Fifty years after they met while backpacking through Europe in 1969, a group of three Canadians and five Americans reunited in California last week.
The reunion, planned by Canadian Doug Bradley, was at risk for being incomplete, as the group couldn’t track down one of the other Canadian travellers —Dave Tryon. Bradley said all he knew about his old travelling buddy was that his name was Dave and he was from Vancouver Island.
In May, Bradley reached out to the VI Free Daily in hopes that an article would help in the search for Dave — and it did.
In just two days, after a variety of Black Press outlets published a story online asking the public if they knew ‘Dave from Vancouver Island,’ Tryon was found living in North Delta.
Tryon said he was really surprised to find out his old pals were looking for him.
“All of a sudden out of the blue, I get a text from my nephew saying ‘is this you?’ and I said, ‘yea, what’s this all about?’” Tryon said.
Tryon said it was really neat to see everybody again after 50 years and that the group had a great time at the reunion.
The group of travellers watched the moon landing together on the floor of the U.S. embassy just outside Bonn, Germany in 1969. Last week, they all met up in Monterey, Calif., the first time they’ve seen each other in 50 years.
Bradley said the trip exceeded his expectations.
“It had been 50 years since we had met each other, so even though we were all excited, we were all wondering how it was going to go,” Bradley said. “We talked from the moment we got there until the moment we left. It was like no time had ever passed and I think it’s because we were not only drawn together by something as extraordinary as the moon walk, but in fact we were all very compatible people. They were all beautiful people, so we just got along so well.”
During their time in Monterey, the group stayed at the home of a brother of one of the American travellers, cooked meals together and reminisced about their time in Europe.
“What really came out was when one of them said, ‘you know, I’ve thought about you my entire life,’ and we realized that we all felt the same,” Bradley said. “We had never forgotten each other, we had always wondered what happened to that group of kids from 1969 and the memories and thoughts never left us. Every year we would think, ‘I wonder where they are now?’”
Bradley said seeing Tryon for the first time was great.
“Dave was the one I had the longest telephone conversation with before we even went down there,” Bradley said. “I talked with him for 20 minutes so I knew I was going to get along with him right away.”
Bradley said there are no concrete plans for a second reunion but hopes the group can get together again.
“They left it to me because I’m the planner. How we do it, I’m not sure,” he said.