Category: Planning

What to See and Do in Dublin

Dublin is one of my favourite cities in the world. It is the first place I moved to as a wee wanderluster and is truly a gem. With an irresistible mix of history, craic (re: fun), and music, I guarantee you’ll wish you had more time in this spirited city.

If it’s your first time visiting Dublin, I can’t express how excited for and jealous of you I am! Here are a few spots to wet your whistle, mosey around, and fall under the enchantment of the Emerald Isle’s capital city (sorry Cork!).

Relaxation

After any flight it’s an event just to stretch your legs, breathe fresh air, and share more than a hair’s distance between you and other humans. Luckily, Dublin is a quick and cost-effective city bus ride from the airport. If you’re heading into the city centre, the #41, #700, #747, and #16 all take you to O’Connell Street Upper. Once in town, you’ll be greeted with plenty of seaside, park, and city areas to relax.

St Stephen’s Green

http://www.ststephensgreenpark.ie/

Like many sites in Ireland, St. Stephen’s Green has a long and winding past. From humble beginnings near a leper hospital, to feeding grounds for livestock, to transforming into a new neighbourhood park, to restrictive entry gardens, to re-emerging as a public space (thank you Sir Arthur Guinness!), The Green is more than just a pretty place.

Today, St. Stephen’s Green is a vibrant 22-acre park at the top of Grafton Street. Dublin’s offices empty on rare sunny days and the park transforms into prime real estate. Pale parched skin blankets the grassy beach, hungry for their Vitamin D transfusions. Don’t wait for sunny days to visit. Even on a cloudy day, St. Stephen’s Green is a beautiful area to walk around, sit, read, feed the swans, or people watch.

Entertainment & Shopping

Grafton Street

http://graftonstreet.ie

Dublin’s Grafton Street is a constant hub of energy. Some days I would walk along it just to people watch. Talented buskers reliably pepper the rose brick street, and the crowds can be equally entertaining to take in.

When I first moved to Dublin there was one young guy with a drum kit made entirely of recycled items – and could he play! There was also the fire-swallowing-hoola-hoop-tumbling Santa Claus, the gravity-defying statues, intricate sand sculptures, and a feast of other interesting sights to entertain and amuse the crowds.

Grafton Street is a narrow walking and shopping street on the south side of the Liffey that connects the bustle of the city centre with the calm of St. Stephen’s Green. It’s where you can melt in the decadence of Butlers Chocolate, stock up your home at Argos, inhale the rich history of Trinity College Dublin’s Long Room, savour the spot where James Joyce once mused in Bewley’s Oriental Cafe, or partake in the magic of Christmas Eve where the likes of Glen Hansard, Bono, Imelda May, and Damien Rice have caroled under twinkling lights. Or you can shop…though you might as well take in the sights while you do!

Dublin's Grafton Street Fire Santa

Pubs

Whelan’s

http://www.whelanslive.com/

If you live for live music like I do, it’s imperative you pay a visit to the man at the bar in Whelan’s while in Dublin (you’ll know who I’m talking about when you arrive). This establishment may or may not have been partially responsible for a lively night out prior to an international flight, which was subsequently missed…but let that be a testament to the craic and quality of the acts that command its stages.

O’Donoghue’s

http://www.odonoghues.ie/music.htm

On Merrion Row there’s a gem of a local where your ears will burst sunshine and rainbows. It sounds corny, but cross my heart, it’s the truth. O’Donoghue’s holds trad (short for “traditional”) music sessions every night of the week. Every. Night! Where else could you possibly want to be after learning that gold nugget of insider information?

Musicians of all ages gather to play at O’Donoghue’s – local musicians, famous musicians, old musicians, and young musicians. If I move to Dublin again, I will plop myself down there and never leave.

Gravediggers (aka Kavanagh’s)

I’ve only been once, but this pub left an impression. John Kavanagh’s, commonly known as Gravediggers, is a fascinating proper old man’s pub that is built into the Glasnevin cemetery wall. Its unusual name originates from the post-shift pints neighbouring gravediggers would have (not the Irish “shift”, but North American work “shifts”).

Other frequenters of the pub often included family and friends mourning a loved one. According to this BBC article, cemeteries even instituted a bylaw that burials could only happen before noon (now 3pm) in order to prevent people showing up drunk or completely missing funerals.

