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How I Met Gordon & Alta Solomon

November 10, 2012
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What a beautiful island to call home

Gordon was the first artist I found online when I was planning my trip to Grand Cayman.  I knew the minute I saw his work that I needed to meet him.  Since the only contact information I could find was through a gallery owner, I sent her a note to see if she could introduce me.

I never heard back.  But as I continued to look for information, I noticed that this gallery owner was an artist herself.  And a damn good one at that.  Since I wasn’t having any luck connecting prior to my departure, I just decided that my trip would include a “search” for Nickola McCoy, gallery owner and Grand Cayman artist.  Why not?  It sounded like a good way to add a little adventure into the mix of a “lay on the beach” vacation.

After a week of searching for Nickola, I finally found her.  I won’t re-tell the tale as it’s featured on my blog.  Feel free to go take a read at http://bit.ly/Udzkp0 .  What I will share with you is that my meeting with Nickola was the spark I needed to launch Travel Gal Adventures.  And so, we started creating a week long exploration of art and culture on the island.  But after a few months of planning, I received a disturbing email.

“Sorry for the long delay. However, there have been some major changes here in Cayman recently. We are now leaving the Islands to go back to England. It is a decision not taken lightly and one that was made within the last week. The political and economic uncertainty here along with no job has played a major part in our decision. I am seeking another artist to do the Travel Gal workshop and tours with you and Gordon Solomon has stepped up. I am including his email here for you to contact him directly as we will be leaving within a few days and cannot foresee when we will be back.  Again, I am sorry and wish you the best.  Regards, Nickola”

It took me a minute to absorb the news.

I was sad for the incredible stress and pressure I assumed Nickola and her family must have experienced in coming to their decision to leave.  I was fearful I wouldn’t be able to regroup with a new set of artists and make it all happen.  But mostly, I was excited for the unknown adventure that was about to unfold.

And, how amazing that this long and winding path, lead me directly back to the place I started.  Something felt very right to me as I drafted my introductory email to Gordon.  Within minutes of clicking “send,” Gordon responded and we set up a time to Skype.

I launched my webcam and waited for Gordon to sign on, anxious to hear his thoughts and see where this new path would take me.

“Loading….,” came across my screen.  To my surprise, when the camera opened up, the scene at Gordon’s home was more than just Gordon.  He had invited Mr. Randy Chollette to the call, an artist I met on the beach with Nickola three months earlier. An artist that I always assumed would be part of this adventure but somehow his involvement vanished along the way for reasons that were never shared with me.  None of that mattered now though.  Because here he was sitting alongside of his friend Gordon, smiling and all geared up to join the journey.  My spiritual connection to this team on the island was feeling stronger by the minute.

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Meet Mr. Randy Chollette

I honestly don’t know if Gordon and his wife Alta realize this, but it was an incredible gesture for them to take my vision and the lead from Nickola, and so masterfully reflect it back to me with such passion and vigor.  They embraced my dream and pulled others into it before we even had a chance to wave hello.  Remarkable!  Truly remarkable.

As Randy, Gordon and I were getting to know each other and discuss this new adventure, in popped Alta from the side of the screen.

“You are helping us realize a long standing dream to share our culture with others.  And we have lots of ideas.  Can we share them?”

“You bet.  Continue!” I said.

Alta and this Cayman crew wanted to create a very personal experience for Travel Gal explorers.  They were eager and passionate about sharing their culture. We spoke about Gordon and Randy showing us how the island and its people have inspired their work.  We spoke about them guiding us through the creation of our own paintings, Alta sharing her excitement for Cayman cooking and poetry, Nasaria, Randy’s wife, engaging us with her stories and personal tours of the historic sites.  All this and more sprinkled with observations and experiences only one born and raised on the island could possibly share.  It was exactly what I first envisioned for Travel Gal when I launched it 3 years ago.  This amazing team of Cayman creative spirits was now aligned.  It was clear; this would be a one-of-a-kind travel experience.

Over the years, as the island has grown and become more commercialized, it’s been more and more of a challenge for Caymans to hold onto, much less share, their traditions.  Travel Gal is the perfect outlet for them to pass their culture onto others.  And this was the perfect time for it all to come together.  To my new friends on the island, I was helping them realize a dream.  But all I could think about was how they were helping me realize my own dream.  I guess you can’t ask for more than that.

My grandma used to always tell me “Be patient.  If it was meant to be, it will be.”  Now, I had absolutely no use for these words when I was 7.  I wanted everything NOW and NOW, or else.  Her words held real meaning to me though as I watched the expressions on the faces of Gordon, Alta and Randy.

WE were meant to be.

Ever since this Skype call, my new Grand Cayman artist team and I have been building the very first Travel Gal Adventure.  It’s a unique opportunity for a small group of explorers to experience the island through the eyes of the artists that represent it.   We’ll get an insiders perspective into Cayman culture as we get our hands dirty in the kitchen cooking a Cayman delicacy…play with paint as our artists guide us through their creative process…meet local fishermen coming in with their catches of the day…experience the reef and friendly Sting Rays as a local would (on our own boat) and make as much noise as we want at our own beach front jam session.

The packages will be ready soon.  If you’re already feelin’ it and want in on this adventure, send me a note so I can make sure you know first.

Want to learn more about Gordon & Alta?  Check it out here! (http://bit.ly/RoNWUj)

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