Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Ireland, Take 2

So about two years ago I took one of the best trips I ever could take to the country of Ireland. Now I will be embarking on a second trip but instead of three and a half months it's five days and instead of some business and some pleasure, it's all pleasure.

After the 8th straight day of work, I am ready to get in the car to Boston and by this time tomorrow morning I will be in Dublin. Although some places I plan on seeing (this time with friends Eric and Kristine), will be repeate visits from a couple years ago, this year's trip may involve going into Northern Ireland and some other new ventures. Regardless, I know what to expect and more importantly, I know how much we will all be having shortly.

See you in a week!


Wednesday, April 28, 2010


The first half of this blog was written on April 28th 2010, the second half on May 28th. Sorry for the delay.

Hey I understand the constant threat of terrorism, especially when there is nothing between Shannon Airport and Boston except sea, safety is an issue. But judging the security procedures I went through at Shannon, the worst terrorists of all go right through Ireland. Yeah, ok. Better safe than sorry I suppose. I just don't understand why I do NOT have to take my shoes off at the security checkpoint because they have 'new machines' yet I have to take them off when I get to the waiting room at my gate. My bags also got dissected twice and my body violated by the oldest man on this planet but like I said, better safe than sorry.

Really I could care less as I am extremely excited to be heading back to the USA shortly, and only lose out on about two hours of time (thank you time zones). With this comes a bit of sadness despite the weeks I have ahead of me, and along the way I have met some amazing people. I'll do my best to review just some of the Irish that have touched my heart (sorry, sort of corny).

Fin was one of the first Irishmen I actually sat down and had a conversation with, and I realized I would need to practice deciphering the Irish brogue very quickly. Fin was the bartender at the local pub I went to on my first night in Kenmare. After a lonnnnng day of traveling Fin was nice enough to talk to me about my travels and I ended up heading back on the weekend to shoot some pool. I wasn't ready to take on Guinness so every time I ordered a Budweiser, Fin was always asking me if I was home sick? Good guy.

Sheila was the first person to house me and even picked me up from the Killarney bus station after I didn't make it in time for the bus down to Kenmare. Not knowing the routes that well and figuring things out, Sheila made a long travel day worth it by giving me a sort of warm bed after a long day in the wind and rain. Although I left her house after a few weeks, her kindness at the time still was appreciated.

Joe who I would meet on the streets of Kenmare it seemed like clockwork, every night for the first couple weeks, turned out to be the husband of Mary, one of the very nice secretaries at the school I would call my work for over three months. Joe gets a special mention as he was someone I always enjoyed running into and he was the first to person to tell me there was another American in town. Which leads me to...

Kathryn, my American buddy (although from the University of Georgia. Don't worry, she's still cool). After weekends in Kenmare, nights in Dublin, and one kick ass road trip around the western part of Ireland, Kathryn and I were the new American friends that everyone got to know. I really am not sure if this is quite the reputation, needless to say every weekend usually started with a pint at Crowley's or PF's with Kathryn and ended with a dance session at the Square Pint. I knew I would have to get to know people in which I did, but having another American teacher in town sure made it a lot better. Who knows when we will see each other again Kathryn, but because you're living a couple hours away, I am sure it will be sooner rather than later. :)

Denis took me in after a couple weeks and was a great guy to live with. Laid back and nice, Denis was kind enough to house me and drive me anywhere when need be. Anyone going to Kenmare, live with Denis.

Michelle was one of many really nice ladies that worked at the Supervalu (the local grocery store) in which I walked by everyday from Denis' to work and back. The Supervalu was visited at least every other day and Michelle was always kind enough to ask 'how I was getting on' and about my experience in the school.

