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Chinatown Bus to Philadelphia

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Chinatown Bus to Philadelphia

After fumbling around looking at my boots for a few moments at around 4 PM I decided to pack up my messenger bag and make way for the Chinatown bus to again ride out the four hour porthole to porthole trip from Brooklyn to West Philadelphia. I did not turn up a place to stay in Brooklyn on this day, though I can not slight myself for a lack of effort.
Wade from Vagabond Journey.com
in Philadelphia, PA, USA- September 4, 2008
Travelogue Travel Photos

I made phone calls, sent emails, and blogged, but low and behold . . . . no bed reared its head to receive me weary head. With each dead end came gracious words of advice:

“Sleep in the 42nd St. subway stop like my dad did when he first moved to New York.”

“Ask at the old Methodist sailor’s home if you can work your keep.”

“Work at a hostel for a bed.”

“Live outside the city and commute.”

“Hobohideout it like you did in Europe.”

But, unlike most times in my travels where I am only look for the cheapest shelter option, I have a criteria of where and how I would like to live. This is my last semester of school, and I want to be able to focus fully on my studies- for no other reason than because I enjoy doing so. I want a steady place to stay that is big enough for a small makeshift desk. I want to live in a place where I do not have to pack up the next day. I want to go to sleep at night knowing that I will probably not have to wake up with a start and run away. For one time in many years, I dream of having a steady place to dwell for 15 weeks in a row.

I am looking for a base of operations; a place where I can concentrate, work, and focus my attention upon my ponderings and readings and not have to devote an excess of attention upon my basic self preservation. I do not know when I will be a student again, and I want to dive deep into my little projects.

But I do not always get what I want.

To live like the wind is to be blown on a course of no control.

I will take what comes, cross the bridges that I come upon, and walk the Road that is laid out before me. For posterity’s sake, I know that 15 weeks on the tramp in the Big City would bring far more smiles to an old vagabond’s face than nights of quiet comfort and a soft pillow.

I fail to rememberthe soft pillows of my journeys, but I do remember every rock, root, and branch that unpleasantly stuck into my back on all of those sleep-hard nights in the bush. I remember fondly those long winter nights of freezing alive in Albany, Japan, and France. Comforts are as ephemeral as the wind blowing through the fields of wheat, but hard times stick in the mind for keeps.

I do not know if suffering is the birth-meal of character, but I do know that hard traveling makes for fond memories.

I will return to Brooklyn on Monday to find out what happens next.

Whatever this is will surely be fuel for the typewriting fire:

Click, click, click, “You should write a book about living for free in New York City. . .”

My arms are open, my gait is loose.

Boarding the Chinatown bus on Monday, traveling the Big City for 15 weeks.

Links to previous travelogue entries:

  • No Accommodation in Brooklyn
  • Fortunate Travel Blogger
  • Hungary Travel Photos

Chinatown Bus to Philadelphia
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Filed under: New York City

About the Author:

Wade Shepard is the founder and editor of Vagabond Journey. He has been traveling the world since 1999, through 80 countries. He is the author of the book, Ghost Cities of China, and contributes to Forbes, The Diplomat, the South China Morning Post, and other publications. has written 3126 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.

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Wade Shepard is currently in: Zhushan Village, Kinmen, TaiwanMap