It’s always the first response from strangers she meets in her travels when she tells them that she and her husband hail from Albuquerque.
“Oh!” the strangers exclaim. ” ‘Breaking Bad!’ ”
But then MaryBeth and Dave Hubbard met Magdalena Jacobi, an affable waitress from Poland who served them lattes and cups of coffee during a two-week cruise in January.
Jacobi didn’t mention “Breaking Bad” like everybody else. But, oh, was she excited. She knew something about Albuquerque, she told them. It was, she said, her dream journey.
Because of Journey.
That’s the ’80s band famous for hits like “Don’t Stop Believin’ ” and “Open Arms.” Journey is Jacobi’s jam.
“You could tell she is really into them,” MaryBeth Hubbard said. “She can tell you all the names, all the different things that have happened to the lead singer over the years, a whole history of Journey. I have never been so in love with a band or movie star or rock star, but she is for Journey.”
Jacobi, Hubbard learned, has vacation from her job with Princess Cruises in June and knows that her beloved Journey will be on tour then. The concert date that best fits into Jacobi’s time off is June 2, when Journey is scheduled to appear at the Isleta Amphitheater in Albuquerque.
“So instead of going home to Poland, I booked flights to Albuquerque!” she wrote me, her excitement exploding in bursts of exclamation points and joyfully garbled English. “You ask me, why I picked Albuquerque as a place to visit as a trip of my life? Is true, this will be trip of my life!”
Jacobi’s Facebook is filled with photos from the exotic ports of call she has visited: Mykonos. Casablanca. Honolulu. Bora Bora. Vanuatu. Sydney. London. Puerto Vallarta. And still, Albuquerque is the trip of her life.
That touched Hubbard, who found Jacobi’s glee so infectious that she decided to help make Jacobi’s journey to Journey happen.
“I have a 22-year-old daughter and when she is excited about something I try to make her dreams come true if I can,” said Hubbard, whose home is actually outside Albuquerque in the East Mountains. “That’s what I am trying to make happen for Magda. There’s so much crap in this world that when you get the chance to make someone happy, you try to do that.”
So far, Hubbard has arranged for Jacobi to stay free in a house she owns in Albuquerque. On concert night, a limousine will take Jacobi, Hubbard and two of Hubbard’s friends to Isleta Amphitheater.
And then, well, that’s where the plans become a little murky. No tickets have been bought, and they’re almost sold out.
“I am hopeful to get VIP tickets for this event for this young lady, but I have yet to hear back from the ticket seller,” Hubbard said. “If we have to, we will get seats on the grass, but I am still hoping to find someone willing to sell their tickets or someone who knows someone who can make this a memorable night.”
So here is that hope for the perfect seats, flung out into the universe with open arms.
Tickets, though, may not be the only problem. Coronavirus concerns have caused some stormy seas for Princess Cruises. Last month, passengers were quarantined aboard a ship off Yokohama, Japan, because of a coronavirus outbreak that afflicted 700 and killed seven. Just Thursday another ship returning from Hawaii was forced to remain offshore near San Francisco while passengers were tested for the virus.
Seattle, the city where Jacobi plans to fly out of, is at the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in the United States, with more reported cases and deaths in Washington than any other state.
Airlines have cut back on a number of flights. Concerts and other major events have been canceled around the globe.
Even Journey has hit some turbulence. Just last week, the band’s longtime bassist and drummer were fired after fellow bandmates accused them of trying to steal control of the band’s name.
All of which is worrisome but not enough to dampen Jacobi’s joy that come June she’ll be in Albuquerque.
“For my mum, this still sounds like mission impossible, but this is a trip of my life,” Jacobi wrote. “I’m so excited! Never been so happy in my life! My dream will come true!”
Jacobi, as it turns out, is a big fan of “Breaking Bad.”
“I know Albuquerque only from TV, and to see and to be in New Mexico is something what is taking my breath away!” she wrote.
Don’t stop believin’, Magda. We can always use a little more joy around here.
UpFront is a front-page news and opinion column. Comment directly to Joline at 823-3603, firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter @jolinegkg.