Lisa and the O'Shea Girls are probably the group of women that made me feel most like I had a home in Kenmare, without actually living there. After inviting me to dinner a few times in the first few weeks and Lisa introducing herself to me the very first day of school in her Irish/American accent (she's a teacher), I never felt so welcomed into a community. Lisa and her four daughters, Cailla, Caiohme, Siobhan, and Aoife (good luck with pronunciations), could have been the sweetest people I came across in Ireland. Humorous, kind, and wickedly intelligent, all five women alone are enough of a reason for me to come back to Ireland someday. For some reason, I think that will happen.

Liz and Sandra were two local girls around my age that I met and ended up staying with the last week I was there from the delay. Liz I met at the local gym and in all honesty, she may have been part of the reason I continued to make it to the gym everyday :). Sweet, sarcastic, and hilarious, both girls made me realize more and more everyday that sometimes no matter what is going on, make sure you take time for yourself and if you're lucky, enjoy that time with a good friend too.
Effe and Lucky are a Turkish man and his Chinese wife who own the local 'chipper.' Needless to say, many a nights after dancing off hundreds of calories at the Square Pint, I needed to make sure to put them back on with some Garlic Chips & Cheese (chips being fries). They both always greeted me with a smile before they sent me home with food that did nothing but clog my arteries some more. Well worth it.
Jason and other local guys Mike and Ronan to name just a few, are great musicians but more importantly, regulars at the pub that I got to know through a variety of common friends. The guys had stories and humor that made me laugh for sometimes hours on end.
Kim and Stephen are friends with Kathryn whom they met when studying at Georgia (don't worry, also cool). They were nice enough to let me stay with them two weekends in Dublin and also provided me with two puppies to play with while I was there.
Dermot and Maureen are Kenmare Community School's Principal and Vice Principal who seemingly with ease welcomed me in although I knew it was more trouble making my schedule then they would ever lead me to believe. Both were super kind and were truly just the heads representing a school of teachers, staff, and students that all welcomed me with the upmost respect and kindness that I hope any new teacher would receive.
Majella, Diane, Veronika, and Deklin and the rest of the Kenmare staff all had their vital role in making sure I felt at home every single day I was there. Majella acoompanied me and 50+ students to the All Ireland Boys Gaelic Football Final in which Kenmare came out victorious. Needless to say the three hour ride home on the bus and that night I will never forget. Diane was one of the many Geography, History, and Civics teachers that handed over her classroom with no gripes, complaints, or hesitation as they all had the respect and confidence I would go in and do my job. As a teacher, giving up your classroom to anyone is hard and they let me know from day one, I was welcome. Veronika the school's music teacher, let me sit in on her classes every week and even had me over for dinner. I had met her husband before playing soccer and her daughter at the pubs, so I felt comfortable when I was there. Deklin, the school's caretaker, was the one that got me involved playing soccer on Thursday nights with guys younger and older than me. Although I may have been a little rusty, getting out and running in the cool Irish weather made me miss soccer, and now that I think about it, makes me miss Ireland.
There are many many more individuals, teachers, and Kenmarians that I met that I immediately fell for. Kenmare is truly remarkable for a small Irish town and I think is the perfect balance of old and new. Everyone was so kind and after interviewing many teachers, almost all said they enjoyed the small town feel of Kenmare more than anything. The Irish country side is brilliant and I am extremely happy I made it there and to other places like London, Prague, and Amsterdam. I was and am incredibly lucky to be apart of a trip like this at all, let alone in a beautiful town like Kenmare where all three and a half months I felt like I was in a place I belonged. I was at home.
There is no doubt experiences like this will change you. Maybe it was the Irish air but I constantly thought about what I was supposed to do after this trip, this summer, and in the Fall. If there is one thing I know, it is just to enjoy yourself no matter what you are doing and no matter where you are. I would like to think I have always made a conscious effort to improve myself on all levels everyday, but being in Ireland has truly motivated me to do things I have never done before, and to improve on the things I have. Those are yet to be discussed although I have my own list I have started of what I need to be doing in the near future.
Although this is a month after my 'departure', my thoughts from when I left to now that I have been home for a month have not and will not change. For all the reasons listed above I will be back in Ireland someday although only one of them would be needed. As I am about to head into work in Auburn AL all I can say is thank you for anyone that made this trip possible, supported me, and enjoyed it with me. Even if it was the occasional reading of my discheveled works of my blog, thanks for being there. It is a wonderful feeling that whether I choose to stay in Auburn, or go back to CT, or even spend some time in places like Mobile or other parts of this country or other countries like Ireland, I will always feel I have a home. And for that, I am one lucky dude.

