Timing Is Everything
A blog post by Greg
A number of things have come together to inspire this blog post. The first of these is a song that I heard for the first time the other morning by a country singer named Trace Adkins called ‘Timing Is Everything’. The second is a photograph that I saw on Instagram the other day which was taken by someone who was one of the last people to visit the Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris before the devastating fire in 2019. The third is the recent loss of a close friend and mentor to me as a performer, who I got to meet and work with due to a well timed email. Finally, and on a lighter note, we’ve been watching a series called The Umbrella Academy, which deals a lot with the ideas on time travel and of minor changes to the past having major effects on the present and future.
These four things, floating around together in my mind, have culminated, as I sit down this morning to write our weekly blog, in thoughts about how much timing can have an influence on life, and the extent to which timing has shaped our travels and our lives in ways we wouldn’t expect. The fact that Felicity and I are even working on travelling around the world together making documentaries as husband and wife at this point in time may really all be a matter of timing!
If an Italian minister hadn’t altered the tax laws making my touring in Italy a lot less profitable in 2013, I wouldn’t have taken a part time job in a shop for a few months next door to where Felicity and her sister worked. Had it happened a year later, the shop, Island Gems, would have moved to it’s current location across the island in Godshill and perhaps we wouldn’t have met then!
Even had we met a year later, and the timeline of our life together had run the same, it would have put our honeymoon in Mexico into early 2020, and the rise of Covid 19 may have stopped the honeymoon happening anything like it did. It was the filming we did on that honeymoon which inspired our move into travel and wildlife documentary making, so who knows what would have happened without it!
With thoughts about timing being everything in mind, I thought that I would share some of my favourite moments from our travels together so far which really have come about not as the result of careful long term planning, but by moments which have happened leading to unforeseen wonderful results!
As I’ve already mentioned our honeymoon in Mexico (which became the basis of our first travel documentary, ‘Mexico: Mayan Mystery and Marine Majesty‘), I ought to begin with the major change in plans which came just a few weeks before the adventure began.
Felicity and I had been learning to dive in the run up to the honeymoon because we had intended to have a number of diving based experiences while we were in the country. Unfortunately I had unknowingly picked up an ear infection while doing an open water session in a very cold lake in January, and while driving up and down the hilly road to Penzance for a show at the Acorn Theatre my ear started to hurt, a pain which intensified during my straitjacket escape that evening, and the pain became unbearable within a day requiring a trip to A&E where I was informed that the infection had built up pressure and perforated my eardrum.
My immediate panic was that this would affect our upcoming flights, but although it would likely be uncomfortable I was told that these would be alright – but I couldn’t put the ear under the increased pressure which would come with diving, and so that had to be ruled out for the honeymoon.
This was obviously upsetting as we had been planning the dives for a long time, but we managed to swap plans to activities where we could snorkel instead of diving, and this was when we managed to book up to snorkel with Whale Sharks in La Paz. You can read all about that experience in one of Felicity’s previous blog posts HERE! It remains, to this day, one of the most magical experiences of our adventures, swimming gently alongside these gentle giants of the sea with their beautiful starry sky like patterns, and if I hadn’t got an infection, and then had the hilly drive to Penzance and blown my eardrum just weeks before we were due to fly, we wouldn’t have done it while we were in Mexico!
In fact, that was a double whammy of timings with that particular day in Mexico, because when I had changed to the whale sharks because of my ear problem that was all we had planned to do that day.
While we were on Isla Mujeres, however, just a few days before we were due to swim with the whale sharks in La Paz, we decided to go for a walk to try to find a quiet area of beach away from the bustling crowds. We didn’t realise as we left the main town just how far we would have to walk, and had forgotten to bring a drink with us, and began looking for somewhere to get a drink. We finally found a place, but when they bought a drink it had ice cubes in it.
Public service announcement – and we can’t say this enough – don’t drink the water in Mexico! Most people know this, but do be particularly careful to use bottled water when cleaning teeth, and remember that ice cubes are often made with tap water. We knew all this, but on this one occasion we just quickly scooped the ice out of the glass and still drank the drink.
It was the only time we made that mistake, but once was enough!
I don’t need to go into the details of Montezuma’s Revenge which hit us both hard, but suffice to say that we were both out of commission for a few days, and had to rearrange things once again. We managed to make our flight across the country, and from a hotel bed in Cabo San Jose, between frequent trips to the bathroom, I worked to reschedule what we could (we both agreed that perhaps bouncing around the water on a jet-ski as we had planned may be a step too far!).
When it came to moving the date for the whale shark snorkelling, I was told that we could move the date, but the only space which they had available was on a day which combined snorkelling with whale sharks with snorkelling with sealions, so that if we moved we’d have to swim with sealions as well. Of course we took the opportunity, and getting to be in the water with these playful creatures in the wild was another experience we are so happy to have had, and all thanks to having ice in a glass for a few seconds!
Let us leap forward to Turkey, where we had flown to Denizli specifically because Felicity had seen images of the incredible Cotton Castles at Pammukale, an incredible travertine formation topped by the Ancient Greek city of Hierapolis, and wanted to see these natural wonders in real life. So we set off from our hotel up to the city of Hierapolis early in the morning and got to the top of the Cotton Castles where we saw… nothing.
A thick mist was in the air, so thick that we could barely see a lot of the structures of the ancient city, let alone see the wonders of the travertines, and it looked like we had got the timing wrong on this one, and so we had a look around as much of the ruins as we could see and made our way back into town to the hotel. We decided our best bet for the afternoon would be to drive out of town, and picked a local ruin site called ‘Laodicea’.
