a friend of a friend... that became my friend

Melissa Unger and the Seymore Project
Ingenue Interview on the Huffington Post

after college I made that somewhat requisite backpack trip to Europe
only I swapped out panniers for backpack and bicycle for hiking boots
although we did take a few train rides
we did not go for the Euro Rail Pass

it was a wonderful trip that occurred without much forethought and without much planning
there was little more than the purchasing of some tickets and some maps
sure there was a loose itinerary
but no real understanding of time... distance... and what it means to tour by bike


this trip was in 1991...
life was quite different before the internet
travel and communication in general was something completely different without the advent of the cell phone
pay phones and maps were the precursor to the SMART PHONE 

there was not the up to the second communication of emails or text messaging
we were still leaving messages on answering machines
and not everyone had answering machines
and not everyone left messages

within this less than planned European bicycle adventure I traveled with my good buddy Rob
we had round trip tickets having us arrive and depart from Amsterdam
what would happen in the 5 weeks in between was not entirely clear
there was the thought that we would mix riding the bikes and getting on the train to travel from Amsterdam to the South of France
and then back again

then, I also had the gestation of an alternate plan
rather than fly home, to stay in Europe... pedal from the South of France to Portugal
where I would meet another friend and take on the job of running an orange orchard in the Algarve
that plan as awesome as it sounded never came to be

the bicycle trip with Rob involved be bopping from town to town
staying in youth hostels and then staying with friends... or at least
staying with friends of friends
and then even staying with the family of friends
or the family of friends of friends

not to give you a play by play of our European couch trip adventure
there was one point in the trip where I had the invite for one person to stay one night with the friend of a friend of a friend
another one of my friends was good friends with Nina... I had met Nina... so she was my friend, a friend of a friend

this was a pre- Veruca Salt Nina... but Willy Wonka was already on Nina's mind
and this of course... is a pre-Johnny Depp Willy Wonka
as Johnny Depp was still on 21 Jump Street and Tim Burton was more than likely making stop action movies in film school
Nina extended an invite to stay with one of her friends... Melissa Unger
who may or may not be in the South of France when we were in the South of France
she would either be in London or the South of France
but with letters as popular as telephone calls for transcontinental communication
I was not not entirely sure of Melissa's itinerary
or even if Nina had mentioned to Melissa that I would be stopping by

well... Melissa was in the South of France
we did make a connection... pay phone to land line
she was in fact by chance in the South of France when I was in the South of France
which was a fun connection to make

the stay was short... Melissa was an excellent tour guide
it was nice to get the inside line rather than the perspective of the tourist

then here it is now...
this is the modern world with its FACEBOOK connections and FACEBOOK communications
and what do I see?
this interview with Melissa Unger on The Huffington Post
a news source I rank up there with Jon Stewart and The Onion for my most trusted news
and that is no joke

enough on that
this randomness is interesting to me
but this connection of the dots may not be interesting to you
yet... let me bring it back to the bike

our point of contact... our mutual friend
it is Peter Wilborn of MYBIKELAW
My Bike Law

Veruca Salt: Seether
Nina Gordon... still cute... still making music


gwadzilla said...

in the South of France I spend hours playing backgammon with Melissa's father... he was a very kind and interesting man

I can see how he was the inspiration to the Seymour Project


the daily catastrophe said...

Hi Joel!! I am only now seeing this post of yours. Thank you for writing it. I loved reading it! I too have such fond memories of you playing backgammon with my Dad. xoxo

the daily catastrophe said...

Hi Joel!! I am only now seeing this post of yours. Thank you for writing it. I loved reading it! I too have such fond memories of you playing backgammon with my Dad. xoxo

gwadzilla said...


over Thanksgiving my boys got into a little Backgammon thing!

ebbs and flows...

good game for both logic and for just hanging out!

hopefully my kids will also have fond memories of playing Backgammon with their father