Monday, April 26, 2010


Hey I sit trying to finish up my ethnography I am writing on Ireland, I can't help my amazement for how fast time goes by. I have been like that this whole semester. Especially when I was teaching mainly in January, February, and March, I felt like the weeks bled into each other and one month teaching was nothing. So I can't believe just a week ago I was packing and getting ready to leave Kenmare, for the first time.

Tomorrow I will head up to Shannon Airport just past Limerick and probably copy my last Tuesday routine of a couple pints somewhere, a Dominos pizza (or three) with my friend Liz and a night at a very nice but still overly priced hotel room that if it is anything like last week, will not have any working internet connection and I will have to again, go the Airport itself to check to see the status of my flight. This time around I expect different results.

This weekend was another great weekend in Kenmare. I enjoyed seeing some of the people I have gotten to know one last time. You can tell with the nice Spring weather, this town is starting to get ready for its tourism boom and although I am sure will be great craic, I will be ready to leave it all behind in just a couple short days; although not with a little sadness.

Last night I had a great talk with some of my friends that were nice enough to let me crash with them for the week. I talked a lot about upcoming weddings I cannot wait to attend, possible career paths to take, as well as my fun-packed and exciting times ahead in CT and AL. It made me think about family members of past and present and how I love nothing more than to be reunited with family and friends of old and new despite what things have taken place in our lives. As I have tended to say a lot in the past couple years, things that happen usually have some sort of blessing in disguise and being reunited with all sides of my family is one of those blessings I continually cherish and look forward to. Maybe it is just the Spring weather but not only do I feel really lucky to have what I do, but it makes me more happy every day that I enjoy on this planet.

On Wednesday I hope to write my final blog from Irish soil as I wait for my flight to Boston. Until then, enjoy your week, I know I have.


'Punch' by Lunasa. I couldn't leave Ireland without getting some good traditional Irish music. This band is one of my favorites so far.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Volcanic Ash

Hey all...if you are my friends on facebook, you may have noticed a similar status earlier today with the same title as this blog. This as you can guess or probably already know by now, is the reason why I am currently not on a flight across the Atlantic to Boston. Yes I am the latest victim of thousands to volcanic ash. Really there is no need to be dramatic because 1), I have always believed and lived by the idea that everything happens for a reason and B), me complaining about an extra week in Ireland would really just be unfair and I think it truly is going to be best this way.

Although the more I read about it I realize that Aer Lingus canceling my 12:30 flight because of a ban that was supposed to end at 1:00 is a little ridiculous, but that's okay. I understand having the staff and not the appropriate airplanes and what not is a lot of the problem now, but that is alright too.

Because of all the backups, I was not able to get a flight from Shannon to Boston till exactly a week from today. In a way, I see it as getting a free week of no school (although loads of graduate work) but in reality, is time I could use and need. Also Ireland's weather has been phenomenal so this will truly be my vacation in Ireland. Also when I finally do get home, although I have to be back in Auburn eventually, I will not be in a rush like I felt I may have been if I went home this week. A blessing in disguise.

It is what it is.