Spend the day at the National Botanic Gardens in Glasnevin, about 5km from Dublin’s City Centre, and then hunker down for the evening for a pint and the chat at John Kavanagh’s. Just don’t stay too long, or you may see its resident ghost.

Glasnevin Cemetery in Dublin, beside John Kavanagh’s Pub (aka Gravediggers)

As with many businesses in Ireland, Gravediggers is no spring chick. Established in 1833, it has been passed down by family through the generations. Most interestingly though, is the strict rule that no music or dancing is permitted. The pub also doesn’t have a phone, radio, or tv. Having the chat, an age-old tradition and well-honed skill of the Irish, and enjoying a pint (or few) is what one does at Gravediggers.

Brazen Head

http://www.brazenhead.com/

Ireland’s oldest pub first opened its doors in 1198. Over the centuries, Brazen Head has been an inn, political headquarters for revolutionary planners, a home for writers, and of course, a cozy spot to enjoy spirits of all flavours. Brazen Head is walking distance from Christ Church Cathedral, the Jameson Distillery, and the Guinness Storehouse. It also has a rocking menu I can’t wait to try out!

Cassidy’s

Cassidy’s on Westmoreland Street is a great spot if you’re jonesing for a pint and a pizza. It’s also where you can go to release your inner child. You can draw on the walls or lamps or tables or anything else with a surface! In fact, the bartenders are all too happy to lend you a sharpie for your creative endeavours. I added my autograph a few years back, though I’m guessing it’s long covered over by now.

Dublin's Cassidy Pub Games & Drinks & Drawing

Grogan’s

A visit to Dublin isn’t complete without a toastie (grilled cheese) and a pint from Grogan’s. I’ve enjoyed several such delights while having the chat with complete strangers (a favourite pasttime) and hanging out or reuniting with old friends. Go here. Eat a toastie. Smile.

Dublin's Grogan's Pub, Toasties & Smiles and all!

Dawson Lounge

https://www.facebook.com/TheDawsonLounge/

I love small things – smart cars, flip phones, stickers, mini markers, cozy reading nooks, the list goes on. Dawson Lounge, Dublin’s smallest pub, does not disappoint. However, do not come here if you have claustrophobia. With reports of capacity between 24 & 40 people, bartender included, it is one of the quirkiest and most fantastic pub experiences I’ve had. Check it out – just don’t bring all of your friends at once!

Museums & Historical Tours

The Long Room @ Trinity College

https://www.tcd.ie/library/old-library/

If you’re any sort of bibliophile, history buff, romantic, or simply love the smell of old books, this is the place for you. Typically the crowds line up to see Trinity College Dublin’s Book of Kells (also fascinating, I suppose), however I prefer the perfect symmetry, dust, and ink of the historic Long Room.

Dublinès Trinity College Long Room, Image by Rudy and Peter Skitterians from Pixabay

I visited Trinity College for the first time when I was 14 with my family. Our flight had gotten in that morning and my parents were doing their best to keep their gaggle of kids awake despite the jet lag. Let’s just say my first memories of such a well-known landmark were foggy at best. There’s a picture to remind me of that day, but the rest is lost in a child’s tired brain.

When I moved to Ireland in my 20s, I returned to the campus with a few friends. I knew the Book of Kells was a 9th century compilation of the 4 Gospels, which was cool enough, but when I walked into the Long Room I fell in love. Instantly I was whisked away by the aroma of ancient ink and the ghosts of scholars past weaving amongst the stacks. I decided then and there I was going to become a TCD student one day just so I can sit in that room longer than a hot tourist minute.

Leprechaun Museum

http://www.leprechaunmuseum.ie/

For an experience equal bits quirky and informative, there’s a den open to those bold enough to encounter fairies. Tucked into the north side of the Liffey at the corner of Jervis Street and Abbey Street Upper, lies the mythical territory of magical creatures, masked by the human world outside.

Dublin's Leprechaun Museum, Leprechaun Costume

The Irish are known for many things, not least of which is their masterful storytelling and animated folklore. I realized just how little I knew about such a huge part of my ancestral heritage when I visited The Leprechaun Museum. Don’t tell anyone, but I enjoyed the child-directed decor as much as the 8-year olds who shrieked and ran around the interactive rooms. It really doesn’t matter if you’re 62 or 7. If you have an imagination, a sense of humour, and a childlike curiosity, I’d highly suggest escaping into the world on the other side of the Leprechaun Museum’s door.

