Never let a chance go by

Based on a true story

This is a true story of random connections, opportunities and above all else, friendship.

Never let a chance go by

Once upon a time, many years ago, an intrepid (read slightly mad) Australian family met a Scottish family in a slightly out of the way, somewhat obscure French camping ground. 

Each family, coincidentally, had three daughters, exactly the same age. 

This was a chance meeting made possible by the typical playground antics of children. You know how it goes: playground + children = make friends

The Australian family were on the first night of their European ‘camping on a tight budget’ holiday, with only a rough idea of where they were headed over the coming weeks. They’d borrowed all their very basic equipment and set out confidently with only rustic schoolgirl French and a sense of adventure, to see as much of Europe as they could over the summer holidays. 

Yes they were naive, but brave nonetheless.

The Scottish family had opted for the popular Eurocamp setup and were settled in the camping ground, with a luxurious tent, complete with proper beds, a refrigerator and space to swing a cat – by the Australians’ standards this was a top notch affair and something from their wildest dreams.

As children are want to do, the differences in camping equipment and accents made no impression on them, they were happy just to make some new friends and play until forced to have dinner, a shower and put to bed while the sun still shone outside, ready to get up the next day and continue the fun.  

The parents of the girls met each other and chatted away into the night, not knowing that this was the start of a friendship that would span decades. 

On the morning of the Australian family’s departure, the Scottish family invited them to a farewell breakfast, and despite initially politely refusing the kind gesture, were talked into accepting the invitation by the children. So with their trusty tube of Vegemite they joined the Scottish family for a delicious breakfast and swapped addresses.  The Scottish family generously offered their home as a place to stay if ever the Australians found themselves in Scotland.  

Never let a chance go by….as it so happened the Australians had plans to drive to Scotland after their European sojourn and so tucked the address away in a safe place.

After their summer adventures of camping around France, Germany and Switzerland were over and they’d returned to their temporary home in the Southwest of England, the Australians set about planning their next adventure – driving and camping in Scotland. 

They remembered the Scottish family’s offer and after much sightseeing along the way found themselves in the Inverness and Spey valley area of northern Scotland. It was a great reunion of the six girls who quickly picked up where they’d left off.

A fun time was had by all with friendships renewed and deepened.

Never let a chance go by when travelling

Years go by

The Australians returned to their home in Australia with many memories of their great year living in the UK, travelling and making friends wherever they went. Years passed with not so frequent contact via mail and later email and Facebook.  

Once again the Australians were on the move and visiting the UK.  As their favourite saying was ‘never let a chance go by’, they decided to try and reconnect with their Scottish friends after 16 years since their first meeting.  An invitation to spend Hogmanay (New Years) in Scotland was offered and the parents found themselves on a flight, wondering if they’d recognise each other. Let alone have anything to talk about after all those years. 

Recognition was swift and the friendship instantly clicked back into place.  The Australians were often heard to say that the Hogmanay in Scotland was the best New Year’s party they’d ever been to – ever!! 

The parents found their experiences of bringing up three daughters of the same age were eerily similar despite living on opposite sides of the world and they laughed and talked their way through the whole visit. Offers were made of reciprocal visits to Australia and seeds of thought were sown.

More years go by…

Ten years later another visit ensued and the friendships were picked up as if it were just yesterday with wedding invitations and swapping of grandparenting and retirement advice. The similarities of life were again commented upon and much laughter and talk enjoyed, as well as a mutual love of gin!

The seeds sown about a visit to Australia in previous visits were watered again with both families hoping it would happen sooner rather than later.

A chance meeting made in a French camping ground, over 26 years ago, has resulted in a close longstanding friendship between the families, particularly the parents.  Contact over the years has been sporadic but with tools like email and Facebook, the world seems to have become smaller in some ways.

With the help of a willingness to reconnect and the attitude of ‘never let a chance go by’, an easy friendship has developed over the many years.  This has incorporated other members of the family and friends of the family too, with many good times enjoyed and memories made. 

Spey Valley Scotland
Spey Valley Scotland

The moral to this story is to take a chance, seize opportunities, be intrepid, and treat life as a big adventure.  

In other words ‘never let a chance go by’… never know where it will lead you!

Feel free to leave a comment below. I always love hearing from you and try to answer all your comments 🙂

Deb xx

True travel story

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64 Replies to “Never let a chance go by”

