For the next week my publisher is having a Valentine’s Day giveaway. At first I didn’t think I should participate. My characters are generally in such desperate plights that romance is the last thing on their mind. However, they are all young women and thus it is impossible to avoid clumsy flirtations, heart palpitations, despondency and yes, sex. Particularly for my youngest, Riley O’Tannen of the Graduation Present, a self-proclaimed klutz who misinterprets a young man’s interest until it’s almost too late.
Riley’s exploits are very loosely based on my own goof-ball adventures in Europe 40 years ago. In 2014 I came clean in a series of posts listed here:
- Europe on Five Dollars a Day
- Oeufs in a Van
- Nice is not Nice
- A Roll in the Hay, the French Riviera
- Never joke with a Border Guard, no matter how cute he is! (one of my most popular posts)
- The Samwitch Shop
- The Last Ferry to Dover
- Pier Andrea Makes his Move
- Wot the Chuffin Gypsy Nell’re ya speaking?
Fortunately I saved many of the letters and pictures from that time.
Yes, as you can probably tell most of our time was spent hanging out with “cute” guys and trying not to get carried out to sea.
Sigh. Do you have any embarrassing travel stories? Fess up!
BTW: Two other authors I’ve introduced you to on this blog are having give-aways:
21 thoughts on “Blasts from the Past”
Great old photos, Jan. 🙂
Thanks Jet – they’ve survived many moves. I really did do something other than chase cute boys, I swear!!
Reblogged this on arleen williams and commented:
A fun post and a nice plug from fellow writer, JT Twissel.
Thanks Arleen! I’m honored!
The only really embarrassing travel story that comes to mind is changing alongside the road when wanting to swim in the Firehole River. A semi-open car door does not cover up much when it comes to passersby 😉
Haha! That’s a good one!
I’ve loved your Europe posts – just read them all. You did well t fend off the dodgy Europeans and then fell foul of incoherent English café owners. What a fab trip. Did you drive back to Germany to return the car or is it languishing somewhere in King’s Cross, probably now treated as art?
We made it about thirty miles from my uncle’s house and then the car broke down, which considering what we put it through was amazing.
I remember reading about the innocent Riley O’Tannen in The Graduation Present Jan. I think I was probably even more innocent on my early travels than she was! Honest!
Oh my, something tells me you were a lot of fun! You probably still are!
Um. Forcibly kissed by a dwarf after getting lost in Bucharest? 1973. Lived on green white peaches (white peaches that weren’t ripe) for a day or two because there were only two twenty dollar traveler’s checks left in the wallet
Jan. “Cute” and “boy” don’t come close to the thighs, I mean man, carrying your friend into the sea.
A dwarf, oh my! I imagine that must of soured you on peaches. As I remember Hans was in the army so you’re right – not much of a boy!
Jan, you’ve wet my appetite to check out these posts from your past, if out of nothing more than curiosity.
You may wonder why on earth you’re following me after reading them! I was definitely a bubble head!
Not at all. Unlike you, I was an airhead. My wife is absolutely convinced of it, and feels I should speak in the present tense! 😀
Looks like you enjoyed your travels. I remember when I first went to Europe in the late 90s with a friend and we kept meeting young guys. In the name of romance, I kissed an Italian whose name was Guiseppe, and he sang to me in Italian through the streets of Florence. I have no idea what he was singing, could have been about the stupid American, but it sounded beautiful. LOL!
Knowing Italian men, he was probably singing about how much you reminded him of his mother! What a great memory. I don’t think anyone sang to me – except my drunken Uncle Bob.
Apparently you have some interesting experiences with men you have yet divulged, J. LOL.
What can I say? Interesting, tragic, complicated. The whole mugatoni soup!
I loved reading The Graduation Present because it felt so authentic. Having traveled in Europe around the same time as you, Jan, your novel brought back so many memories. I guess my most embarrassing–and potentially dangerous travel story–was when I missed the ferry to Athens and had to stay alone for a day in Brindisi, Italy. It was a charming town, but during siesta, everyone slept except some men and apparently “ladies of the night.” But I’d already checked out of my hotel and had no place to go, so a “kind” man found me wandering around and offered to cook me a meal at his place. It was a good meal, and there was plenty of his homemade wine too. And then, of course, he made his “big romantic” move. Luckily for me, he wasn’t very threatening, and I was able to let him know I wasn’t interested. But then I had to wander around for several more hours before I could board the ship, and I wasn’t feeling too well!
Love your old photos! My only embarrassment is that I always get lost. Too distracted with the photography opportunities 🙂