Subject: Re: Travel Serendipity

This is a wonderful topic because it brings back such pleasant memories. I think my favorite travel serendipity story is from my college days. I was studying in England. My friend Jim was studying in Tours, France. Several other people from the England program and I planned to meet Jim in Paris to start our Eurail tour of the continent after the term had ended. But he had a reputation for not being the most responsible person. He never responded to letters (this was before email) asking when and where we should meet, so we figured he was blowing us off.

Instead we left for Bruges and then Paris. We had made plans to meet other friends in Paris. We were to look for one another under the Eiffel Tower at 2:00 on this certain Thursday. At the appointed date and time, they were not there. But we had a back up plan just in case something happened. We were to meet at 5:00 on that same day.

At about 4:45, we were astonished to see Jim walking up to us with a sleeping bag under his arm, saying he was glad to see us and apologizing for being late. We had no plans to meet Jim!! What was he doing there and what was he talking about???

He asked if we got his letter explaining that we would meet us on a certain Thursday under the Eiffel Tower at 4:30. We said, "What letter? We never heard from you." He insisted that he had written us a letter. We insisted that we never received it. It turned out to be a complete coincidence that, we just happened to be in the right place at the right time to hook up with our friend. Travel serendipity indeed!

The footnote to the story is that Jim's French language skills bailed us out of a potentially bad situation in Monte Carlo when a gendarme pulled us over for not stopping at a red light on our rented mopeds. But I'll save that for the "It's a funny travel story now, but it wasn't at the time" thread.

Mark Los Angeles