  1. How wonderful. We’ve made friends through caravanning trips that we now meet up with annually at a point halfway between where we live. We too have got to know their families and share latest news when we catch up.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Glenys, I really appreciate your comment and hearing that you’ve made friends while travelling too. It never ceases to amaze me how how many people are out there enjoying travels and blogging about their experiences. I love this community!!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. The same, we met the friends who we are going canal boating with in September, when we were motorhomers back in NZ 🙂 Lovely story Deb, and sounds like you are enjoying catching up with them.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Rachael, thanks very much for your feedback. I’m so glad you’ve had similar experiences on your travels. It’s a great way to meet new people but it can be a bit scary at times putting yourself out there. Nothing ventured nothing gained is a good saying I can relate to 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  3. What a fabulous story! We’ve made several good friendships over the years that we’ve been traveling and, like you, we try never to let a chance go by. Not every encounter will turn into a deep friendship, but you’ll never know unless you open yourself up to the possibility.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much for your commentEm, I felt inspired to write it this morning and I’m so glad you enjoyed it. It’s been great to be able to catch up with friends all over the place during this trip.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Such a beautiful story Deb and it is wonderful to keep that connection going from the other side of the world. I’ve met several people when travelling, that I would like to have kept in touch with but unfortunately, the friendships didn’t develop strongly enough to keep in touch. Such wonderful memories for you to share during your meetings and yes Hogmanay is pretty special! The Scots know how to party that is for sure! x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Sue! I’m glad you enjoyed my story 😊 we’ve been so lucky with our travels and staying with wonderful people who we have a real connection to. Yes they sure know how to party!!

      Hope you’re going ok, well done on your huge run that was incredible. xx

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Good for you! The run was HARD but I made it. We have been training for a full marathon which is in two weeks. It would be my second and final one so I’ll make a decision closer to the time. I’d like to give it a go as the last one I did was 6 years ago. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Funny thing about friendships-I am happy to say I have many with people I don’t hear from daily, weekly, monthly, or even annually. When we do get together, though, it’s as if no time has passed. If you can say that, you are truly blessed. Thank you for sharing!!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Love your story so much – from your descriptions, I am now ready to hop a plane from the U.S. to Europe! Longtime friendships are the best, and meeting by chance makes it all very special and “meant to be”. Such a joy to meet people that you just click with, and then it becomes for a lifetime, just wonderful. I really enjoyed your post, visit me when you can 🙂


    Lori Jo – 50 With Flair

    Liked by 1 person

  7. What a great story Deb – I can’t say I’m surprised by it because you seem like you’d be easy to be friends with, and you’re right about FB and email making it easier to keep those long distance friends seem close. BTW I have a bone to pick with you – your blog title got a Ted Mulry Gang song stuck in my head and so I Youtubed it (as you do!) and thought I’d share the link with you so that it could be stuck in your head too!
    Thanks for linking up with us at #MLSTL and I’ve shared this on my SM x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much Leanne! I always love getting your lovely comments 😊 and I’m glad we’re friends. I had fun writing it in a different style – something that just popped into my head early one morning. The song you mention was by Bob Hudson and was a big hit when we were actually living in Newcastle! I had it in mind when I wrote the title so great minds think alike 😊 it’s a fun little ditty and I appreciate you leaving the link. Just so you know it’s been stuck in my head ever since I wrote it too 😂


  8. We love the connections we have made whilst travelling, and like you take every opportunity to connect. It adds so much extra to the wonders of the journey and as you say one should, in any case never let a chance go by.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re so right Jan, it does add so much to the wonder of the journey when we take the opportunities on offer. I love hearing other people’s stories too so thanks for joining in!


  9. I love this story, Deb. My husband and I stayed at a bed & breakfast in Mexico a few years back. The hosts were a delightful couple from England. The first night they invited us to have dinner with them in their home. Introvert that I am, and not wanting to impose, I was hesitant, but eventually accepted the invitation, and am so glad that I did. We’ve become fast friends with them and several of their friends. Most of our regular contact is through Facebook and occasional FaceTime calls, but we have met up with two different couples as they traveled through our hometown, and we go back to the bed and breakfast at least once a year–sometimes twice! I’m with you–never let a chance go by! We could have missed out on some beautiful friendships.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s funny isn’t it, we don’t want to impose or be a problem but when we accept the invite it can turn into something very special. I enjoyed reading of your experience too, it’s lovely to know how common it can be to make friends on holidays by not missing the opportunity offered. 😊😊


  10. I love meeting new people when we are traveling. Only one has ever turned into a longer term connection, but that doesn’t stop me from enjoying the people we meet, even if it’s just for the short time we are together. Great story! visiting from MLSTL

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Great story and totally resonates!

    I’m always amazed how a brief encounter with strangers whilst travelling, cements a longterm friendship. This seems to happen more when travelling than at home – it’s bizarre but true.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Indeed. It’s almost like we need to travel half-way around the world to find people that we instantly connect with. But maybe it’s just the fact that we’re living out similar passions and we bump into each other. I’m a great believer in fate. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  12. Deb this is a beautiful story. I loved reading about how you connected with your Scottish friends. I can just imagine all the chat as you caught up on each other’s lives over the past few years. Thanks for sharing with us #MLSTL Shared on SM

    Liked by 1 person

  13. What a lovely story and I love your motto : Never let a chance go by! We have lived by a similar motto – “Be open to every opportunity” and it’s taken us to some amazing places and situations. Thanks for commenting on my blog earlier, and I’ve emailed you about being included in the “Women Over 50 Who Blog” series 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  14. What a fun story. I love the style you used writing it. It’s always fun to look back in life and see what could be random moments turn out to be so important overall. Serendipity!
    #MLSTL & sharing on SM

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the feedback Trisha, I really appreciate it as I tried something new by writing it this way. I woke up one morning with the story bubbling away in my head and just wrote it quickly before I lost it 😊

      Liked by 1 person

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