'One Week' by the Barenaked Ladies: duh

Monday, April 19, 2010


Hey I am not like many people and totally despise packing. In fact I kind of like it and often see it as a game to pack as much crap as I can possibly fit into a bag. However, this trip to Ireland like many of my trips, I have packed too much. You think with enough practice with my many travels I would have gotten better (actually I like to think I have). However, Ireland was a whole new thing for me obviously and being a different culture, I packed anything I could possibly need for all occasions when it comes to school dress, weather and seasons, other elements, etc. I actually did need a bunch of different things although because of my lack of ambition in ironing, ended up wearing the same 3-4 wrinkle free shirts and pair of jeans to work everyday. I even have mailed back a box of clothes no bigger than I would say a small TV and it cost me 60 Euro. And of course I also bought and acquired many things which add to the mess. However I tell you all of this because in my break of packing, I felt like I needed to blog about packing so I don't go nuts.

My flight for Wednesday I am almost kind of positive that I may be possibly flying out, hopefully; meaning and excuse my language, I have no f*ing idea. I continue to read articles about how Transatlantic flights will be okay from Ireland even though Shannon Airport and Aer Lingus continue to cancel all flights out of Ireland (right now only through today). Of course airlines are not going to cancel too far in advance although it seems it could be that way for the rest of the week. Apparently for once the British Isles, Scandinavia, and Northern Europe have no major weathering patterns or storms to push the volcanic ash out of the way and although Ireland remains sunny and beautiful, apparently volcanic ash just sits in a heap above much of Europe not moving anytime soon. Sometimes I think my flight will get out Wednesday but then I read other things and I lose a little hope. Really I won't know until the day of and I will not be sure until I am on a plane and somewhere over the Atlantic Ocean. Whatever happens happens, I just want to get home by the weekend.

Think happy thoughts and be a happy person,

'You Can Call Me AL' by Paul Simon. I literally danced all around my house to this alone this morning. Enjoy. In other news, picked up some good traditional Irish music I can share with ye'all later.
-Good website-

Friday, April 16, 2010

Final Weekend

Hey all...yesterday was a great day. Let me start by prefacing that this last week in Kenmare's Secondary School, I have been attending everyday, but I have been done teaching since before the Easter Holiday. This week I am focusing on finishing a little grading, my assignments for Auburn, and well, just getting other things done like posting pictures and such. Well since it wasn't absolutely necessary to attend every day, I blew off school yesterday for a day off with my friend Liz. Liz has become a good friend as she works at the local gym that I go to, and she has been a great addition to many, of good friends I have acquired in Kenmare. We went golfing yesterday morning with her Dad, traveled to Cork for some shopping, I then got back for two hours of getting soccer balls kicked extremely hard into my gut, and then finished with a nice home-cooked dinner before calling it a night.

Golf was good. Although it wasn't Scotland, golf in Ireland has something I had wanted to do and I finally got the opportunity. We ended up playing I think only 8 holes, but it was enough to scratch the itch that I had been having to golf. Ever since I moved to Auburn, I haven't been golfing more than a couple times a summer because of my busy schedule, despite being in close proximity to some of the nicest courses the United States has to offer. Golf can also be expensive too. So I am hoping to take advantage of no classes during this summer for the first time in years combined with working full-time and getting paid for the first time in about 9 months, will allow me to play at least once every week or two. That is the goal anyway.

Soccer was good although as I hinted above, I felt like every soccer ball that was kicked was aimed at some part of my body. It's okay, that also made me motivated to get fit soccer style to play indoor soccer once again when I get back into AL. Although my skills are far from decent, I love being active in that sense and look forward to it. I held my own despite again playing on the 'Old Guys' team as we competed against some fast high school kids.

Today me along with two other Irish student teachers in Kenmare, are having our last day in the school. I actually have to finish some last minute grading which I am about to start on, but we were all honored with some nice comments and a cake of course during the break in the morning. All the teachers here have been extremely welcoming from day one. I will have more on this at a later point. However, no matter what I end up doing in the future, just being able to have this experience I think has been worthwhile in anything I do.

Time to get focused, as I have a busy last weekend in Kenmare.


