101 things about me

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Could it be me in National Geographic? The question finally answered...

Many moons ago, way back in October 2009, I wrote a post about a chance event where I stumbled upon a copy of a National Geographic from 1991, that was especially significant to me. It's amazing that I found it really, given it was amongst so many others that dated as far back as 1967!

The chance of finding such a treasure in so many magazines was quite remarkable, and yet the title on the spine just happened to catch my eye and I was drawn to it. I call it a treasure, because not only was there an article in that particular issue that covered a journey along the Zaire River that I had taken myself in 1989, but I suspected that (perhaps) I may have actually been in one of the photos.

It was an exciting prospect. And within days I had sent an email to the photographer Bob Caputo via his website and waited eagerly for his reply.

And waited...
and waited...
and (yes, you guessed it)... waited some more.
And no reply came.

Some months later, I revisited the search and eventually tracked him down on facebook, and sent him a message there too. Not surprisingly (I don't think he is a consistent FB user) I still didn't hear from him.

Then just the other night, when it came up in conversation, a friend said not to give up the search and suggested I try twitter. That night, I did as she suggested - but once AGAIN with no luck.

However, re-motivated I returned to his website to see if there was anything new... and there was a new link to another website (a collaboration with another photographer) and so I went to take a look... Seemed it was quite recently updated and quite active too, and so, I found the contacts page and sent another message.

And I waitied.

But this time, the wait was rewarded with a reply less than 9 hours later! How exciting! Bob sent me a greeting and (having read my previous post) finally answered the question that I had been eagerly awaiting!

Could it be me in National Geographic?

Hi Jacinta
Thanks so much for the email - sorry I didn't get the earlier ones you mentioned. Glad you could track me down.
Sounds as if you had a really wonderful time in Africa. I enjoyed reading your blog. Sadly, it isn't you in the photo of the boat on the Congo (or Zaire at the time). I made the trip (twice) in 1990, and both times went the other direction - from Kinshasa to Kisingani. Sorry about that. I'm sure that if we'd been on the same boat we would have met.
Really nice to hear from someone who made that trip. As you said, it is very hard to explain to anyone who hasn't been on the boat. Those trips were definitely high points of my travelling life.
Thanks again for getting in touch.

Yours, Bob

Well, I can't say I'm not disappointed, because I am. How incredible it would have been to actually be in a photo in a magazine that has fascinated me for as long as I can remember. A publication that was no doubt instrumental in developing my curiosity and love for other cultures and the natural world.

Nevertheless, it's still a beautiful article that brings to life the very same trip I took in 1989, at the innocent age of 21. It was an incredible journey then, and now even more so, because I can reflect on it whenever I wish by opening the pages of the November 1991 National Geographic, reading the article and gazing at the magical photography of Bob Caputo.

Thanks Bob.


Shirl and Dave said...

So the mystery is solved.
Pity the wished for outcome didn't eventuate.
But the wonderful memories remain.
Enjoy them!

Nicky said...

What a great story, nevertheless! It's at least wonderful that you finally heard from him - a mystery solved for you!

Sharon said...

What a wonderful story. Thank you so much for sharing. Your Mom and Dad are right - just enjoy the memories. Sharon

Juddie said...

Wow! Looks like a fabulous trip and it's great that you have those pictures there to remind you anyway!

meli B said...

You were brave at 21! I travelled at that age too but was much less adventurous than you.

Red Hen (dette) said...

Yes you were brave to make that journey, It is a shame it wasn't you in the picture, but good detective work!

Nikki said...

You really were a very adventurous 21 year old!!

Great story, and well told....

AnastasiaC said...

still - what a FAB FAB story and how cool that you persisted and did track him down!! sounds like a wonderful journey you had...its such a fantastic magazine. my former boss was a subscriber so Id get to read all his back issues.

Lori ann said...

I know that article. How facinating this story is. I am glad you persisted in finding the answer.
Even though it wasn't you in the photo, the photos do show (brilliantly) what it was like. And you are so right, it's hard to explain what travel is like in developing countries. especially africa.

National Geographic has always been a huge part of my life too, since i was a child. It has led to making dreams come true for me and my husband.

great post! i enjoyed this very much.

kat+nina said...

Was just going next blog and coincidently I remember reading this article back sometime in '91. I loved that story and now have been transported back to what I was up to and where I was living, some good memories. Thanks Kat