In a day and age where we’re constantly hounding websites, iPhone apps, and Twitter feeds for the best travel deals, it’s nice to know that serendipity still plays a role.
Fast-forward to 2013, and the same bottle has made it across the Atlantic Ocean and into the hands of ten-year-old Oisín Millea from County Waterford, Ireland. His spontaneous discovery (which he suitably deemed as ‘treasure’) stirred the hearts of Tourisme Québec minister Pascal Bérubé, who then invited Oisín and his family to the province for a 12-day visit, gratis. Besides meeting up with the two girls (now young women) to celebrate the bottle’s long-awaited arrival, the family trip will include visits to Montréal, Québec City, the Irish Memorial park on Grosse Ile, sleeping in a yurt, and whale watching on the St. Lawrence River.
Likewise, Tourism Ireland has invited the two Québec women to follow in their bottle’s legacy and visit the Emerald Isle.
So what can the digital generation learn from this tale? While most of us born in the nineties can’t wait ten seconds for a text response—let alone over eight years for sea snail mail—maybe it is time we put the gadgets down, hit the beach, and let the waves decide where we're off to next.
Maria Pedone is a digital editorial intern at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter at @mariapedestrian.