Well, the snow is starting to melt and the air smells like spring… That’s how Kate’s email began this morning (yesterday afternoon New York time). I was at once overcome with envy and nostalgia for that revivifying time when you feel the change in the air like the scent of hope and you know you’ve made it through the harshest of seasons. Pretty soon the first bulbs will be pushing through the melt-sodden earth. Here in Brisbane the harshest season is Summer, and we’re not through it yet; it seems to have saved its heaviest artillery for one bloody last stand. I don’t know if it’s age, my general malaise, or if all those southern summers I missed while living overseas made me soft, but I’ve really struggled with this latest one. Over in Upstate New York, of course, it’s been, by all accounts, an even harsher Winter than the one I lived through in 2014. That was the most consistently cold I’ve ever been, but it wasn’t just the temperatures, it was the grey, the gloom, the oppressive monotony of the …
With just under a week remaining in Queensland, I’ve enjoyed every day since “resolving” the passport problem and allowing myself to relax and soak in the sunshine and the very mellow Easter-holiday atmosphere.
Hi, all. I’ve been a bad, bad blogger again, but hopefully I can get back in the groove after perhaps my longest break from posting since embarking on the crazy roller-coaster ride that is walking-blogging. A lot’s been happening, and this isn’t the time or place to fill you in on all of it: I’m tapping this with my laptop perched atop my, er, lap, in the waiting area of Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport.
The soundtrack for this stroll — for most of my urban walking of late — was the Beatles’ Revolution Number 9: Number nine…number nine…number nine…number nine…number nine…number nine…number nine… You get the idea. But how about some visuals?
I’d bought us a new washing machine that was getting delivered “between 1:00 and 5:00” — how’s that for an opening hook? — and with my morning free I set out early down Rt 9 to make the most of the Winter sunshine and stow some more road miles under my belt.
Hey, all. Well, as one Pony Express rider remarked to another, it’s been way too long between posts. A lot has happened, and almost nothing at all, but somehow I’ve accumulated enough material over the last few weeks for several posts. It’s just that all the actual living part keeps getting in the way.
G’day, folks, and thanks for all the good wishes I received after my first New York-based post. I’ve been here a little over a week now and am acclimatising in more ways than one — Americans say acclimating: there’s another thing I have to acclimate to — and I haven’t been troubled by cold since that cry for help about frozen fingers in the last post. I’m getting used to the snow…
So, my last weekend in Korea. Spent the week lugging boxes to school — five so far — and slipping out to the post office when nobody was looking (nobody’s ever looking) to cocoon them in (free!) tape and throw more money at the very nice lady behind the desk. The only drama was on Thursday when I realised I’d boxed up my Swiss Army knife with my apartment keys attached, and had to run back down there. Just in time, the very nice lady handed me a box-cutter with a weary smile. This is a busy time of year at the post office in Korea. Anyway, another flashback to an Autumn walk. I had plenty of un-posted ones to choose from, but this one is a nice mix of things I loved and hated about walking in Korea…
Okay, here’s where most days started and ended on my little eight-or-nine-day adventure in Upstate New York: Kate’s place in an outer suburb of Saratoga Springs. A nice modest little place with a big sprawling backyard, a few oaks and maples and other trees I couldn’t recognise. A couple of clumps of echinacea still holding their own, lots of cool, damp grass, various perennials giving up and keeling over before the advancing Summer.
Hey, all. I’m tapping this up in my favourite local cafe, after a Monday that began less than ideally with a student collapsing, distraught, onto the floor after I pretended to award his (evidently much-cherished) Rubik’s Cube as a prize to another student. My humour does not always settle comfortably into the Korean classroom.
Hey, all. I’m typing this on the terrace of one of my favourite weekend haunts, Cafe 7gram in Yulha, 20 minutes’ walk from home. It’s late afternoon on Korean Memorial Day and I spent the day in my patented weekend Goat-walking style. Let me tell you how I get the mileage and some photography in during the merciless heat and light of almost-Summer.
Back to Japan this post, folks: freezing Hokkaido and the beginning of my ill-fated and immediately disastrous attempt to walk the length of Japan from top to bottom in 2008 (my friend Chris was down in the tropical south, walking north).
ON A SOUTHBOUND BUS, WEDNESDAY Greetings, folks. Never blogged from a bus before, but here goes. It’s a wild ride for writer and reader alike here on TGTW, where we explore the uncharted frontiers of the Blogosphere, at least until motion sickness kicks in.
I thought I’d knock Days 11-13 off in one hit since Day 13 was just a few hours and I’m in danger of forgetting how to write. I hope you’ve enjoyed this lengthy series of souvenirs of an adventure I’m immensely proud of pulling off.
We’re nearly there, readers! I’ll be as relieved as you are to reach that finish line — I have stories almost six months old I’ve had no chance to write up yet! I didn’t write much on my original post for this day. Day 10 was a slow one, as rewarding as the others but with all that asphalt-thumping definitely making itself felt…
Another great walk yesterday, a Sunday-afternoon stroll along the river and through the local paddies, shooting (photographically) at anything that moved. A touch of the Wild West in the Mystical East.
Got back into some serious hiking today with a Saturday climb of Jangsan, a mountain overlooking Haeundae. Had a great time up there photographing fungi, streams, boulders and views of the Haeundae skyscrapers. And I felt strong, even if my heels still look pretty nasty. Bloody tired now, though — it’s through half-closed eyes that I hit “PUBLISH” tonight…
The typhoon was a relatively mild affair down here in the sheltered south-east. It blew like hell but didn’t carry much rain. Starting early, I got the standard series of conflicting phone calls and text messages from a couple of colleagues:
I hope you’re not tiring of this series — I’m only halfway through! I almost wish I’d never started, but at least it doesn’t require much commitment on your part — or mine. It’s refreshing, actually, to churn out some posts that don’t take several hours out of my Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones and Mad Men time. Meanwhile, a typhoon is rattling my windows and turning umbrellas into confetti.
I don’t know, I reckon every day of this walk was amazing in its own way, even the hot ones, the long ones, and the long, hot ones. Even that first half-day with the garbage-strewn beach, even the pain-wracked ones near the end — and the ones like Day 5 where I had to stay on my toes for hours to avoid becoming roadkill…