Meeting a Rock Star/ Jazz Musician Traveling

November 07, 2023

Meeting a Rock Star: Jazz Musician Traveling  gump style big  life moments
 One of the best parts of travel is the amazing, diverse people you meet along the way. We're still friends with so many wonderful people we have met on our travels around the world. I've really had a Forest Gump kismet kind of life, so running into a rock star seemed par for the course and brought back lots of fun memories. This is the first time I have mentioned these fateful, serendipitous famous connections in this 17 year old blog with 1600 posts. At my age, I thought it was time, as this blog is a bit of a memoir to leave for my daughter & these fortuitous flukes are such an inconceivable and impactful part of my life that shaped my world view. I feel truly blessed that I have met so many incredible people in my  life time. 

" I don’t know if we each have a destiny, or if we’re all just floatin’ around accidental-like on a breeze. But I, I think maybe it’s both."

– Forrest

I was an actress for many years, so that is one way I've connected with so many famous people. Oddly, as a young actress in my twenties,  I co-starred with a lot of super stars that were not even in my generation like Sophia Loren, Audrey Hepburn, Kirk Douglas. I worked with icons like Arthur Miller, Peter Bognanavich, Bruce Patrow ( Gyneth's famous dad), John Ritter, Bob Conrad, Dianne Weist, Kate Capshaw Speilberg ( wife of Speilberg), Frank Langella, Joe Namath, Barbara Walters, Joan Rivers and Josh Brolin to name a few.

Surprisingly, I've also known or worked with musicians  Mick Jagger, Gene Simmons, Julio Iglesias, Michal Des Barres, Placido Domingo, Michael Shrieve and Carl Wilson to name a few. As well as the top DJ in NYC Frankie Crocker who was a neighbor and friend. By chance, I lived in a penthouse apartment in NYC's upper east side, that had been comedian David Brenner's apartment and he was a sweet neighbor.

Arianna Stassinopoulos Huffington was a friend and neighbor, so I also knew/know her sister Agapi and their impressive, one-of-a-kind mother. Like Ariana, my good friend and neighbor Liz Wickersham knew and knows everyone, but I ( by chance)  am the one who  set her up on a date with another good friend of mine & they soon married and had a long, happy marriage.

Meeting a Rock Star: Jazz Musician Traveling  beautiful white sand beach europe ksamil albania by corfu greece

Astonishingly, I also worked on a film with OJ Simpson before he was infamous and knew Nichol Simpsons's sister Denise quite well as we were both models at the renown Ford Agency and had mutual friends. I also knew Dodi Al Fayed quite well through mutual good friends ( he died with  Princess Diana who was his romantic partner). 

Meeting a Rock Star: Jazz Musician Traveling  beautiful beach riviera
Living in LA and NYC for many years likely upped my odds for just a regular girl from nowhere connecting like this, but some of it did seem quite coincidentally "Gump" like and fated. I am also very introverted by nature so, the kind of girl that stays home if I can and not a social creature. I was not out looking for it as I prefer to be snuggled up with a book at night. Or on the phone back in the day or online now.

I even accidentally fell into acting from modeling ( after being an ICU nurse, playboy bunny and TWA fight attendant - all totally by chance & not planned in my early twenties). I was even one of the rare four TWA stewardesses  who got picked to do the press charter flights following president Ford on Air Force One. Some where in storage I have pens, napkins and various memorabilia from visiting Air Force One. I'll never forget it and also that we landed with top network camera men with huge TV cameras and famous reporters with mics STANDING up by the doors ( sans seatbelts)!! 

The strangest Gump like kismet story perhaps was a handsome, always well dressed, medical student at Columbia University,  (from Spain) who I met through a TWA roommate who dated him briefly. Being a recluse, I rarely go out at night, but when I was convinced to go out to a fancy, private club by chance, I would shockingly run into this friend repeatedly. ( This was the era of Studio 54 etc which I would go to sometimes with friends). He would approach me like a ghost out of no where, always a shock and unexpected.

Meeting a Rock Star: Jazz Musician Traveling  most beautiful white sand beach in europe like maldives
Years later,  I ran into him in Miami at a high end, private club. Another year, I ran into him at a very posh, restricted club in Paris. I was only at these places because different dates randomly happened to drag me out to them.Then about a decade or more later ( when he was a doctor) he found me again at a very exclusive hang out in LA. I was only there because it was an opening party for a film I co-starred in. Do these woo woo things only happen to Pisces? ( We were both Pisces).

Meeting a Rock Star: Jazz Musician Traveling beautiful clear water white sand beach europe riviera like tahiti

Once we met a fellow traveler in Cork, Ireland on a random street, and we had first met him a year or two  before in Turkey on a gulet trip. Odds? Once when I was jogging along the beach in Marina Del Rey, I saw a cute five year old that looked just like an old NYC Russian/European boyfriend I had not seen in over a decade and we had lost touch. I looked up and holding the little boys hand was my old boyfriend who was now married and living nearby, so we all became friends again. Now he is remarried and an infamous oligarch! Yikes!

