One of the first travel writers I followed on Examiner and on twitter was Pauline Dolinski. On twitter she was Travelspauline and she was the History and Landmarks Travel Examiner on Examiner.com. I was a big fan of her column being a history major in college and of course a fan of travel.
When I branched out with Traveling Ted TV last year, Pauline was one of my first subscribers. When you begin a new travel blog your early subscribers and comments are precious especially when they are written by someone other than good friend or your mom. In fact, Pauline wrote my second comment. The first was written by the Downtown Traveler.
Recently, Pauline stopped commenting on my articles. I thought nothing of it at first, but a growing concern lurked in my conscious as I remembered she mentioned in a previous email that she was recovering from cancer. I kept thinking about emailing her, but I never did. Perhaps I knew in the back of my mind what her disappearance from twitter, writing, and commenting met, and I did not want to confront reality.
A couple of days ago, I responded to a group email from some Examiners that she was on. I got an auto response from her email simply stating “Pauline Dolinski passed away on April 27, 2011.”
This really saddened me and put me in a funk for several days. Not only did I lose a reader, but I also lost a virtual friend. I never met Pauline face-to-face, but I could tell from her articles, her comments, her retweets that she was a very sweet supportive person.
You would think never having met someone it would not matter much hearing that they have passed. Although online virtual relationships are not as strong as face-to-face ones, they are relationships nonetheless. With every article you share, with every tweet, with every new mode of social media you follow someone with you are forging a bond with an avatar, which represents another human being. Even if you have never met this person when this tie is broken there is a sense of loss.
When twitter first came on the scene and travelers first started sharing their experiences and forging a community, Pauline was one of the vanguards. She was honored in the 101 adventure travel twitters you should follow for her efforts.
She was definitely a talented writer. One of my favorite articles was a debate on which state produced the most presidents. This article was so impressive it was even mentioned in a scholarly piece written by a University of Virginia student.
She was also an accomplished world traveler. I wrote a piece for a local adventure travel guide company about Kruger National park in South Africa. She faithfully commented on her own experiences there. Many of her comments were reminisces from her own travels, so it was obvious she was very well traveled. A visit to her Yahoo contributors page proves this point as she traveled to 60 countries.
Whether you are a blogger like myself, on twitter, or just a person surfing the net, the internet has become a huge part of our lives. Some may call it trivial and not real, but the fact that I am saddened by the loss of a virtual friend proves it is not. Friendships and relationships online may not have the validity of real life encounters, but they do have merit.
Pauline, I never met you, but I will never forget you. May you travel peacefully in your next journey.
If you had any contact with Pauline or Travels Pauline as she was known on twitter please share them in the comment box. Even if you did not know Pauline perhaps you have lost a virtual friend and would like to share your thoughts and experiences.
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Pauline was a great lady and had a lot to offer everyone she surrounded. Her articles were always full of interesting facts and adventures. She will be missed.
I also wrote to Examiner when I learned of her passing to place a tribute on the site newsletters all examiners receive monthly. They thought it was a good idea – hope to see it in print soon.
Beverly Mucha – Cooking in National Examiner recently posted..How to make sticky rice
Since I have had the boot from Examiner, would you mind forwarding me that issue of the newsletter. I’d love to see it. That is great that you contacted them. That is very touching.
Carol Hilker recently posted..Homemade chocolate pudding
Simply described, she was among the best…great writer, thoughtful, and a very caring individual. Those of us who started early on with Examiner hold her in a lofty position. We’ll all miss her..and our thoughts are with her and her family.
Charles Higgins recently posted..Venetian opens newest Vegas Strip race and sports book
I, too, have had online friends whose loss I still acknowledge years later. Although Pauline and I never really corresponded, I was a subscriber to her column and loved them – they were fascinating and insightful.
You wrote a lovely tribute. Thank you.
Neala recently posted..Visiting California John Steinbeck Style: Monterey and Carmel by Mike Marino.
Pauline radiated kindness. She also seemed to emanate genuine interest in just about everything — all the people and places she passed along the way — and to thoroughly enjoy connecting and sharing. She was One Special Lady, that’s for sure! I totally relate to the feelings you’ve expressed here, Ted, and very much appreciate you sharing them.
Debi recently posted..Napa Wineries with Art
Pauline was a very special person and an impeccable writer who expanded my knowledge, and inspired me to challenge myself and set the bar higher.
Like many virtual friendships, I just assumed she would be around forever, forgetting that cyber friends are in fact real people, and like the rest of us, just here for what is really the blink of an eye.
Still, she touched my life deeply, and which I also received that message that she had gone on a far more interesting voyage, one that we must all take someday, I felt a sadness, and a regret for not being a better friend.
This journey is an amazing one, and a rare privilege, no matter what we experience as personal challenges, losses, and setbacks.
Somehow, I have a feeling that Pauline is continuing that great voyage of discovery.
Thank you Pauline for sharing a part of your adventures with all of us.
Joel Siegfired recently posted..Coronado mansion where Rebecca Zahau died sold to investors
Many of us had the same experience of Pauline’s generosity- thoughtful comments and insights on our work, tweets, and personal emails to share thoughts. She is sorely missed.
