October 19, 2005
October 7, 2005
October 4, 2005
12 more weeks of this insufferable grind. 12 more weeks and I am free!
I'm trying to get my head around what that's actually going to feel like. Have I ever really been "free" before? I think not.
In the beginning, there were play-pin boundaries and childlocks. Then came primary school (a welcome relief, its true, but a form of captivity nonetheless). Following this, began 6 long years of concentration camp-like internment, otherwise known as SECONDARY SCHOOL. Many people look back on this period of their young life with a certain degree of rose-tinted fondness. Not me, oh no! I remember....nuns..lots of nuns...and rules. I was told who I could or couldnt associate with, what career path I should choose, how I should look, and how I should speak. I've committed those times to the darkest recesses of my memory, where they remain smouldering, only to be stoked every now and then by a brief encounter with one of the aforementioned tyrants or school bullies.
The start of univeristy life heralded a period of feckless abandon, the illusion of having thrown off the shackles of secondary education, and the beginning of MY life. Ha! What a green little freshman was I! In the short space of a year, not only the bank but also the university owned my ass. Exams, resits, deadlines, account balances, overdrafts, contracts, duels at dawn.....no I was certainly not free, but I did love college.
I emerged from university as a butterfly from a cocoon, shaped, moulded, employable (snort), and up to my neck in DEBT! After a brief and ill-advised spell working in a doctor's surgery (because despite what my college tutor told me, no-one actually really wants an ARTS student. ) I was successful in applying for a position as a Technical Writer. Now I shall certainly experience true freedom, I thought. Where do I sign? Let my star-studded career commence!
Almost a year later, I have become not even an important cog in an important machine. I'm just some crap old cog, buried away in the back of the machine, trundling along, breaking down unnoticed every so often, but yet just necessary enough to have around in case one of the TOP cogs craps out. No, this is freedom neither.
So, what am I do when I am suddenly launched out into the big wide world with little or no deadlines and no one to tell me what to do? Will I be overcome? Will I go nuts altogether? Will I realise I'm just meant to be an old cog after all and turn around and come back? What will be the outcome? What does it feel like to be free?
September 11, 2005
September 5, 2005
- 3 pairs of pants (1 heavy for night-time)
- 3 T-shirts
- thermals in case its cold camping at night
- 1 jumper
- 1 paclite jacket
- 1 shirt
- 2 skirts
- 2 slightly dressier tops for night-time
- sandals and flip-flops
It's all fitting in a 35L rucksack with room to spare.
Now, it better not be raining over there!!
September 2, 2005
August 25, 2005
I don't think adults really experience excitement very often, I think you have to have a child-like heart to really feel it. Adults are too afraid to give into it, to let go and be carried away by it. I tried to think of the last time I really truly experienced nervous butterflies-in-the-tummy excitment. I couldnt, at least not as an adult anyway. The closest I could come was being in bed on Christmas Eve and listening to the grandfather clock in the hall, waiting for Santa, too hyped up to sleep, too nervous not to, willing the morning to come.
The thought of leaving what I know and am used to, to carve out a new path in the world on my own fills me with the twin feelings of dread and possibility. Some days one outweighs the other, on others they exist in equilibrium. As the time draws closer, I expect them to fuse as one intense emotion, so I will never really know if what I am feeling is dread or excitement....a bit like sky-diving, I imagine.
August 23, 2005
August 19, 2005
August 9, 2005
Hurray! Feeling a strange mix of nerves (oh God, what have I done...I didnt really think this through) and complete excitment (Yahoo! This means I'm on my way FINALLY!)
I did it. I just booked the preliminary flights for my RTW trip. I've been talking about it for so long at this stage, I was even beginning to wonder if I was ever going to get my ass in gear and do it.
Anyway, I've been keeping a close eye on some ridiculously cheap fares over the last while and today they went up slightly, so that was the impetus for the RASH DECISION.
