Debbie is one person that I encountered while traveling that makes me burst into a smile to this very day.
In 2017 when my Overseas Adventure Travel group (OAT) gathered for the first time in an Auckland, New Zealand hotel to get acquainted. When it was her turn, a petite graying woman stood up waving her hands all around summoning us to listen to her introduction as if we hadn't already noticed that she wasn't subdued and jet lagged like the rest of us.
My immediate reaction was that Debbie wasn't going to miss a beat if her life depended upon it. There was nothing subtle about her, and she was about to make the most of her vacation.
In a succinct three-minute spiel, the wide-awake Debbie told all fifteen of us all that we needed to know about her and more, including her one greatest fear that almost kept her from signing up for the trip in the first place.
The energetic traveler proceeded to open up to us with her aprehensions about being a first- time solo traveler, and she hoped to fit in. We all assured her that she had new built-in friends, and that she shouldn't worry. At least I didn't give it a second thought knowing full well that she had the kind of personality that would do fabulously under any circumstance.
Well, if truth be told, our entire group was entertained by the spirited traveler from
the first day going forth with her quirky comments and insightful inserts into everything we experienced. We laughed ourselves silly like a bunch of kids when she was the one to raise her hand to be the group guinea pig. She beat everyone to the punch holding a squirming baby lamb on the ranch while they rest of us stood back somewhat reticent.
Debbie was willing to try everything and didn't let rain or rough waves deter her from an adventure along with her running commentaries if you were anywhere near her. Once she waited for me at a glacial overlook in a downpour to take my photo, and when she pleaded with the sun, "please, please come out for just a couple minutes," her wish was granted almost instantaneously.
Somewhere late into our trip, my newly-found friend shed a tear on her birthday, though, when our tour director gave her presents to remember New Zealand, and we sang in unison our birthday greetings from our bus seats. She knew then for sure that she had made the right decision to travel all by herself with our company. I, for one, was delighted, too.