Song of the day: 'I Will Follow You Into the Dark' by Death Cab For Cutie. A great song although a little sad, does not quite accurately reflect my someone cheerful attitude and overall mood in Ireland, is a good listen that makes me think a lot about people lost in the past and how at the same time, the future has a lot to offer.

Monday, April 12, 2010

European Travels, Part II

Hey arrival in Kleinwasertal, Austria was early on Saturday evening. I wanted to get into the small ski town because it would be nice to have a place to stay for the Easter weekend. I was immediately brought to a tented, outdoor pub at the base of a giant mountain where I learned was the after-work hangout for ski instructors. My friend Ophi, is a ski instructor that I met while she was in Auburn last year and I was immediately welcomed into her small group of friends. Many spoke enough English combined with my little German so that conversation got easier as the night went on.

I was immediately given a great German beer and watched as people danced and sang to a DJ for the next hour. Obviously the party had been going on for a while and many of the instructors ended up on bar top and stools. Needless to say, my first couple hours in Austria might have been my favorite out of the entire trip. Both songs in German and English were played and it was sad that most of the Austrians/Germans knew English song lyrics much better than me when it came to songs like 'Nothing Else Matters' and 'Evacuate the Dance Floor.'

Sunday, April 4: Saturday night also allowed me to meet some really cool locals that were other ski instructors. Jonas (pronounced 'Yonus') who was Ophi's roommate, was a young 16-year-old German who was a really cool kid. He stayed out with us Saturday night (that's how they roll in Austria), and we ended up hanging out most of the night. Another guy about my age, Maurizio, has been living in Kleinwasertal most of his life and not only enjoys teaching people how to ski, but really just enjoys the simple things in life. Eccentric and happy, Maurizio is one of those guys you simply admire. He loves what he does, wouldn't change it for anything, and enjoys every single day with no exceptions. I think a lot of people could learn from Maurizio. Although I try to operate my life similarly, I feel meeting Maurizio really gave me an idea what kind of person I truly want to be. Although I just spent two nights getting to know him, I felt like whenever I go back there, he will be there still doing what he loves and happy to see a friendly face. He also had lots of good things to say about Amsterdam which would conclude my trip.

Easter Sunday (which really isn't even acknowledged by people as a holiday in this part of the world), was spent watching the snow fall and ended with a small gathering in the Iglu Bar. A small igloo-shaped bar of course, it did not take long for people to find out not only was there an American hanging around, but that I lived and went to school in Alabama. Almost any German or Austrian that found this out had the same first reaction; singing some lines from 'Sweet Home Alabama.' It didn't take long for the bartender to play that song of his laptop and the Iglu Bar was roudy after that. It was an early night for Monday was another travel day.

One thing Maurizio really made me realize is there are certain things I just need to do before I die. Backpacking Europe can be checked off. But he also inspired me to create my own list of things I must do or a bucket list if you will. I am sure everyone has these lists but writing them down is one thing, doing is the next. On the list, learning a foreign language....fluently. (Sidenote: DEFINITELY NOT Czech or Dutch).

Monday, April 5: I left the edge of the Alps around 7 in the morning to what was an amazing site. The morning after a little snow, the sun was rising and the 3000 meter high mountains seemed to get larger and larger as the fog and mist dispersed. However the goal for today was Prague. I took the train to Nuremberg, Germany, and then an express bus for a few hours to Prague in the Czech Republic. The weather the entire day was beautiful and sunny for the first time on my trip. I immediately hit up the tourist office in the train station where I immediately noticed that many people speak English. I walked into the tourist office and within five minutes, I had a map and a hostel booking and I was on my way. Sometimes things just are great when they are that easy.