So, I'm booked on a flight to NYC on 3 Jan and then on a flight from there to Lima 2 days later.
I've also reserved, but not paid for, a flight from Buenos Aires to Auckland (which is about €1000 ouch!) in late Feb.
Excitement, excitement, excitement......
July 19, 2005
By 4 o'clock on Friday afternoon, I was so bored at work that my head had gone numb and I was contemplating saying a number of very rude and expletive things to my boss. Just in time, my brother rang to tell me he'd made a snap decision to pack up the car and head to Dingle for the weekend. Was I up for it???
All that was left of me in the office car park at 5:30 were some big black skid-marks! :D
Got home, threw some essentials in my pack and we hit the road. The weather forecast for the wknd was promising blue skies and lots of sun, and it was certainly shaping up that way. Apart from a pitstop in Tralee for petrol and some Mars bars, we made Dingle in just over two hours. Even though we'd packed the tent and camping gear in the boot of the car, we rang ahead to the Rainbow Hostel and, as luck would have it, they had one twin room left! Rainbow Hostel is a great spot! A spotlessly clean hostel with good facilities and about 10 mins walk from Dingle. (meant to take a photo but forgot )
Headed straight into town to Conaire's pub to meet up with my brother's friends. One of them is jsut back from a few months in India, so I was happy to spend a few hours picking her brains and listening to all her travel stories. Conaire's was quite a lively spot - there was a trad band in the for the night and the walls of the pub were pratically heaving with ppl up dancing and singing. We fancied somewhere a bit more chilled out after a few hrs, so we decided to check out the wine bar up the street. This place was really nice - you would not expect to find it in Dingle. It serves quite late, and has some of the best pizza Ive ever tasted! Yum. After a few glasses of wine, we all meandered homewards emjoying the warmth of the night.
10:30 a.m. Saturday. Woken by LOUD knocking at our door telling us we had to get up. Groan. Pain in head. Meant to drink at least two glasses of water before bed last night....We had to get up and get dressed, get our thing together pretty quickly. Initially, we were told that Sat night was booked out at the hostel, but when we went downstairs to pay, the girl in charge told us she had just had a cancellation and asked if we'd liek to stay another night. We could have stayed in bed after all....LOL. Oh well, it was good to be up anyway. After dumping our gear back upstairs, getting on some new clothes and washing up, we decided breakfast sounded good. We walked into town to wake ourselves up. I love the smell of the sea air! And what an amazing morning - blue sky, sun sparking on the water and on the boats - it was good to be alive.
This is where we had breakast - Darcy's. I had scrambled eggs with smoked salmon, lots of fresh coffee, orange juice and toast. Pain in the head was gone within a few mins and I was right as rain.!
The day was stretching out ahead of us with lots of possibilities - we could go swimming, we could sit outside in the sun and read, we could explore the town....in the end we decided to go for a hike. At the mouth of the bay, there was a hill with a look-out tower at the top which looked interesting, so we piled into the car and drove out along the bay to the foot of this.
The heat was really starting to build up by now, and I wasnt relishing the thought of encasing my feet in my big hiking boots, so i opted to leave on my sandals. Mistake! Half-way up the hill we came upon what seemed like oceans of gorse!! I had to trudge through this for at least 15 mins. Ow! Ow! Ow!
But the pain was definitely worth it. The views of Dingle from the top were spectacular. YOu really wouldn't think you were in Ireland.It was more like Croatia or the South of France or something.
We spent a couple of hours lying in the sun and chatting, and soaking it all up. This is Ireland at its best. We dont often get weather like this.
Eventually, when we all started to feel hungry and thirsty, we made our way back down. We arranged to meet a friend out in Ballyferriter, so we took the Slea Head drive out past DunChaoin and the Blaskets. It was funny to see the confused tourists standing out with their English language maps looking at the Irish roadsigns. Lol!!
This is a beehive hut that we spotted at along the way.