Kilmainham Gaol

http://kilmainhamgaolmuseum.ie/

Let me say this: as a 14-year old, the Kilmainham Gaol tour was one of my favourite on our European odyssey. I had no idea about the Easter Rising, and yet it completely captured my attention. Looking back, I think this can be attributed to the phenomenal guide we had. They weren’t just rattling off facts and dates for the group to ingest. One of the strongest realizations I’ve come to living and travelling abroad, is how aware some cultures and communities are of their surroundings, be it past or present. The Irish were the first I encountered who revealed the depth of their pride and historical familiarity. Each time I return home to Canada I’m inspired to become more informed thanks to the Irish guides, friends, colleagues, and driving instructors (that story’s for another time!) I met.

The Kilmainham Gaol is so loaded with historical significance that I won’t do it justice here (another reason why you need to see it for yourself). When the jail was originally built it was used to keep beggars, debtors, prostitutes and drunks. Despite being considered a modern facility, inmates were held under harsh conditions. During the Famine years, cells were overpopulated with up to 5 people to a cell. Women and children caught for stealing food or begging were common unlucky inhabitants.

Dublin's Kilmainham Gaol, Image by alanbatt from Pixabay
Dublin’s Kilmainham Gaol, Image by alanbatt from Pixabay

Numerous political prisoners of varying notoriety were held, hung, and deported from Kilmainham, including Henry Joy McCracken of the United Irishmen (1798), the Young Irelanders (1848), the Fenians (1867), Charles Stewart Parnell (1881-1882), the Invincibles (1882), and perhaps most famously, the men and women of the Easter Rising (1916) which saw 14 men executed by a firing squad. I stood where Patrick Pearse, Joseph Plunkett, James Connolly and the other Irish men were executed and remember feeling an anxious discomfort standing where they last breathed. The atmosphere was nothing short of chilling.

Jameson’s Distillery

https://www.jamesonwhiskey.com/en-EN/

Everyone associates Ireland with Guinness, and I get it, but in my humble opinion, the Jameson’s Distillery is underrated. Maybe it’s because I don’t like beer, but both the tour and the tastings at Jameson’s were top notch. It’s been a few years since I passed their taste test and became an Official Jameson’s Distillery Taste Tester…but perhaps that means I should go again. Regardless, if you like whisky or history, or a mélange, Jameson’s Distillery is a solid spot to wet your whistle and learn about what has made it a national treasure.

To get to the Jameson’s Distillery in Dublin on Bow Street, you can join the Hop On Hop Off Bus Tour or it’s a short 20 minute walk from the City Centre. Guided tours start at 19 and are definitely worth it, especially if you have one as funny as ours was. At the Bow Street distillery you can also learn how to blend your own whisky, become an expert whisky-cocktail maker and, of course, try a few samples along the way.

Dublin's Jameson's Whisky Bow Street
Dublin's Jameson's Whisky Distillery Official Taster

Sporting Events

Rugby Matches @ Aviva Stadium

http://www.irishrugby.ie/tickets

Rugby was the sport I dodged like the plague when it was introduced in high school. A friend who played competitively loved the physicality of the sport. She once boasted about making contact with another player who broke their collar bone as a result. Noooo thank you, I thought! I had enough contact on the basketball court and wouldn’t be seeking any more of it on a field.

That being said, it’s a fantastic game to watch! I caught my first full proper rugby match in Dublin, and the crowd was as entertaining as the game. Even if you don’t play or know anything about the sport, go for the craic and the atmosphere. Sports enthusiasts in Ireland are passionate about their teams and their club’s history. Go get caught up in the energy of the stadium, the streets, and the pub!

Ireland Rugby vs Argentina at Croke Park in Dublin

Gaelic Football

http://www.gaa.ie/

Gaelic Football is the paella of sports. Don’t know what paella is? You’re missing out. Fly to Spain immediately. Don’t know what GAA is? You’re missing out. Get a ticket to Croke Park (or other live venue) immediately.

Gaelic Football, also known as “Gaelic” or “Football”, is unlike any other sport I’ve watched before. It was so intriguing that I wanted to learn how to play after catching my first match. I was subsequently super bummed to find out that the boys at my Canadian high school were taught, and the girls were not!

