Jeremy Mercer ❖ Online

Jake Goes to Italy

March 1, 2015

Fate threw me together with Jake Rupert two decades ago. We were both student interns at the Ottawa Citizen and we were both assigned to the crime beat in hopes of pumping a little youthful vigor (and youthful heartlessness) into the newspaper’s struggle to keep up with the local tabloid.

Our friendship was born out of a competition, two ambitious reporters trying to make a name for themselves, trying to get staff jobs at the newspaper. But luckily, the friendship transcended the competition, through the shared beers, the shared late nights, the shared disillusionment with certain management priorities. Looking back on those newspaper days, Jake was one of the most solid people I knew, the type of man who would have a friend’s back no matter the circumstance.

He left the newspaper a few years after I did, frustrated that his obsession with social justice wasn’t matched by his editor’s. And after leaving the newspaper, he somehow hatched an extraordinary plan: he was going to leave traditional work and traditional life behind and move to Italy and start an inn with his wife Lisa Blais. Over my years, I’ve heard hundreds of fanciful plans, but because I knew Jake I knew this wasn’t a case of idle dreams, of ‘if’. This was a case of ‘when’.

And when has happened. Jake and Lisa have sold their house in Canada, bought the inn in Italy, and will launch Amazing Abruzzo Tours early next year. They are hoping to raise money for the final rounds of renovation via IndieGoGo and I strongly encourage people to contribute. (I am sadly still at the stage of my life where I hold my breath at the end of every month when looking to see if we have a positive or negative bank balance, so I was only able to contribute $50. But, I do plan to descend on them with my hellion children in the near future, and I will be paying full price to assuage the guilt for all the damage the offspring will surely inflict on their inn. Until then, I will wield my Amazing Abruzzo bottle opener with pride.)

Here’s a write-up of their adventure in an Ottawa paper. And below you can see a stunning picture Jake and Lisa:

From the Metro, provided by Jake Rupert, I believe.

And, a photo of Jake in parent’s living room dating from 2005. I am searching the shoe boxs for a photo of Jake and I together in our reporting days. I will post one when I find one.

Related Categories: New & Notable.

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photo : Stefan Bladh

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