“I’d always wanted to travel with my kids. After my cancer diagnosis, I couldn’t put it off”: Views from sportscaster Jamie Campbell’s European tour
Featuring Buckingham Palace, Vimy Ridge and WWE wrestler Chris Jericho
Who: Jamie Campbell, host of Blue Jays Central on Sportsnet
Where: London and Paris
When: November 2022
Ever since my two sons were young, I’d thought about taking them to Europe. I was 25 years old before I travelled outside of North America, and I wanted them to have that experience earlier. But I figured I should wait until they were old enough to appreciate it. Then, in January 2021, I found out I had leukemia, and my perspective on life changed. I wasn’t going to put things off. In 2022, Kaden was 16 and Jack was 14, and I felt ready for this trip. We decided to go to London and Paris for nine days in November, after baseball season.
In London, we stayed at the Hard Rock Hotel. The kids loved all the rock and roll paraphernalia. We ran into WWE wrestler Chris Jericho—Kaden is a huge fan. To get acquainted with the city, we jumped on a multi-level tour bus. We hopped on and off to see Buckingham Palace and the British Parliament buildings and to ride the London Eye. It was spectacular.
After London, we boarded a Eurostar train to Paris. Going up the Eiffel Tower was a highlight for the boys. It was a clear day, so you could see the whole city. Our hotel overlooked the Place de la République. Every night, Kaden would open a window and stare out at Paris, listening to his music. I snapped a picture of him one night, and I love looking at how happy he is in it.
We also drove north to Vimy. I wanted my sons to see where so many Canadians had sacrificed their lives during the First World War. We went on a tour of the trenches and learned that the youngest Canadian soldiers were 14—the same age as Jack. I could tell that caught his attention.
On our last day in Paris, we took the subway to the Arc de Triomphe. We stopped for lunch at a ritzy French café and finished the meal with an extravagant hot chocolate. That lunch might be my fondest memory of the whole trip—it was delicious.
When I first got my cancer diagnosis, I wondered if I would be around to see this through. Since we went, my sons’ recollections of the trip come up from time to time. Jack talked my mom’s ear off about all the things he saw. And, the other day, Kaden and I were in the car when a Tame Impala song came on. He said, “This song reminds me of looking out our hotel window in Paris.” I love that the trip made a lasting impression on both of them.