Last week I brought you a post about my biggest fan (after my mom, of course!), the always eloquent Kevin Fitzpatrick, whose witty quips or introspective takes on one of my tales from the road have come to be expected and very much enjoyed not only by myself, but a myriad of my readers. This week we are graced with this very special guest post from the man himself. The biggest question is: will he comment on his own post? You can bet on it.
I’ve been given the opportunity that mere mortals only dream about; to be a guest contributor on llworldtour.com. Lisa advises me that I’m only the second person to ever receive this privilege. I am one of those guys who doesn’t ask why the next ten best choices weren’t available. I’m more likely to say timing prevented me from being the first guest contributor. Having the opportunity to be beamed through websites all over the globe and trade on Lisa’s good name, good will, and remarkable spirit makes me not question anything. So here I am.
I’m told that any number of you wait with great anticipation to see my comments after Lisa’s posts. Okay, maybe that’s a bit too strong. When Cal Ripken retired from the Baltimore Orioles, the only team he ever played for in Major League Baseball, he was asked “How would you like to be remembered?” His response was “to be remembered at all would be special enough”. It was the single most gracious answer I’ve ever heard and appeared to be completely spontaneous. So the fact that anyone has taken time to notice and appreciate any post I’ve written is a flattering thing. So thank you to any of you who used up one of your smiles or chuckles on me. My Irish grandmother used to always say that every laugh spent earns you 3 more. She also told me freckles were kisses from God. I believe her. I have hickeys all over my body from God and laugh my ass off most of the day.
My travel has been limited to a fair amount of domestic travel for work and some sojourns into the Dominican Republic when I was in the cigar business for many years. My darling and patient wife of 27 years and I have three children. Our family vacations are fun, but generally chock full of stress moving 5 people through airports, rental cars, hotels and attractions that a significant minority of the family are interested in. We’ve only once traveled without the kids since they were born… Our children are now 26, 23, and 20. The oldest has run away from home and bought a condominium. The next guy threatens to run away, but won’t. Our baby is in college and cooperates just enough to make us miss her. She’s home during the summer and lives like she’s on vacation. Lisa got a chance to meet her and discuss studying overseas. She has taken this conversation to heart and tentatively plans to study in Barcelona, Spain for a semester in her third year [way to go Mae!]. You can tell when they’re growing up. They don’t ask you if they can do something like go half way around the world; they tell you. The new scale of successful parenthood is when they tell you before they’ve already done it.
Middle guy, who threatens to run away from home and then goes upstairs to get some sleep, he’s got plans too. After graduating from Columbia College (a place Lisa taught at) in Chicago, he plans to go to the Virgin Islands for some time to “chill”. Apparently he’s overheated and needs this chilling process. He has a pal down there whose dad has a scuba company. They take people out to snorkel and scuba or just enjoy time on the sail boat with a little rum punch. I hope he does go down and work for a little while in such a wonderful place. His degree is in Film Making. There is plenty of opportunity for him to hone his craft there while working to sustain his life in paradise.
Oldest guy is a bit more like me. He’d be a much better traveler than me because he’s willing to try a lot of different food than I will. I can’t see him meandering around looking at all of the natural or historic beauty around him. I could see him making the most of meeting people from different places and celebrating their customs. He loved going to Mexico and spending time on beautiful beaches and seeing beautiful people (he suffers from a vision problem that only lets him view women) and having fun in the sun. I’m pretty sure he didn’t delve deeper into the society or visit the Mayan Ruins or ask any penetrating questions about the culture.
The simple truth is that I have seen the world through the eyes of my dear friend Lisa. I have shared her visions and beautiful and inspiring words just as you have. I have met many of you through her writing. I’m not the least bit surprised that she has made a lasting impression on so many people in so many places. Rest assured that all of these people and places have left an impression on her. She is so gifted in telling her stories that you feel like you’ve been there. I catch myself telling people great and beautiful accounts of places I’ve been in spirit, but never actually been in person. My pat answer to the question of “Have you been there?” is “Yes, Lisa brought me there”. I’m an advertising specialist in real life and our mission is to tell the best version of the truth.
Lisa is a modern day Ernest Hemmingway, long among my favorite writers. She’s every bit as swashbuckling as he is. She brings enthusiasm to what she does and she believes everything is possible. She cares about more than he did and she’s been willing to work along the way to facilitate her travels. She’s kinder and more patient than he is too. Their greatest common gift is that they can both write a story that puts you wherever they are and you experience what they are experiencing in real time. The other common gift they have is that no one who has either met either of them forgets them. They only grow more legendary with time.
So, if you’ve chuckled a bit along the way with my comments, rest assured they will continue. She’s shown me the world. The least I can do is peck a sentence or two of gratitude while I’m along for the ride. I mean, what the hell, we’ve bicycled together in Vietnam (why don’t they make bike seats bigger?), we’ve been to Carnival in Rio (I was not topless – I wore a hat) [Okay, in the spirit of full disclosure, I have never been to Rio. But I can’t expect Kevin to remember everywhere I went over 3 ½ years, 40 some-odd countries, and 200+ posts. Please don’t hold it against him], we’ve eaten a vegemite sandwich in Australia (it sucked) [I’d say it was flavor-challenged and is an acquired taste], we’ve had a lascivious boss at the deli (I told him to quit staring at my ass)[as did I], we spent time speaking English in Spain (How would they know if we were saying the right things? Anything for a 5 star hotel and food on real plates and silverware!), we produced television in Turkey [well, I met people who produced television in Turkey] (we lost our keys to the apartment there [in Madrid] and the cat was starving, meow) and we spent time in a homeless shelter at Christmastime in London. Actually we’ve done a lot more than that over three years, but you get the idea. I was on the passive side of all of these excursions, but no one could convince me I didn’t taste the salt in the air or the sun on my freckled face or the cold water on my tush (we were in Israel too you know). Lisa has done over 90% of my traveling for me.
Lisa told me her #1 question is “What was your favorite place?” and her #2 question is “Who is Kevin Fitzpatrick?” Well…and don’t take this the wrong way… but I’m offended by the order of the questions. I hope I’ve gone a little distance to answer question #2. If you really want to know the answer to question #1, I humbly ask why you’re asking her when you could ask me!
I want to personally thank Kevin for not only writing this column, but for always taking the time out of his busy day to read my posts and comment on them making many of us smile across the globe. I couldn’t have asked for a better traveling companion.