After getting settled in the hostel and meeting a couple cool Belgians, I began seeing Prague as the sun settled. I set out to explore the different sites and many of my night pictures were from this night. I had heard that Prague was beautiful at night and it did not disappoint. I made my way through the brick streets and true to form, Prague could be the most historic, most well-preserved city in Europe. Especially in Eastern Europe with its history of war and violence, Prague is simply gorgeous. I eventually made my way into an open area where by daytime, is home to the local market with many food and souvenir vendors. However this night, people were out and about walking, talking, and just seeing the city. I walked by a gentleman that invited me to one of the local pub crawls. We all know what it means or we can figure out what is meant to go on a pub crawl. But here the pub crawl is an organized, touring of some of the local clubs and pubs with other travelers and more importantly, a way to meet the other travelers. Many of the organizers were American as well as many of the other travelers. For the first hour and a half we stayed at one place getting to know each other. Our little group consisted of almost complete strangers, all traveling by themselves. One guy was from Istanbul and one New Zealand. The rest of group were from different parts of the United States and Canada. We had a great time as the rest of the night we crawled through the city touring the pubs. Great times.

Tuesday, April 6: The next day I got out early, booked my overnight ticket to Amsterdam for that night, and began seeing the historic areas of the city. Mainly leading up to the Prague Castle, the north end of the city sits up overlooking the rest of the city and is actually kind of peaceful. Also, the views of the entire city from here are amazing. Again, graffiti accompanied some of these areas, but for the most part the day was gorgeous and so was the city. Evidence of the previous Soviet occupation and influence are still visible, although many icons such as the 300 foot statue of Stalin overlooking the city had been torn down or destroyed.

Wednesday, April 7: Night trains can be great, if you fall into the right situation. You do all your travel at night, get a bed, and end up in a new place in no time without wasting too much money and time traveling. Many of these compartments have 6 bunks in them and can get kind of crowded. I boarded the train just before sunset and enjoyed seeing Prague as we left the city. Michele was a Dutchman that was in my compartment with me and we talked for a while, heads and hands hanging out the window catching the breeze. I guess it's important to point out the reason we stood outside the compartments by the windows is we also shared a compartment with a Russian couple and their 3-month old baby. Obviously the situation wasn't ideal but although the kid had a hard time getting to sleep, once Michele and I got to bed it wasn't much of an issue.

Michele like my time with Maurizio, was amazing to talk to. Once a teacher of history, Michele has also done social work and now is involved in photography. We talked about how he liked all of those but if you don't do what you love, what is the point. I kind of related as I recently have been getting more into taking pictures (which will soon be up, I promise) not to mention questioning what exactly my next step should be in my career path.

Thursday, April 8: My arrival in Amsterdam like Prague, was to sunshine and high expectations. Besides my flight to Dublin the next day, this was really the end of my tour of Europe so I was excited to say the least. After a couple hours of getting myself oriented, I had yet another easy time finding a hostel to stay in. I went again, to a local tourist booth and in even less time then in Prague, I had a map, a hostel, and was walking to it with my now extremely heavy backpack. I came back a few hours later to check in and by that time, had gone and visited the Anne Frank museum. Really out of any of the sites, tours, or other features of the city, the Anne Frank house was one place as a history person, I really wanted to see. During World War II, Anne Frank and seven other Jews including her family hid in the back of a three story building masquerading as a business from the aggressive Nazis. The only entrance to their hidden abode was a bookcase covered hole in the wall and for months Anne and Co. had to live in silence and without sunlight in tight spaces. Eventually and it is still not sure by whom, the group was given up and all sent to concentration camps. Only Anne's father, Otto would survive Auschwitz. It was extremely disheartening and a reminder of the treatment of Jewish peoples in and around the rest of Europe.

Back at the hostel, after a shower I met another cool individual. As you can tell I have met a lot of cool people along the way but I finally met within the same hostel, another American traveler. Gordon from Denver, had been backpacking with his cousin and also by himself for over a month before getting to Amsterdam. He is a landscaper and I also learned, would someday like to run and own a restaurant (me too-bucket list) and make wood furniture. Extremely cool and slightly resembling my best friend in CT, Josh, Gordon and I immediately started our own Amsterdam pub crawl.

