Blogger Meet Up – Albany Style, All the Way from New Zealand

If there is one thing I love, it is blogger meet up time. I have been very blessed to have met numerous blog friends over these past 3+ years. To see but a small bit of this chronicled, you can refer to this post from August.

When I first started blogging in May of 2007 I would write about my faith, but that was not really the focus of the blog. Mostly I blogged about politics back then, but I did find myself soon thrust into the midst of a wonderful world of Episcopalian/Anglican bloggers. So much of who I am and what I do out here is because of this diverse group of people. If you did check out that link from August, you will see me with a few of my Episcopal friends.

Yesterday I had the chance to meet yet another one of them, Brian Ralph, who authors the blog Noble Wolf. For those of you who do not know Brian, he is a retired teacher. He was living in the Blue Mountains, outside of Sydney, Australia, who recently moved to Dunedin, New Zealand. He is in the midst of a pretty significant around the world trip and his travels brought him through Albany for a day. Speaking of all of this, I do urge a visit to Brian’s blog to read about his amazing trip through Europe, including Germany, the UK and Scandinavia.

Brian in Starbucks in downtown Albany, NY

It was a great delight to meet this lovely man!  After picking him up from the train station, we went to his hotel in Albany so that he could drop his bags and off we went on a sunny afternoon. I got to see parts of this city that I never see!

As with so many blogger meet ups, it was an easy connection to just start talking. We already knew a fair amount about each others lives, including faith, family and travel history! Brian has the most engaging smile and a very warm heart.

Our first stop (but of course!) was a church, St. Peter’s Episcopal. We walked all around the Capital, Empire State Plaza and in and around some of the city streets. This is The Egg, a famous Albany performing arts venue and visual landmark. We tried to see the Roman Catholic Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, but it is still undergoing renovations and was not open.

Honestly, I have spent almost no time in Albany – seriously. How sad is that!? I have not been to The Egg and I had never (hangs head in shame) walked around Empire State Plaza before. For the record, I have also never been to the Cathedral before either – I know, go figure!

So it took a visit from a gentleman from halfway around the world to get me there!

It was so easy to talk with Brian. We talked about many things – his trip, our blogging roots and connections, his recent move from Australia to New Zealand. We spoke of many common blogging friends like Grandmere Mimi, Fr. Bosco Peters, Doxy, Paul, Jack and Mad Priest.  We talked about people who don’t really blog any more but who we think so highly of, such as Alcibiades and Dan. (Dan’s blog  is not there anymore!)

Brian and I spent a lot of time talking about how important our faith is to each of us and how there are many challenges to our faith practices. I expressed how grateful I was to be here in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany and how my current job and grad school pursuits are truly the work of grace. Brian talked about the hypocrisy he encountered and his experiences among the Sydney Anglicans and how different it is to be in Dunedin.  He also spoke at length about his work and how accepted he was among Catholics when he taught at a Catholic school in Sydney.

What a strange and wonderful thing this all is and I am very grateful for all the people that I have met via blogging and Facebook. The irony of all this is that I was supposed to have coffee yesterday with another person I met online and who lives in Albany, Maureen. I had to postpone that because of Brian’s visit. And I consider that I am still figuring out how to have a meet up (although we did meet briefly) with Mary DeTurris Poust who lives locally. And how that even though we have tried, Dan Sloan and I have yet to have a proper meet up… He lives 3 hours away, Brian lives almost 9000 miles away! Brian did not realize that Dan was in NYC or he would have tried to connect with him too.

Well I have rambled on and on here. In summation, a fine time was had and I continue to consider social media my mission field. I’m not here to convert you, but I will say, you – all of you – pretty much always convert me.

What a gift! Happy and safe travels Brian!


17 thoughts on “Blogger Meet Up – Albany Style, All the Way from New Zealand

  1. I am overwhelmed by your kind words. Our meeting yesterday was a highlight of my trip. I already enjoy reading your blog and learn so much and now I have met you in person it will be so much more meaningful. As you said, the internet is wonderful in how it can bring together like minds who live at great distances. Our meeting was also blessed by a day of sunshine amidst days of rain.


  2. Fran and Brian, how wonderful that you two met. I know what meeting my blogger friends has meant to me. I've made new real life friends from many different places who have enriched my life, including you, Fran. Brian, I hope that one day you and I will have the opportunity to meet face to face.Blessings to you both. Travel mercies, Brian.


  3. Blessings on your travels, Brian!Thank you, Fran, for inviting the rest of us to the meetup through your reporting. How wonderful that you were able to connect AND see more of Albany.


  4. This is probably one of the greatest gifts of social media: the chance to connect and meet with great people we'd never get to otherwise.


  5. I have not been to The Egg and I had never (hangs head in shame) walked around Empire State Plaza before.Good googly-moogly: I have, a couple of times (inc. one day when it was about -15F below! :-0)*****Fran, just wanted to bring this to your attention [RCs like this, and yourself: SALT OF THE EARTH!]


  6. I remember when a bunch of us were going to meet up at Morse's place. I never met any of you (Morse, DCap, Spartacus, Watertiger). I thought, what if these people who are cool online aren't the same in person? No worries. You were all even better in person. Glad you got to meet another online friend. The internet can be an amazing place.


  7. How wonderful! Pictures and descriptions were nice to fill into my imagination of your time together. I hope someday you and I will meet!


  8. Fran, that is awesome! Loved your post and the many things you covered within it. Meeting fellow bloggers, what your faith means to you, faith in the context of new friends, adventure in your own city…nice! 🙂


  9. From a dear friend of mine Sue who is a Deacon (the highest role allowed women in the Sydney Anglican Diocese)I loved reading Fran's account of your visit. It makes Sydneylook so small minded. Unfortunately it is. I'd put this comment on Fran'sblog but I don't know how. Love and blessings from Sue. (Assistant Minister,St George's Anglican Church, Paddington, Sydney)


  10. Thanks for all the wonderful comments and especially to Brian for adding Sue's. I think that there are 11 comments here and to think that I have met 4 of you – Mimi, Paul, Pissed/Gina and now Brian. What a gift. Michelle- I am always humbled to see your comments here, I do love your blog and wish I got there more often.Doris and Mother Amelia welcome! My deep thanks to all of you, for being part of this great online community.


  11. Glad you had a great blogger meetup with Brian. I swear we will meet up at some point! I was definitely thinking of you when we were so near by at that Scottish Festival near Albany!


  12. I too have been blessed with some meet-ups like this. Those who argue that the internet is not a community are wrong. My experience has been, much as you describe, people, when we meet them, are just like they are online 🙂 Thanks for a lovely post.BlessingsBosco+


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