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Eastside author dies, leaves behind tales of travel adventures

Doris Bond (left) and Frank King met on a mountain in Italy 17 years ago. They recorded their adventures in
Doris Bond (left) and Frank King met on a mountain in Italy 17 years ago. They recorded their adventures in 'Travels With Doris: Without Reservations.'
— image credit: Courtesy of Doris Bond

The year was 1995 and a 68-year-old Doris Bond had taken a trip to Italy as part of a mountaineering group.

A widow of 11 years at that point, the now 84-year-old had traveled by herself and was not looking to meet or become romantically involved with anyone.

"Some people look for people," Bond said. "I wasn't."

But then she met Frank King, who was also a member of the mountaineering group, and everything changed.

"We were together after three days," she said.

Bond loved King's personality, saying that he was always helpful. She said they also discovered they enjoyed the same things, describing those initial encounters as "magic."

As for King, who was 67 at the time, Bond said his reaction to her was a little different, but no less positive.

"He fell in love with my brown legs," she said with a laugh.

The couple didn't marry but they remained together until King died on Oct. 2 — about a week and a half after their 17th anniversary on Sept. 21 — after battling a number of health issues for several years. He was 83.

While Bond met King in a foreign country halfway around the world, she soon learned after that initial meeting that they were both from the Redmond-Sammamish area and "lived five miles apart."

With the Eastside as their home base, the couple spent a dozen or so years traveling around the world, visiting about 60 countries. Among their favorite places to visit were Ireland, Africa and India, Bond said.

A number of the couple's adventures are recorded in "Travels With Doris: Without Reservations," a travel book King wrote, which begins with their first meeting in Italy.

As the name of the book implies, Bond and King never made reservations for hotels or tours when they traveled. She said they liked to meet locals and see their countries through the locals' eyes.

"One night (in Guatemala), we thought we were going to have to sleep in a barn," she said. "But (after meeting some of the locals) we ended up in a beautiful grass hut."

Bond said sign language played a large role in their travels.

"The people all over the world had open arms," she said. "I just loved the friendliness and the warmth everybody had."

King wrote several other books about traveling in his later years on his own, as well, and often did readings and talks at the Redmond Library at 15990 N.E. 85th, which were put on by McDonald's Book Exchange at 16415 N.E. 83rd St. in Redmond.

While Bond enjoyed the world's kindness, McDonald's owner Anne St. Germain had similar things to say about Bond and King themselves.

"He was so friendly and so open," she said. "That's just the way they are."

St. Germain said she recently visited King, and although he had battled a number of health issues — including heart problems, diabetes and kidney failure — it was easy to forget this while talking with him. He wouldn't allow his failing health to get in the way of what he wanted to do if he couldn't help it, she said, adding that he even once convinced his doctor that a trip to Africa would help him recover from a recent surgery.

Bond said King's doctor described his heart as the worst heart he'd ever seen in a living patient. She said it was King's "will to live" that kept him going as long as he did.

"He was a very strong and wonderful person," Bond said. "Oh gosh, I can't believe he's gone."

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