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 12 long years. This is Debbie’s story…
I had turned 50 in April of 2006 and my family offered me the opportunity to travel on the Irish Wonder 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 together.
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 Christopher’s door and said how much I had enjoyed meeting him and that I hoped to come to Australia someday.
We both love the Royal family and the following summer I went on my second Trafalgar Tour, Great Britain and Ireland Delights. Christopher and I 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 spent together 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!!
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Over the next few years 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.
The most special moment of our friendship came at the long awaited visit to Australia Zoo. Christopher drove around six hours to meet me in Brisbane on January 3, 2018. He took a room at the same hotel as me, showed me around Brisbane and that evening we had supper together at a pub. The next day we then 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 – a dream come true! 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 on my next visit, and I have already told Christopher that he has to be there again.
“This past November when I returned to Australia, Christopher and I met up again in Sydney and I was treated to supper at the Sydney Tower, with its spectacular views and decadent buffet. It was a very special evening with a very special friend.”
Trafalgar really is an incredible opportunity to meet and bond with new friends, and it’s all thanks to the Travel Directors and Coach Drivers. I am always in awe of their professionalism and 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.
I cannot wait to take another tour. I want to do The Sound of Music tour, visit Scandinavia, go back to Oberammergau and see the Passion Play (I went in 2010 and it was life changing). There are still so many adventures to be had, and so much more to see.
We love reading stories of the friendships our guests have formed through travelling with us. If you have a story you would like to share, please drop it in the comments below or email us firstname.lastname@example.org.