As we got to the end of the road which our hotel was on, however, I made a decision, instead of turning right to go straight to the ruins of Laodicea to instead turn left and have one more attempt to see the Cotton Castles through the mist from their base at the edge of the town, and as we drove towards them we discovered that the mist had lifted and they were now clearly visible! Because we’d decided to take that extra five minutes to go past them at that time of day we got to see the Cotton Castles which we were in the area for, and they were so worth seeing! I still can’t quite get my head around the fact that they aren’t made of snow when I look back on the video footage of us on them!
Not only did we get to see the Cotton Castles, however, but as we had now talked about visiting Laodicea we now decided that we would do that the following morning on our way out of town instead, and that meant that we happened to be there as a couple of the archaeologists were working on reassembling a column.
We were there at the right time again, as when they saw our interest the two of them invited us in to have a look around the excavations which they were partway through – something which we hadn’t expected, and which you can read more about in my blog post HERE.
I feel like I could go on all day giving examples of this, but as a performer I know the ‘rule of three’, so perhaps just one more example before I wrap up this blog post – but I would be very interested to hear any examples you have of ‘timing is everything’ moments on your travels in the comments below!
I’m going to leap ahead to our most recent documentary, ‘Seeking Cetaceans In Scotland‘, in which we partnered with the Cetacean Research and Rescue Unit to film a documentary about their work. On arrival the weather wasn’t great, but luckily we managed to get out on their research boat within a few days of arrival to get some footage of the team at work, and then we would have to content ourselves with working with the team around their base for the remainder of our time with them.
I am going to give away part of our newest documentary now… if you want to go and watch the documentary to avoid this minor spoiler then go and have a watch (links at the bottom of this page) and then come back to this blog!
On the last day we were in Scotland, one of the team, Betty, happened to be walking along the harbour wall just at the right time to see some dolphins in the bay there. This led to a big scramble as some of the team grabbed binoculars to watch what they were doing, and other members of the team hurried to prepare the equipment ready for if the dolphins started to head towards where the team’s boat was in its harbour.
At the last moment, when we thought that we wouldn’t be back out on the boat to see the dolphins again, one of the team being out on the sea wall and looking in the right direction at just the right moment meant that we got to head out and see these amazing creatures out in the sea once again, and that is an experience always to be cherished!
So much of our adventures are carefully planned as we have to get filming permissions and make sure that we get all of the shots which we need to put the documentaries together, but sometimes it is great when things just happen in the moment, and then timing is everything.
Happy adventuring, and please, take unbelievably good care of yourselves, and of each other!
If you enjoyed this blog post, please leave a comment and say ‘hello’!
For information on all of our projects, visit: www.gregandfelicityadventures.com
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There are various places you can watch our documentaries and series!
Seeking Cetaceans In Scotland: A two-part documentary about the work of the Cetacean Research and Rescue Unit as they work to help whales, dolphins and porpoises in the Moray Firth in Scotland:
Buy it to watch now on Amazon’s Prime Video at:
(Greg and Felicity are donating half of our income from the Amazon sales on this documentary to support the CRRU).
Available to buy on DVD (with £5 from each donated to the charity): https://ko-fi.com/s/73e469d114
ROMANIA: SEEKING DRACULA’S CASTLE: Our travel documentary looking into the history, legend and castles connected to Vlad Dracula III, sometimes known as Vlad the Impaler, and a journey around Romania:
Free Worldwide on Plex: https://watch.plex.tv/movie/romania-seeking-draculas-castle
Free (USA) on Tubi: https://tubitv.com/movies/579192/romania-seeking-dracula-s-castle
Prime Video (From £1.99, no Ads) (UK): https://www.amazon.co.uk//dp/B08RDPZP14
Prime Video (From $1.99, no Ads) (USA): https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08RDJR4F2
TURKEY: FAIRY CHIMNEYS AND UNDERGROUND CITIES: A travel documentary across Turkey, from the Fairy Chimneys and Underground Cities of Cappadocia to the ancient Greek ruins of Ephesus and Hierapolis:
Prime Video UK (From £2.49, no Ads): https://www.amazon.co.uk/Turkey-Fairy-Chimneys-Underground-Cities/dp/B09KKSZLRW
Prime Video USA (From $1.99, no Ads): https://www.amazon.com/Turkey-Fairy-Chimneys-Underground-Cities/dp/B09KK6VDJB
Free Worldwide on Plex: https://watch.plex.tv/movie/turkey-fairy-chimneys-and-underground-cities
Free (USA) on Tubi: https://tubitv.com/movies/579225/turkey-fairy-chimneys-and-underground-cities
Greg Chapman’s Magic Show: An eight-part series of magic and entertainment with Greg:
Free in the USA on Tubi at: https://tubitv.com/series/300008713/greg-chapman-s-magic-show
Free worldwide on Plex: https://watch.plex.tv/show/greg-chapmans-magic-show/season/1
Available to buy on DVD: https://ko-fi.com/s/7c1bc10a08
Mexico: Mayan Mystery and Marine Majesty: Filmed on our honeymoon in Mexico in 2019, our first travel documentary took us through the ancient sites of Teotihuacan, Uxmal, El Tajin, Palenque, Chichen Itza and Calakmul, and then on to see the whales of Magdalena Bay, whale sharks of La Paz, and more.
Watch free on YouTube: https://youtu.be/yfMpD868MHU
The Isle of Man: Railways, Castles and Seals: Our second travel documentary took us to the Isle of Man!
Watch free on YouTube: https://youtu.be/uCpUa6XEkbg