Chance meeting

By Jim Royle
This item appears on page 21 of the December 2021 issue.

This month’s winner is JIM ROYLE of San Diego, California:

On a trip around southwestern Western Australia in 2009, I got to the town of Esperance, with plans to visit Cape Le Grand and Cape Arid national parks. I intended to camp but wasn’t sure if there would be space in the campground at the more remote Cape Arid. If there wasn’t, I knew I wouldn’t have time to drive all the way back before dark. Ideally, I wanted to spend the night somewhere between the two parks. To see if there was any such place, I visited the Visitor Information Centre in Esperance.

Browsing the racks in the VIC, I came across a brochure for the Orleans Bay Caravan Park, which met my requirements; I could camp there. Turning over the brochure, I learned that the place was run by Chris and Guy Royle. Then I knew I had to stop there.

Pulling into the caravan park after a pleasant visit to Cape Le Grand, I found the office closed but managed to find someone to check me in. As he began the process, I said, “Are you Guy Royle? My name’s Jim Royle.”

He replied something like, “No kidding? My Dad’s name is Jim!”

Guy then called in his mother, and we compared notes about from where in England our families came.

She wanted me to meet her husband, so I drove her to the pier, where he was helping clean the day’s catch. We went through the same discussion of where our families were from, and I mentioned that my father and grandfather were also named James.

He looked at me and said, “My middle name’s William. What’s yours?”

It’s William.

I’d traveled 9,000-plus miles to meet someone with my own name.

Tell us about something humorous that happened to you while traveling outside the United States. There are no restrictions on length. ITN staff will choose each month’s winner, who will receive a free one-year subscription to ITN. Include your full mailing or billing address. Entries not chosen cannot be acknowledged.