We spent the rest of the day out in Ballyferriter drinking in the sun. When the sun eventually went down heaeded back into Dingle for something to eat. Spent the rest of the night crawling the pubs and listening to the Irish lads winding up the American tourists. It was hilarious!! LOL. Ended up back in the wine bar to finish off the night. Didnt crawl into bed until well after four.
Sunday More knocking at 10:30a.m. Up, shower, pack, back into Darcy's for brekkie. Everyone feeling very tired this morning. Decided on a short walk around the headland at the mouth of the bay to wake us up. Found a secluded little beach and spent the next few hours watching Fungi the Dolphin in the water. He followed some jet-skiers right up to where we were, and jumped out of the water metres away. I'm a big kid, so this was the highlight of my day! I got pretty sunburned even though the weather was cloudy in the morning, so eventually I had to reluctantly leave the beach and head back.
In the afternoon, one of my brother's friends was having a barbeque to celebrate her birthday, so we picked up food, beer and a present. The bbq was great, and I ended up being head chef. Lol! I'm still waiting for the phone calls to say taht they are all dying with food-poisoning. We ate until we couldnt eat anymore, and then the weather turned and the mist started to move in from the sea. At about 8 o'clock we packed up the car, and headed back to Limerick, relaxed, full and very tired.
I fell in love with DIngle this weekend. Its a really vibrant town but its not overrun with tourists, and there's so much to see and do down there. I'll definitely be going back for a long weekend very very soon.
July 13, 2005
Frustrated by the fact that my trip to Spain is a whole 7 weeks away yet I bought the Rough Guide to Spain yesterday to start reading about more about the country.
I've been to Spain once, a few years ago. My ex and I stayed with some friends in an apartment in Torrevieja just outside Alicante. We hired a car and managed to do some exploring around the South-east coast, but I was pretty unimpressed and wanted to leave after a few days there. Maybe we missed the good spots, but it just seems that this part of Spain is crawling with British & Irish tourists and, what was probably once a beautiful coastline, is destroyed by high-rise developments stretching as far as the eye can see.
This time, I'm doing it Myyyy Waaaayyyyy. Spain is somewhere I've wanted to explore for a long time, and even though I only have 10 days this time around, I'm hoping to see quite a lot.
Hiring a car seems like a good option. Splitting the cost between two of us, it works out about the same as train-fares, and this way we can cover more ground.
Our flight is landing in Girona early in the day, so we're thinking of picking up the car, putting the boot down, and driving straight through to Madrid. I'm looking fwd to experiencing this city a lot. Spanish ppl I've met in college and worked with over the past few years seem to agree that, while Barcelona is decidely hip and cool, Madrid is less assuming and the ppl are warmer (and no, it's not because they are more inland. LOL). I'm looking fwd to making up my own mind.
I'd like to spend a couple of days in Madrid, there seems to be lots to see there. Two days isnt nearly enough time, but I think you can cover a good bit during this time. Although, I have been warned that you can wake up in Madrid, having lost 2 days of your life and not remember a thing! LOL!!
After Madrid, it's on to Cordoba and then Seville, maybe 2 days in Seville also. Andalucia sounds like an amazing part of the country. I cant wait to see it.
We're hoping to spend a night in Ronda. My brother didnt get to see it when he was last in Spain, and I've got lots of recommendations from ppl on this site to visit it, so we can't miss it!
Then, on to Granada for a night. Looking forward to seeing the Alhambra a lot. One night should be enough here.
The drive to back to Barcelona from Granada is going to be a bit of a beeetch, so I think it might be worth stopping off in Valencia for a night on the way back. We might check out Tarragona, if we dont stay in Valancia. This leaves us with two nights in Barcelona before we head home.
We might be taking on a lot for a 10 day trip, but neither of us mind driving very much. I dont want to spend all my time sitting in a car trying to squeeze in everything, but I think it's pretty doable.
If anyone's got any recommedations of places to go, things to do along this route, I'd love to hear them!
In the meantime, it's back to boring old work....