Meeting a Rock Star: Jazz Musician Traveling  beautiful like maldives of europe or tahiti
Perhaps, even more odd & kismet, I met two Worldschool boys in Bansko while swimming in a tiny pool. When I explained to the boys that we were worldschool pioneers & my daughter was trilingual pop singer Heavenly Reyna, the 12 year old Bulgarian boy was beside himself with excitement because he watches her on Twitch and is a big fan, so he was as shocked as I was that we connected by chance in this tiny Bulgarian town! There are more than 8 million Twitch streamers, so against all odds!

Meeting a Rock Star: Jazz Musician Traveling beautiful beach kismet

Thus, you will see why this chance meeting with a Yugoslavian rock star Sheki Hoxha  brought back so many kismet "Forest Gump" kind of memories. What are even the odds that we would be on the same beach at the same time in late October when few are even in this area and likely zero Americans or Californians? The Albanian Riviera is not a place many Americans see or know about or even many Schengen Europeans. It is popular in July & August with Balkan country tourists, but almost no one is around in late October. 

Meeting a Rock Star: Jazz Musician Traveling gar reyna design soultravelers3 photographer
We were not thinking in terms of meeting people as we were there scouting out information and photos for travel stories. Our Schengen shuffle digital nomad lodging for September and October was in Saranda which is about 25 minutes drive away from this Ksamil beach white sand beach.

Meeting a Rock Star: Jazz Musician Traveling instagram photo spots riviera ksamil
So we were exploring more of the Albania riviera and capturing it in film. We sometimes take photos for Instagram with me creating  "travel angel" moments. We accidentally created a trend for us on Instagram that we call "red hat angel" series using a red hat I bought in Rovinj due to the sun & a beautiful hand me down lace cover up from our daughter Heavenly Reynawho wore it at Coachella. The red hat was in our stored vintage van in Barcelona, so we bought another hat in Albania.

Meeting a Rock Star: Jazz Musician Traveling  meeting Sheki Hoxha  rock star jazz guitarist in Ksamil beach

Thus, we were doing that in Ksamil beach when our rock star bassist and friend noticed and liked the creativity. I think they were having a meal or drink near by. We were at the beautiful Rilinda restaurant and beach. They came up to us and were chatting a bit and wanted us to take their photo in the same spot. Which my husband did as you see below.

Meeting a Rock Star: Jazz Musician Traveling  Yugoslavia Sheki Hoxha kosova bulgaria

In chatting, the friend named Thomas said that Sheki Hoxha was a famous rock star. We were not familiar with him, but he has something like 20 million fans and very popular in the Balkan countries. Sheki is a celebrity bass player and has been a part of projects that have received silver, gold, and platinum album awards in former Yugoslavia. Since our daughter is also a musician/singer/songwriter we had music as a common interest.

Meeting a Rock Star: Jazz Musician Traveling Soultravelers3 beach  Jeanne dee & Sheki Hoxha

As we took some more photos and chatted, I mentioned our daughter singing on Twitch and the strange coincidence of the Bulgarian teen who listens to her there. Thus he mentions that now he specializes in Jazz and had recently  played at the Bansko Jazz Festival! Had Bansko not come up in conversation, we'd never know we had this connection. 

Meeting a Rock Star: Jazz Musician Traveling  Sheki Hoxa Bansko Jazz festival bass kosovo world music

This is where it becomes very Forest Gump kismet!  What are the odds that we would have both been in Bansko during the Jazz Festival and on this beach spot in Albania at the same time? Hardly any Americans our age have even heard of Bansko, let alone been there. Almost no Americans are aware of the Albanian Riviera. Also Sheki does not live there, so just happened to be visiting. We were only there for lunch, so a narrow window to meet.

Meeting a Rock Star: Jazz Musician Traveling gorgeous white sand beach europe lke maldives and tahiti

Both my husband and daughter love Jazz and I love Latin Jazz. We have been to the Bansko Jazz Festival the last two summers. We do not go to Bansko just for the Jazz, but it is a plus for this ideal budget digital nomad location for the summer months when most of Europe is expensive, crowded and hot. We did remember seeing Sheki in the program but there are so many great choices, so we sadly missed him. Next year we will know who not to miss!

Thus it was a lot of fun for my husband to discuss Jazz with Sheki who is also a cultural ambassador for Kosova. He even got the restaurant to play his music from Kosovo Blues while we ate a scrumptious lunch. Sheki is an amazing talent and a really friendly, out going person. He and I are both pisces and another thing I love is his facebook banner that says "forever young". I can really relate and see no reason to grow old. One has to age, but no one has to get old!

Meeting a Rock Star: Jazz Musician Traveling  amazing food porn lunch at Rilinda restaurant Ksamil
The food was really delicious and it was amazing and idyllic to have this beautiful summer-like day mostly to ourselves to enjoy in late October. Meeting Sheki, and his music and Thomas was just icing on the cake. 

