I'm pulling up Glenn Osrin again because I've been loving everything he posts lately -- including his latest 4-part series on Love's the only rule for Bon Jovi fans, an inside look at the ties and bonds between Jovi fans all over the world.
And it got me thinking - just how much of my life today has been shaped by the people I've met through the Bon Jovi fan club? And more generally speaking, by Bon Jovi themselves?
The answer is: a hell of a lot.
Point in case - my boyfriend of nearly 4 years, my best friend in the entire world and ever-constant source of support and strength in everything I do, I met through Backstage JBJ in 2006. Online. On that old cream/white and red message board, where the yellow smiley faces were actually funny (particularly shock-face guy and pulsing heart-eyes). Where the Boredom Thread became my daily home, and where, on a random day in October, sitting in my former history teacher's office as his aide, I was playing around on his computer, logged into Backstage, and met a guy named "Stratocaster" (his online name; his real name is Björn). He lived - and still lives - in the Netherlands, but we met in person 8 months later, fell in love, and the rest is history.
Since that particular meeting, a more complex web of networks has formed -- some 50 or so "Boredies," from all over the U.S., Canada, Europe, and Great Britain (and later, Australia too) became my online Jovi friends. And I've had the pleasure of meeting nearly all of them over the last four years. Björn and I flew to the east coast and stayed with Trish in Philadelphia, PA for a week and Joanna in Hoboken, NJ, and met over a dozen of our mutual Boredie friends for dinner, backyard BBQs, and city-touring in PA, NJ, and NYC. (A mutual friend and her husband even trekked down from CANADA for this reunion!)
I've also met dozens of California fans - which is not surprising since I live here! - and we get together at least once a year for Jovi festivities. From San Francisco, where I got together with several NorCal fans for another fan's graduation party, to Los Angeles, where mostly SoCal fans meet up for dinners at Universal Studios CityWalk, to friends' homes in San Diego (where I live), and even to Las Vegas (which, I know, is not CA), where ALL of us - NorCal to SoCal - got together to see the band play at the Hard Rock Cafe in April 2009.
Oh, and this past month when I traveled to New Jersey to see Bon Jovi play New Meadowlands, I stayed with Jennifer (whom I met through Backstage), got together with about 20 other fans (whom I met through Backstage), and then traveled to Holland to see Björn, and GERMANY to see that friend who graduated in San Francisco (whom I met Backstage)!
It's not rare for me to visit and spend time with these amazing and wonderful people. They have all brought me such happiness and love, and given me support and friendship since I was just a goofy teenager who screamed every time someone even mentioned "Bon Jovi."
And I continue to meet more and more fans from all over the globe -- most particularly at concerts, where the default introduction is, "Hi, I'm [insert username] on the boards, who are you?" Say your real name and 50% of the time they look at you blankly. Say you're "RaiseYourHands," and comprehension dawns with "OH! So nice to finally meet you!"
Come on, don't tell me that's never happened to you! ;)
So aside from these new cherished friends, how else has Bon Jovi changed my life?
Well, because I met Björn, and because he lives 5,000 miles away, I had to travel a bit if I wanted to see him. And if I was traveling that far to visit him anyway, we might as well do some sightseeing. And travel further onward to foreign cities and lands. Places I've wanted to see my whole life.
So...since 2006 I have now been to the Netherlands four times, Belgium, London, Paris, Luxembourg, and Germany...plus Las Vegas, New York City, Philadelphia/PA, New Jersey, and resorts in the mountains and on islands around San Diego. It's a part of my life now, to travel, and we usually visit Backstage/Bon Jovi friends along the way.
So really, I never would have had the opportunity to travel and see these places without Bon Jovi. And that traveling yielded an endless process of learning...so I am smarter and more worldly thanks to Bon Jovi! LOL.
See how crazy of a domino effect this all is? And all of these points track down the line to one thing: Bon Jovi.
It's a wonderful, beautiful ride. And I am indebted to this band for so much, they will never possibly know how deeply they've affected my life and me, as a person.
From seeing the world to greeting, meeting, and reuniting with fan friends, I am one happy member of this Bon Jovi family. And I can't wait to see what the years to come have in store for us.
I've been everywhere
Still I'm standing tall
I've met a million faces
And befriended them all...
(1) Boredie Reunion in PA - 2007
(2) Boredie tailgate at New Meadowlands Stadium - 2010
(3) Boredie dinner at Chickie & Pete's - 2007
(4) Me in front of Big Ben, London - 2008
(5) CA Jovi fan reunion in Las Vegas - 2009
(6) Me in front of the Eiffel Tower, Paris - 2009
(7) CA Jovi fan reunion, Los Angeles - 2008
(8) Amsterdam w/ Bjorn - 2010
(9) CA Jovi fan reunion, San Francisco - 2007