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24 June 2011 / leggypeggy

How John got Poor

I get a lot of requests for more information on how John came by the Poor tag.
Of course it’s because he’s neglected, hen-pecked, down-trodden, misunderstood, never fed, chained to the ironing board and has to take out the rubbish.

Yeah right!
Actually it’s because he’s none of those things—oh, wait he does have to take out the rubbish and the recycling too.

But the Poor surfaced in early 2009 when we breezed by Texas to visit Gary AKA Pot Scrubber AKA Potsie. Potsie figured I’d coerced Poor John into going on an overland camping trip through Africa on the back of a truck. He imagined John was pining for five-star accommodation and lurid cocktails by a shimmering Olympic pool. As our trip through Africa progressed, Potsie would cautiously inquire ‘And how is Poor John doing?’ Oh for heaven’s sake. Poor John did his original African overland in 1973. I did one in 1977. We decided to do it again together when we could.

Poor John is the biggest dag in Australia—surely some online Australian slang dictionary will define dag for you. If his trouser hem comes undone, he staples it. A shirt’s not worth buying unless it has a collar and a breast pocket (zippered ones are preferable) for his wallet. Keys should be made of aluminium so they are light—can’t go weighing down your pockets. Try not to carry change—it’s too heavy too. Good haircuts should cost $2 or less (he’s hanging out for his next cut in Turkey).

Poor John wondering how to get a paper shredder home

So that sort of sums up my Poor John. But I will admit that he does suffer a bit on these overland trips. For starters, there’s no reliable daily newspaper and the coffee can be pretty grim. Sometimes he has to help cook, or clean the kettle or lug jerry cans of water. And there’s a great shot of him hauling water in Mauritania. I’ll post it when I find it.

In the meantime, here’s a pic of him trying to figure out how he could possibly get this gigantic paper shredder home to Australia, so he can dispose of my personal Mt Everest of paper including my stamp collection, the ancient contents of the filing cabinet, university notes, old newspapers and magazines, recipes on bits of napkin and way too many cookbooks.

P.S. For my sister Susan. Don’t go thinking you are entirely without blame on the issue of naming Poor John. I can’t find the email now, but I definitely recall a message from you asking how Poor John was after he and I had gone sky-diving in Namibia. I will remind you that I did NOT make him do it.

Also: Don’t forget to pick a number by 29 February 2012.


Leave a Comment
  1. Gary "Potsie" Walker / Jun 24 2011 10:01 am

    Please forgive me, Poor John! I had no idea that my term of endearment would go viral and haunt you. 😉

    @ Susan. The African pic where Peggy and PJ were jumping out of a plane was THE ONE that made me think, ‘ oh…Poor John!’ LOL!

    I met them passing through Dallas in 2009 and Peggy seemed to be a Indiana Jones type personality and PJ seemed to be more a Robin Leach “champagne wishes and caviar dreams” type personality.

    There is not a nicer or kinder man than PJ. It is no wonder to me why PJ loves her.

    If we ever meet again, PJ… we will have more fried catfish and some French Fries dipped in cream gravy.


  2. Sy S. NYC / Jun 24 2011 11:48 am

    LeggyPeggy and Poor John,

    Great to read about your adventures around the world and out and about do-en stuff! I am the one who is poor and can’t afford the great adventures you have done.. and this current one. My guess is that you are both young and have the energy to do it all…. probably you are both a “Jack Benny” 29+ years old, Okay maybe around 30ish! LOL


  3. leggypeggy / Jun 24 2011 3:04 pm

    You’ve got it Sy, we are a Jack Benny 29+ years. I don’t need to tell you juts yet how many +++s there are. And I should point out that this travel is cheap.
    The African one was less than A$15,000 for 10+ months, including the truck and expedition leader/driver, diesel fuel, tent, camping fees (and occasionally a cheap hotel), breakfast, dinner and a selection of bribes that needed to be paid at borders and other locations. Sightseeing (such as adventures to Timbuktu and Dogon Country in Mali) were extra, but all in all, we think this is a fantastic way to stretch a travel dollar.


  4. Sy S. NYC / Jun 24 2011 7:04 pm

    Hello “Kind Of” Youngish (young at heart for sure) LeggyPeggy,

    The African vacation at $15,000 (US Dollar) is really “Dirt Cheap” for being on the road for 10+months… I am really surprised and guess it was about 5-10 years ago? My one year travels from Europe to Asia (to Bali and decided to go back to Europe and not continue to Australia, California/NYC) was $3,500(US Dollars) BACK IN 1971. And that for sure was “Dirt Cheap!” No fancy hotels and once you get to Asia, it is extremely cheap… like one month in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) cost me about $30 (USA). Q:#1- $15,000 (USA Dollars) for two people?

    No fancy hotels for me, I would stay in small hotels, pensions… private homes…. or sleep on the train, bus, freighter… or bus terminal bench (once in Israel LOL). Eat local foods at street vendors or walk in restaurants… A trip of a lifetime, approximately 35 countries.

    Enjoy your travels…. I can really relate to your style of seeing exotic and interesting places around the world!

    Sy S.


  5. Louise M Oliver / Jun 24 2011 8:38 pm

    I can attest that Poor John is not so poor at all having visited LeggyPeggy and Poor John many times. He is just better at hiding his spirt of adventure than LeggyPeggy. Think still waters run deep. But nicer people you couldn’t meet. Although I greatly admire your tenacity at seeing the world like this, I can’t see me ever doing a truck tour anywhere. I thought it was pretty rugged when I had to ride in the tow truck from just outside of Boorowa back to Canberra a few years ago when my car broke down. Methinks that’s as rugged as I ever want to be. I’m probably related to some of those people in the movies who say that their idea of roughing it is when they have to ring twice for room service. When I go it will be B&Bs, hotels, homestays in the French countryside and villas in Tuscany. And if I get stuck I’ll stay in four or five star hotels and apartments and do my own cooking and shopping. More than rough enough for one intrepid traveller!

    Still enjoying your adventures. How was Prague? I believe it’s very beautiful. Take care.

    not-at-all leggy Louise


  6. The Year I Touched My Toes / Oct 11 2016 8:43 pm

    Poor John! NO just joking, Sounds like he would get on well with The Trainer. I believe Evernote might be the answer to the Everest of paper.

    I like Dags. And he hails from Adelaide so I like him even more. Louise

    Liked by 1 person

  7. derrickjknight / Oct 12 2016 8:57 am

    Thanks, Peggy. Now I know

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Chris Riley / May 20 2017 12:12 pm

    Haha, question answered.

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / May 20 2017 2:59 pm

      He’s not as hard done by as people think! 🙂


      • Chris Riley / May 20 2017 4:40 pm

        I never for a moment thought he was, but I love the title.

        Liked by 1 person


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