Football, to me, as a mix of soccer, volleyball, basketball, rugby, and North American football. It’s an outdoor 2-team sport played on a grass pitch, with 15 players per side. Points are scored by kicking or punching the ball over the other team’s goalposts for 3 points, or between 2 upright posts and over its crossbar for 1 point. Australians will likely be familiar with Irish Football as the rules are similar and the following just as fierce.

If boisterous and enthusiastic crowds are your jam, make sure you get tickets close enough to “Hill 16” for double the entertainment. I was lucky enough to get last minute tickets “on the Hill” a few years back, and I didn’t know what to pay more attention to – the game or the crowd!

Dublin's GAA Croke Park, View from Hill 16

Hurling @ Croke Park

http://www.gaa.ie/

Hurling is the only Irish sport I still have not attended a match for, but I’m fascinated by it. Like Gaelic Football, it is played on a rectangular field with goal posts for scoring points, and opposing teams made up of 15 players each. Players use a curved stick (hurley, or “camán in Irish) to strike the small white ball (“sliotar”) on the ground, bounce it in the air, or whack it across the field to a fellow player or to score a point. The female version of hurling is called camogie.

Ireland's Hurling
Image by Elsupero from Pixabay

While I don’t know as much about hurling and camogie, I am 1 million percent positive the the Irish are absolute beasts when it comes to sports. They play in the most insane weather (and I say this as a Canadian where we play organized hockey indoors), with wooden bats and zooming balls, and physical contact like no other. Their mental game is outrageous.

Conclusion (but definitely not The End)

https://www.visitdublin.com/

Dublin, like many places, has so much more to offer than I can cover in one blog post without it turning into an epic novel. This post is a “quick” scratch of the surface, with a few gems tossed in, to get out and explore Dublin for a first-timer. Besides, I like to say you always want to have something to come back to, and there’s a lot not on this list that would tickle your fancy and have you wanting to return.

I’d love to hear all about your escapades at the suggestions above or anywhere else you enjoyed while in Dublin! Leave your comments below so other future travellers can enjoy them too. Cheers! Sláinte!

2019, Let’s Get Going!

We’re halfway into January already – how is this possible?! Sometimes I want to press pause on time so that I can get caught up on everything and then press “GO!” again.

With the new year, comes a different city and another adventure. I’m back in Canada for a bit, to work on Travel with TMc, save some moola, and prepare for future adventures. Ontario might not be the place that digital nomads and travelpreneurs flock to buckle down and snap pictures of themselves working poolside, but it is where family and friends reside, which is also pretty fantastic.

2018 was an interesting year. I crossed off a few goals, like living in a new country (NZ, I miss you!), nailing down a capsule wardrobe, and starting my day with things that are important to me while establishing a different pace of life than in North America. I also began laying the foundation to have the flexibility to work from anywhere. In the process, I learned heaps more than expected, made some wonderful friendships, and crossed a 10-year old dream off my list.

With the excitement also came a lot of low points. Doubt, friction, and isolation popped up more often than I would have liked, and for the first time in my life, close ties weren’t even a phone call away because of the time difference. On the bright side, I gained the confidence to trust myself and found new people to reach out to for help.

2019 already feels a bit wonky, but I’m determined to see through a few personal, professional, and travel goals. Here goes!

Personal:

  • Read 12 Books – As a child, I was a voracious reader and chose ink and paper over people pretty consistently – even over road trips and basketball, two now favourite pastimes. Eventually in middle school and high school I was persuaded that spending time with people is also fun and the pendulum swung away from my paperback companions. Then came university and any thought of reading for pleasure was riddled with guilt. Ever since then I have been working to convince myself that reading is enjoyable. Bizarre, right?! I’m happy to say I’m almost halfway through my first book, The Joys of Travel by Thomas Swick, and have a whole bursting bookshelf of options when it’s finished.
  • Move Daily – Perhaps it’s the reader in me who likes to cozy up with a book and not move for hours, but I tend to need to remind myself I enjoy movement and exercise as well. Whether it’s a yoga class, a game of pick-up, a walk around my new neighbourhood, skating outdoors, or something else that gets my heart pumping and limbs moving, I’m aiming for once a day.
  • Learn a New Skill – There are only about a million new things I want to learn, but I think I best start with one and go from there! Some of the skills I aim to acquire and improve are: photo editing, writing, and knitting (I’m always cold and who doesn’t want to make a sweet as blanket?!).
  • Live Clean – As trendy as this may be, reducing the amount of chemicals and junk in my life is a train I’m excitedly willing to board. We moved on December 31st, which couldn’t have been better timing to start – new living space, new year, new way to clean. Back in university I was an energy trade for my yoga studio, Modo Yoga. We used one soap for everything – mopping the floors, cleaning the sinks, laundry, shampoo, hand soap. I’ve done some research and have decided that I’ll begin using Dr. Bronner’s as my first trial. I’d love to hear any safe (and yummy smelling) ways you take care of your home.