I had no idea that Pauline had passed away! This is a great tribute, Ted. I also found Pauline to be an inspiration, and she was one of the first travel writers that welcomed me after my career change. She was a wonderful (virtual) friend and a great spirit!
Leslie recently posted..Photos: Creative costumes at the NYC Village Halloween Parade 2011
What a beautiful requiem for our friend. Always the first to comment on all of our articles, Pauline was always there for all of us, adding to our content, her first-hand experiences and commendations. I will always be grateful for her friendship and like you, although we’ve never met face to face, we were good friends thanks to twitter and Examiner!
Jeff Titelius recently posted..ArtSmart Roundtable: Paris’ Haunted Père Lachaise Cemetery
Great post to remember a friend and the contributions she made. I never knew Pauline but she sounds like a wonderful person. What a great tribute and a reminder of the impact we can have on the lives of others – no matter how small.
Jeremy Branham recently posted..Barcelona, beaches, football, and the beauty of Gaudí
Like all of you who have commented, it broke my heart to learn of Pauline’s passing. I sincerely learned so much from her and often forwarded along her posts on Examiner and AC to many of my family members — I come from a long line of talented educators.
I especially remember her post on Charles Schultz sticking out to me. It was about Snoopy and the Boy Scouts turning 100. I loved her writing style, I loved her voice and I was in awe of her knowledge.
It was sad to learn last week that had lost someone in April, someone who we all really felt a kinship to. I guess the internet is a double edge sword. We get the chance to meet each other on a limited basis — yet part of me feels so saddened at the fact that I never really met Pauline in person. I am however, grateful that I knew her.
She was such a positive force, as many of us remember, during a time when many of us started out, we really needed that positiveness. I am a better writer thanks to Pauline Dolinski. I believe Ted said it best, Pauline, “May you travel peacefully to your next journey”.
Carol Hilker recently posted..Homemade chocolate pudding
What a heartfelt and touching post, Ted. I didn’t know Pauline but it sounds like you really lost a good reader and friend. Very thoughtful of you to write this.
I just looked up the last email I’d received from Pauline… We had corresponded several times and I, too, was saddened to get an autoresponse about her passing recently. She was a support to so many and a classy lady all around. Here is her email to me from December 14, 2010, just four months before her passing:
I am so glad I went to all the wonderful places you write about while I could, as things are very difficult right now, and there doesn’t seem to be much travel in the future. I will get out and about nearby, and will keep going as long as I can. I probably won’t get much writing done, but I’ll keep reading even if you don’t see my comments.
Now her travels on Earth are over, but she has the entire universe to explore!
Best to all,
Debbra Brouillette recently posted..Celebrate the holiday season in St. Barts, French West Indies
I never had the chance to interact with her since i only took travel blogging seriously mid this year. I can feel in this article that she did really touch your life. You are right with the part where you mentioned that your first blog readers are truly special especially if they keep on commenting and retweeting your posts. I bet she’s smiling now upon reading this post of yours, Ted. Hope you’re well now 🙂
Micamyx|Senyorita recently posted..C2 Classic Cuisine Signature Series: Crispy Kare-Kare Set
So very sorry to hear about your friend. It’s always a strange and heart-breaking thing when an online friend and confidant passes away. I’ve sometimes waited years to hear the bad news.
She sounds like she was a wonderful person. My condolences.
Chris recently posted..Geeking Out at Mana Bar, Brisbane
May she rest in peace. Cancer is taking the lives of so many young, endearing people…it kind of scares me sometimes. On the same token, it reminds me of how fleeting, short life is and how any time could be our time. We most make the best of every day.
Btw, I totally understand your “tie” to her, the whole virtual friendship thing. If some of my favorite travel tweeps passed, I am sure i would feel just as devastated, even tho I haven’t met them in person (yet). Idk. but sometimes you just connect with certain people, and when you are both real (even online), it almost equates a face-to-face encounter
Maria @latinAbroad recently posted..Europe: Through the eyes of a 17 year old (photo essay, pt 2) #TT
I just learned of Pauline’s passing yesterday, more than a year later. It happened by a weird circumstance — my email account got hacked and I received an auto-response from her email. I was among the original writers on Examiner and she and I both wrote travel columns. While mine was devoted to New England travel, hers was more about the historical aspects of travel. I remember her, in the “virtual” sense, as a terrific writer and contributer. I was very sad to read of her passing. Thank you, Ted, for your great tribute to a person I wish I had met “in person” rather than virtually. Best, Ronna
I am sorry it took you so long to find out. I forwarded this link to all the Examiners in the group, and I thought that I included you, but obviously I did not. Very sorry about that.
I did not know about Pauline, an d I am sorry I am late in finding out what happened to this amazing person who was my virtual friend, too. Thank you Ted. I loved your tribute.
As you can tell from all the comments on this post, you and I were not alone in our adoration for Pauline. I was at TBEX travel blogger conference this weekend and got to meet many online friends I have been following and collaborating with for years. I am saddened still that I will never have that opportunity with Pauline.