Amsterdam is completely night and day but some things are true all the time; you can smoke marijuana, prostitution is legal, and you canNOT drink beer in public places. We learned the latter that evening as we decided on sitting in the popular Dam Square, watching musicians singing their songs and decided on saving a few Euro and getting a couple drinks at the supermarket, and enjoying the sunset and the scenery in the square with our beers. We actually both were planning on a chill night and it was absolutely a great evening, just enjoying the weather and comfort of the new city; although the Polizei caught me with the beer (all I had to do was throw it away). Gordon and I shared a lot of stories and ideas and we hit it off immediately. We later made it back to the hostel, relaxing a while in the common area before going back out for one last pint. There was a little rain which allowed the clouds to drown out the reflection of the red neon lights projected into the sky.

Friday, April 9: The next morning I checked out of the hostel after a lovely breakfast, and Gordon and I made our way sort of aimlessly towards Vondelpark in the southern part of the city. The long park had many bike and walking paths as well as some other paths that were more 'off the beaten path.' Amsterdam is actually a city made for bikes and as Gordon kept saying, it's a lifestyle. Every time you cross a street not only do you need to watch for the cars and busses bearing down on you, but bikes are sometime even more of a danger. You can see the masses in some of the pictures. If time had allowed, I would have chosen to add a bike rental and a canal trip into my time in Amsterdam. The day started off pretty cool, but by the time we got to the park and took a seat, the sun came out to add to the string of gorgeous weather days I had been experiencing. After a lunchtime pint it was time to depart from Gordon as he was planning his next moves of his journey. I then made my way to the airport as I was going to spend a night in Dublin.

There is so much to see and do in these cities yet once you get there, you can't help but just enjoy the scene by just sitting and watching. Most of my joy in my time off (as it was a vacation) was sitting, relaxing, and observing. Sure there were trips to the museums and other sites lost, but just being there was enough for me at times. Of course solo backpacking trips are great and I would definitely do it again, but little moments shared with other friends you meet along the way make the trip even better.

In ten days I traveled through and to 6-7 different countries and spending quality time in 5 of them. Having the availability of the train system in Europe, as well as the cheap accommodations in hostels and other benefits for travelers, makes traveling Europe not only financially possible but fun. It was funny that during this time I read Stephen Fry's 'Stephen Fry in America.' A British comedian and actor, Stephen Fry brings his quirky comedic style in the form of a travel around the States; stopping and experiencing each one for a few days. Although his book (and also TV show) was not exactly reflecting my own experience, that combined with my tour of Europe not only made me more motivate to travel, but also to take more time to see what else my own country has to offer. I think I have a lot of experience when it come to the East Coast however, besides one short trip to San Francisco, I have only seen a fraction of what the United States has to offer, especially west of the Mississippi. Now I can add I have only seen a fraction of what Europe and the rest of the world has to offer. Was it an amazing experience and a fun time? Of course, but it was also far from complete.

Living in Ireland has also helped with this feelings towards traveling and in a way, I can see why it is harder to travel within our own American borders as it is often harder and more expensive to make it to other places. This is true for Europe too although you have cheaper options in hostels and public transportation there. Traveling does take money and I think you know how blessed I am for having this chance. However, if you get a chance to go somewhere, anywhere, in Europe or not, why not take it? I was surprised, challenged but most importantly, delighted by the unknown I came across in Europe.

I have one more week in Ireland, and I will surely make the most of it. This is not me saying goodbye, yet. I will be slightly saddened by leaving my friends in Ireland and in other parts of Europe behind when I head back to the United States. However, the places to see in America are waiting for me when I come back.

Look for photos and a few more updates in the next week. I actually have some work to do but I have some good things planned for the final week. Enjoy your week, I know I will.


Song of the day: 'Black or White' by Michael Jackson