ever came to Aus, he would be my guide at Australia Zoo. I am a huge fan of Steve Irwin!

What special moments have you shared together since?

The most special was the long awaited visit to the Australia Zoo. He drove about six hours to meet me in Brisbane on January 3, 2018, took a room at the same hotel as me, showed me around Brisbane that evening where we had supper at a pub and the next day we drove to the zoo. He had bought the entrance tickets in advance and had fun watching my reaction as I went in. I simply could not believe I was there. At the end of the day, he surprised me with tickets for the guided tour of the Animal Hospital…incredible! We saw a koala being operated on to have a pin put in its broken hip. I hope to return to that zoo and meet the Irwin family next time and I have already told Christopher that he has to be there again. This past November when I returned to Aus, he came to meet me in Sydney and take me out to supper at the Sydney Tower with its spectacular views and decadent buffet. It was a very special evening with a very special friend.

Do you think yours and Christopher’s relationship is so strong as you both have a love for travel, or is it something else?

We both love animals…he has an adorable poodle named Reg and I am a cat person and we are often exchanging messages on Facebook or messenger with animal stories or videos. We share an immense admiration for the Royals.

Why do you think Trafalgar is a good opportunity to meet and bond with new people?

I think it has to to with their tour guides and coach drivers…I am always in awe of their professionalism and their ability to make you feel that they want you to have the time of your life and will do all they can to make it happen. They encourage us to mix and mingle and find ways to make sure it happens. It is like travelling with a big family.

Will you be travelling with us again?


I want to do The Sound of Music tour, visit the Scandinavian countries, go back to Oberammergau and see the Passion Play (I went in 2010 and it was life changing) and so much more…

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