Last week, the Queen Mary 2 passed under the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. It got me thinking…
Great Way To Start
I’ve been fortunate to have had many, many great travel experiences in my life.
When I began my career as a young singer/actor in the early eighties, I was one of a handful of performers traveling to exotic locales to perform targeted entertainment for corporate audiences. These were no 5-shows-a-day car launch industrials; there were couple of Toronto companies that specialized in high-end corporate shows when the format was in its infancy. We were well-paid, well-looked after and most importantly, well-traveled, spending our winters in the Bahamas, the Caribbean and the southern United States—mostly laughing, sometimes singing for blue-chips like American Express, Labatt and IBM. It was—for young entertainers—the best experience you could imagine and a wonderful way to fill in time (and pay rent) between stage shows. There was an even better fringe benefit, in that I met my gorgeous wife Carol while on one of these shows on the Garden Island, Kuai, Hawaii.
Later, as I began to work primarily in film and television, the horseshoes up my butt continued to work: my first decent film job was a nearly two-month location shoot in Israel (Iron Eagle II
with Lou Gossett, Jr.), my television show Katts & Dog (internationally Rin Tin Tin, K-9 Cop) was for a couple of seasons a French co-production shooting part of each cycle in Paris, France and one stretch in the South of France, and I picked up guest spots on shows like Ray Bradbury Theater in Wellington, New Zealand (in a future post I’ll try and recount how a drunken wrap party turned into a visit to Queenstown to bungy jump with the sports’ founder A.J. Hackett). All in all, as entertainers, my wife Carol and I pretty much circumnavigated the globe—her travels as a singer even took her to Hong Kong.
In later years, as I launched a career in the communications industry, I began to wonder if my world travel days were behind me. In fact, they’d only begun. While launching a theatre project called Harbourside Playhouse in my adopted-hometown of Port Credit, I met a wild and wonderful entrepreneur/theatre-angel named Victor Deschenes. Our relationship developed into friendship and business, and my company began to perform communications consulting for his critical delivery company, Expedite Plus. As someone in the global emergency delivery business, Victor and his wife Rosanne were no strangers to world travel. In fact, their view of the world was different than anyone we’d ever met: they travel it like most people travel their city. They would think nothing of being on the other side of the world for breakfast; business might take them there or they’d simply follow their nose because they knew of something interesting that might be happening—no matter how far away. Victor has introduced Carol and I to countless extraordinary travel experiences, which over the coming years I will likely reference here. But for today, I wanted to focus on the Golden Gate Bridge.
Last year, we joined Victor and Rosanne on a South Pacific cruise. How’s this for an itinerary: Tahiti, Bora Bora, Christmas Island, three Hawaiin Islands and then across the Pacific to San Fran.
And on a cool December morning, at about 7:00 am, we passed under the Golden Gate Bridge. Victor knew the Captain of the ship we were on, having traveled with him before. He made arrangements so that my son Liam and I could join the crew on the bridge for the Bridge passage.
We met the pilot that boards from San Francisco to guide the ship through. We looked overhead as the iron passed seemingly a few feet from our foreheads and the massive ship drifted through. We could see one of America’s most gorgeous cities yawning out before us, and the feel the rush of the vehicles overhead.
It was a moment that transcended almost any urban experience I had ever had. On a ship under the Golden Gate Bridge shortly after sunrise. This next shot is of the Queen Mary 2 as it passed under (I obviously don’t have shots of our passage from a distance:~) Then there’s a shot from my point-of-view taken from the Radisson Navigator. You can see a Flickr slideshow of some shots here.
Breathtaking. It truly was.