Have you ever been to Ipswich?
“Which one?” you might ask. It’d be a good question.
You see, there are Ipswiches all over the place. Just ask Alex Nunn, a pensioner from the UK who has dedicated the last 11 years to visiting them all. Well, almost all.
Mr Nunn, a 65-year-old former lorry driver, hails from Suffolk, a rural English county, his home-town, you guessed it, Ipswich.
His quest began in 2000, when, whilst on vacation in Boston, he heard about a small town on the Massachusetts coast. It’s name? Ipswich, of course.
Mr Nunn paid his home-town’s namesake a short visit, found it rather pleasant, returned home to Ipswich, UK and thought no more of it.
Until he next returned to the United States.
On that occasion, he happened to hear about another Ipswich, this one in South Dakota, and so, having nothing better to do, he decided to drop in there too.
Now, 11 years later, Mr Nunn has been to almost all the Ipswiches on Earth, travelling 61,000 miles in the process, meeting people and making connections in them all.
In addition to Ipswich, Massachusetts and Ipswich, South Dakota, there is also Ipswich in Queensland, Australia, New Ipswich, New Hampshire (small), Ipswich, Manitoba (really small), Ipswich, Wisconsin (even smaller) and Ipswich in Jamaica (so small, he almost missed it).
That’s seven in all, not counting the original, and Mr Nunn has had enough.
“Now it’s finished,” he said from his home in, well, Ipswich. “Now I can start going on holidays where I want to go.”
Mr Nunn completed his connective quest last month – ticking off the final two Ipswiches on his list during a three-month trip to Canada and Jamaica.
“It didn’t start off as a quest, but it has become one,” he said. “Once I had visited a couple of places called Ipswich, it became a challenge to visit some more. It has been fun and I feel fulfilled. I think I’ve managed just about all the Ipswiches you can get to.”
Mr Nunn’s second-favourite Ipswich – naturally, his home-town tops the list – is the one in South Dakota.
“The first time I went there they took my photograph,” he said. “Every time I’ve been there since, they’ve put it in the local newspaper.”
Here in Saunderstown, we admire Mr Nunn’s dedication – after all, from his home, in Ipswich, he twice travelled more than 6,500 miles to New England, 8,000 miles to Wisconsin, almost 8,500 miles to South Dakota, over 11,000 miles to Jamaica and 20,000 miles to Australia.
That is that, he says, although there are two Ipswiches that remain unvisited, another on Jamaica’s North Coast, the other Las Islas Ipswich in Chile.
“The one in Jamaica is unincorporated, so there is nothing to tell you that you are in Ipswich,” Mr Nunn explained. “Besides, it’s near Kingston and I’ve been told not to go. The Ipswich islands are deserted islands off the tip of Chile so there’s no sense in going there.”
Here at OM Central, we’re all about people and their stories and we’ve enjoyed hearing about Mr Nunn and his.
The connections that he must have made during 11 years visiting all the Ipswiches have inspired us, so much so that we’ve conducted a little research of our own.
That, once again, we’re unique.
So far as we’re aware, Saunderstown – our Saunderstown, that is, Saunderstown, Rhode Island – is the only Saunderstown on Earth.
Original, stand-alone, a 100% one-off, just like our OMs. That is, of course, just how we like it.
So no-one will ever embark on a quest to see all the Saunderstowns on the planet?
That’s fine by us.
Perhaps they’ll come to see our OMs instead, for that’s what’s putting us on the map, making us special and helping us make our connections.
Here’s to lots of Ipswiches and just one Saunderstown.