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Published on January 8th, 2010 | by Daniel Boyle


As with everyone’s East Coast trip, you meet some characters, have a nice enough conversation with them, then cary on and hope you don’t have to see them again, which you inevitably will, every time.

There were too such characters on our journey, which was only a couple of legs of the standard east coast trip. We need to go back to New Year’s Eve to get some history. I had a surprisingly good new years, considering I finished work at 9pm and was back on the desk at 7am. We watched the fireworks on the beach and met a bunch of pretty friendly people. There was an Irish bloke wearing an Agnostic Front shirt, we ended up talking about Toe To Toe, which was to say the least, surprising. There were a couple of Scottish people, they were making a worldwide trip, first heading down the coast of Australia in just a month (much too short a time really). I gave them some handy hints, and Francisca filled them in on Chile, where they will head to after Australia. The guy was intensely scared of being stabbed in a favela whilst in South America. I told him he should watch the movie City of God, that would put him in good stead for the trip.

Amongst the crowd was an English bloke, a mid 40s school teacher who these days resides in Melbourne. His team was the Saints, only started following them this year as he lived in Brighton. This sounded similar to my saying that I went for the Hawks while I lived in Hawthorn, then the next year they won the premiership. Let’s not talk about the year after.

This guy managed to ask us all the same questions again and again, he must have stayed about 5 days in Airlie, which is a lot more than most people stay. He was pretty keen on the Airle Beach hotel local wine from memory. Every day we would talk to him, and every day we had the same conversation. It was a different one though, as he said how much he liked the Airlie Beach YHA, and completely disappointed in the Byron Bay YHA. If only the scores on the website reflected sentiments like that.

So eventually he says he’s going to head north. We’re thinking of heading north too. We tell him we might head up to Magnetic Island on Monday but end up getting there on Sunday. Within 10 minutes of arrival, there’s our mate, ready and waiting for us. He was really the last person either of us wanted to see. He tells us he’ll be spending 3 days on the island, so we expect that’s the last we’ll see of him. Of course when we went to check out, he was there at the desk doing something else.

On new year’s day I met another English bloke. It was early in the morning, I had a mean hangover and I was not particularly up for a conversation. This fellow fits directly into the “grey nomad” category of traveller, and was going solo. When these types get you started on a conversation, it’s not going stop any time soon. He told me he wanted to get back to England soon as his father was about to turn 99 and he wanted to be there to see the occassion, as he didn’t have any other family. This was a nice story, however it was accomanied by quite a few other stories about his recent adventures, along with the story of his entire life, all whilst I was cleaning up the previous night’s party.

First thing in the morning I saw him again at Magnetic Island, however I don’t think he remembered me. This was probably fortunate as I didn’t get any further updates on the rest of his life. Magnetic Island was not the last we would see of either of these two characters.

Both of them were the sorts that just give you a bit of a strange vibe when you talk to them. Not the complete psychopaths that you are bound to meet along you’re travels, just the kind of people that just seem a bit lonely and eager to give you the full life story, I guess that comes after spending crazy amounts of time in the Greyhound bus.

About the Author

Founder of @sportslashlife. Australian living in Chile. Freestyle footbag player and passionate sports fan.

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