Creative Sheki must also have photographer talents as well because he took this photo of the two of us at the restaurant. I am glad we have it to remember that fun kismet meeting and short, but fun time connecting. 

Meeting a Rock Star: Jazz Musician Traveling  digital nomads soultravelers3  Jeanne Dee retired couple travel Ksamil october
Have you ever had kismet Forest Gump kind of moments? Don't you love the wonderful and interesting people we meet by chance when we travel? I am grateful for all that we have met and also all the wonderful people I have met through this blog. Many of you feel like close friends, yet we have not met in person. In today's world, more than ever we need to focus on the good. 

“One of the great things about travel is that you find out how many good, kind people there are.” – Edith Wharton



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Pat Fuller

What an amazing life you’ve had!

Jeanne Dee

Aw, thanks so much Pat!! I do feel like I have had a very blessed and a bit crazy life that I have enjoyed. What a wild ride any life is, eh? I am so happy you shared one of your "kismet Forest Gump" kind of moments on my facebook!! I love these kind of stories and memories.

Travel A-Broads

Love meeting new people during our travels! We recently made several new friends on our trip to Germany (at Oktoberfest), and I hope that we stay in touch with them for years to come! Xx Sara

Jeanne Dee

Isn't it great Sara? Truly, one of the best things about travel is the people along the way! I am sure you will keep up with your Octoberfest new friends!!


I absolutely loved reading your blog post on Gump like moments! And what a life you have led or tiles you! Thank you!

Jeanne Dee

Wow, thanks so much Catherine, so sweet to hear from you and know you loved it!! I was a bit afraid to write about it, but the kismet meeting with Sheki really brought back so many memories and seemed time to share some. Sad that so many of these people have passed & some are not even known by some of my daughter's generation. What a miracle and gift life is! I bet you have many amazing Gump stories to tell as well!! Everyone i have met, lives in my heart forever and I am grateful you are there too!!


Wow, that was a great read! Making friends in such beautiful places is just amazing. I mean, I've made some of my best friends while travelling.

jeanne Dee

Thanks bunches Moona! So so true, traveling is such a wonderful way to meet people and appreciate the beauty of our world that we often take for granted in day to day life.

Tracey Kifford

Good Lord - you make my life sound so boring!! ICU nurse to Playboy Bunny to TWA flight attendant ... I think someone should start penning a movie about your life!

Jeanne Dee

Aw, thanks Tracey!! You made me laugh with your delicious British sense of humor & made my day. :) Life is an adventure and I have enjoyed mine & the wild ride it has taken me on and the amazing people I have met along the way. I certainly never expected any of it. Perhaps I will write a memoir some day, but too many stories and not enough time as I am always traveling. :) I hope our paths cross some time!


Wow you’ve had such an interesting life! And you met so many amazing people:)

Jeanne Dee

Thanks, too kind Marga! I feel so lucky and blessed by all the people I have met on my journey through life.


This was an awesome read. I love meeting people while traveling and even better when I randomly run into them again somewhere else! Truly shows that the world is smaller than we think

jeanne dee

Thanks so much Shreya! Isn't it wonderful?!? So true how travel lets us know what a small world it is and how we are all connected!


I love all of the happy little coincidences and great people you get to meet while traveling - the last quote you included says it best :) so many good, kind people!


I love all of the happy coincidences and great people you get to meet while traveling - the last quote you included says it best :) so many good, kind people!

jeanne dee

Thanks Jill! Isn't fun? I looove that quote!!


You're absolutely right -- the people we meet make travel always fascinating! I could tell many stories, but I'll just say that I too met OJ Simpson in LA -- ha ha. My cousin from Ohio thought that was mindblowing!

jeanne dee

Thanks bunches Sharon!! I love the wild Gump moments that happen in life and travel and let us know what a small world it is!! So funny you also ran into OJ! He was not infamous when I worked with him and when I knew his sister in law Denise, but must say I was a bit shocked when he and Dodi became so infamous. I would never guessed!!


Great story and some amazing experiences. It is amazing that we sometime swirl in circles that bring us back to our past experiences and acquaintances.


Great story and some amazing experiences. It is amazing that we sometime swirl in circles that bring us back to our past experiences and acquaintances.

jeanne dee

Thanks Rhonda! Life and travel never ceases to surprise and delight us!


What a fun story and some fantastic memories to share! I love meeting people when we're travelling. We've never met anyone famous but we've definitely met some brilliant people on our travels!

jeanne dee

Thanks so much Hannah! Meeting people when traveling can be so amazing and eye opening!!


Aww, I love that! It's fun meeting people in my travels + I'm still friends with a number of them today too.

I don't plan to have kids, but I love keeping my blog as a memoir/almost a scrapbook of sorts to look back on. :] You've had such a rich + full life!

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