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Many Adventures of a Nomadic Poet A young poet with Asperger's makes travel his passion, and away he goes...


USA | Friday, 12 May 2017 | Views [604]

typical Easton architecture

typical Easton architecture

After many years, I'm back in a town I lived in as a young boy: Easton, Pennsylvania. Easton is rather nondescript although it's one of the oldest towns in the US. Home to maybe 25,000 people, the most iconic landmarks are the Dixie Cup and the Crayola factory; the former has certainly seen better days. There isn't much I remember from my childhood here but I remember Porter's Pub and how my mother used to work there.

In a stretch of 25 hours I went from Sydney to Easton, which in a way is a real novelty but a test of travel endurance. Weeks ago, Elie and I were discussing things we have to endure whilst travelling that many people don't understand just as my reply is "what's your excuse" when people say they wish they could travel like I do. When I factor in the 10-hour hitchhiking trip from Melbourne to Sydney, the journey was even more rigorous though I had two days to rest at Alison's home. QF7 from Sydney to Dallas is one of the world's longest nonstop flights at 15 1/2 hours (vice-versa it's even longer). Several glasses of wine, bottomless cups of coffee, and some games and music I liked would ease my boredom a bit. Some hollers from girls at the airport in Dallas would make me wonder: I thought they were gonna say I dropped something but they were curious about my Ethiopia shirt. LA, Melbourne, Dallas, Seattle...Ethiopians around the world are curious as to why I'd represent their country but I spent two months there after all. Bleary-eyed with no sleep by the time I reached Dallas, my flight to New York would be delayed more than hour. The aircraft we'd be on required an inspection that would take the better part of a day so we'd be put on a completely different aircraft. From the air I'd snap some incredible photos of Manhattan at dusk from the air.

Who would have ever thought I'd reach Tokelau before making it to New York? If I wasn't so exhausted I'd make a B-line for Lower Manhattan and spend some time at the 9/11 Memorial. Two things I noted is how there'd be a young bloke honing his basketball skills at nearly midnight and how dirty the subways are. In a world class city like New York you'd think they'd be cleaner. A pretty Japanese lady would let me use her phone to call my mother to let me know I was on my way. $26 poorer, I had to hang around an hour and a half for the bus to Easton. When I ordered a tall coffee at Starbucks, the barista noticed how exhausted I was and gave me a venti for the price of a tall. I replied with "thanks a lot, I've just arrived from Australia and I've been up for 32 hours straight." Having been in that part of the world for three years, much of the lingo is permanently ingrained into my vocabulary. A flight attendant on the Dallas-NY didn't understand when I replied "cheers" as a way of saying "thank you."

On the bus, I curled up into a ball and fell asleep for about 20 minutes, only awaking when I saw the Phillipsburg Mall. Knowing I wasn't far away, I kept my exhausted self awake and then I was in Easton. From there my journey still wasn't over, as I had to take a taxi ride to my mother's house. After 25 hours and falling in and out of consciousness, It was nice to give my mother a hug. There's a novelty about going from Melbourne to Easton in little more than a day, but it's also rigorous and exhausting.

A few days ago I'd see my eldest sister, Sonya, for the first time since 1991. Though she's really my stepsister, we've always had a rule in our family that we always refer to each other as a "sister" or "brother" with none of this "step" or "half" rubbish. It was a great night of fun with Sonya, her husband Wade, my sisters Jennifer and Ashley, brother Sean, and my uncle, Glenn. Ashley drove up from Philadelphia with her boyfriend, Juan. He is from Colombia, and he and Ashley visited last year. Ashley is the only of my siblings to have a passport. Five out of seven of us were together that evening, and next week, my sisters Dannielle and Maelea are flying in. From left to right it's myself (32), Jennifer (24), Ashley (25), Sonya (44), and Sean (27).

If things go according to plan, all seven of us will be together for the very first time!

Why don't I write more? Today I'd meet up with another blast from the past, and that's Mrs. Roper. She was my teacher's aide in Year 1 (1st grade) and she remembers me very fondly, noting how I was one of the best-behaved students in the class. Mr. & Mrs. Roper and I would have a good lunch at the Olive Garden today. Her favourite memory was when my mother worked at Porter's Pub; when I needed to be dropped there, she'd tape a card to my back saying "drop me at Porter's Pub, please." Many people are impressed by my remembering of little things, but I remembered Mrs. Roper's birthday after all these years. We made sure to get a photo after a nice lunch

It's extremely rare that I have any true R&R when I travel but this past week I've been mostly relaxing and recharging my batteries. I've sure had an abundance of unhealthy food such as pork roll and pierogies but I've taught Bob, my mother's partner, how to make a healthy kale salad. It's a delicious concoction of kale, grated beets, walnuts, and ginger dressing. He recently had some extensive dental work so I had to omit the nuts from his. I've had no shortage of food and wine but there's also no shortage of another favourite activity: geocaching. When I'm not eating, drinking, or resting, I'm cycling and geocaching.

May is probably the perfect time of year to visit Easton as it's bitterly cold in winter and extremely muggy in summer. It's been a bit chilly of late but I'm enjoying it, and when I'm bored I simply go out in search of the "little boxes" (Dave Thompson, the CS host who introduced me to geocaching, refers to geocaches by that).

As much as I travel, one might assume I don't have a family, but when I think about it I have a great family. It's nice to be with family and nice to be "home" for awhile.


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