Updated on March 3, 2012
I am blessed with so many wonderful friends who’ve introduced me to new adventures: hiking in Colorado, rafting in the Missouri Ozarks, biking all over the world. But there is no one that I’ve gone the distance with quite like Mele.
We met when we worked together at KMTV in Omaha in 1979. Our first overseas trip together was a surprise. Mele was traveling around the world and was supposed to pick up another friend of ours at the airport in London. When that girl postponed her flight, I took her place. Mele walked right past me at Heathrow and never saw me. Her brother was walking behind her and when he started laughing, the game was over.
We’ve traveled through 13 countries together and all the trips are memorable. One of my most vivid mental snapshots is a trip we took on “The Magic Bus” from London to Paris. (This was before the chunnel, so the “bus” also included a miserable ferry ride.) We arrived at 5:30 in the morning in a suburb of Paris looking for the Metro. When we found it we realized we had no francs and had to jump a turnstile to catch the train. (This was before ATM’S and banks in France don’t open until a civilized hour. We don’t make it a habit of breaking the law, but sometimes it happens.)
I’m really not sure why she puts up with me because I almost always get sick somewhere along the way. In fact, it was on a trip with her that I decided my memoir would be entitled “Sick in Several Languages”.
Mele now works as a freelance video photographer and owns her own business. Her clients include all the networks, some non-profits, major corporations and at least one investment advisor known all over the world.
She is ALWAYS working, even when she’s on vacation. Which is how I came to interview Nawang Gombu in 2001 while on a trek in Bhutan.
It’s funny how friendship evolves over 33 years. I consider it a sign of our “maturity” that she recently wrote me that I should bring a swimsuit on our trip because we might encounter a pool. A swimsuit has rarely stopped us from enjoying a water spot in the past. I know one thing for sure about our next adventure. “We will NOT have any fun.”