Travel:

  • Spanish-Speaking Country – I began learning Spanish when I was 15 and, despite how much I love the language, have only visited 1 Spanish-speaking country thus far. This is the year that changes. Central and South America have long been on my list, and I can’t say I’d mind revisiting España either. I’m contemplating either attending school and brushing up my linguistic chops, or a multi-country trip to soak in the southern hemisphere.
  • Ireland – For those who know me well, hearing me speak (nay, gush) about Ireland is a fairly common occurrence. I first visited as a 14-year old and didn’t care much to return…and then I moved there from 2012-2013 and fell madly in love with the isle. I’ve been back to visit twice, but there’s always a pull at my heartstrings to return.
  • Work & Live in 2 Countries – You could safely say I’m a gypsy. I prefer to live in places rather than visit them, and there’s always somewhere new my feet are taking me. This goal may sync with my first travel goal, as I’d like to spend at least a month in a Spanish-speaking country (ideally more). Argentina is somewhere I’ve wanted to live since university, but I’m open to other opportunities too.
  • Road Trip – “Where” doesn’t attract me, so much as the desire to be moving in a small space while exploring a much bigger one. In 2017 my partner and I went from a long-distance relationship to living in a compact car while travelling around Iceland (and then Australia, and again in New Zealand) for two weeks. A “steep learning curve” accurately depicts our first stint in a 4-wheeled abode, but by Australia we were pros and by New Zealand we were looking forward to planning another road trip. Who knows, maybe we can spark the #compactcarlife as the new #vanlife! Talk about taking minimalist living to new limits!
  • Spontaneous Travel – It has long been a desire of mine to show up at the airport with nothing but a credit card and a carry-on and to buy the next (affordable) flight out. While finances and a “maybe next trip” mentality have restricted me in the past, let’s just say I’m ready to throw caution to the wind!
  • Family Travel – Growing up my parents filled our summers with family road trips around Canada and the US, and then later for a 7-week odyssey through western Europe. Now that my siblings and I are older I think it would be amazing to take a trip together, even for a weekend. Everyone’s travel styles are fairly different, but my main goal here is to spend time with the people I love, while enjoying a new place together.
  • Solo Travel – A weekend here, a few days there, is about all the solo travel I have done in the past (if you don’t include moving to another country as solo travel). This year I’d like to push that to a week or two, including limiting my use of technology to communicate with friends and family while away. I can honestly say I’ve never been homesick while living abroad, and I’m positive that can be attributed to the ease of access we have to loved ones through technology. Time to push that boundary a little farther.

Professional:

  • Consistently Create Content – When I started this blog it was easy to create content. Living on a new continent, it was a way to reflect and de-stress, and I could combine my creative interests in writing and photography. In 2017 when I returned to my blog it became more of a technical and learning project. Now that some of the foundation is set, I’m looking forward to harnessing the skills I’ve acquired over the past year to support creative endeavours again. With that being said, it is slightly overwhelming to look at a few years of stories, pictures, and videos and begin to dissect, reassemble, and share it. Bring it on 2019!
  • Attend 2+ Conferences – In September 2018 I attended TravelCon in Austin, Texas, hosted by Matt Kepnes. Let’s just say he knows what he’s talking about and he surrounds himself with powerhouse individuals who also extremely motivated and dedicated. I’m pretty excited to attend again in Boston this year, as well as to reconnect with the friends I made. There’s nothing like being in a room full of like-minded individuals who understand and support your ideas – the energy is insane! Additionally, I’ve had my eye out to add other conferences to the mix, either in linguistics or travel. Let me know if you’ve got any suggestions!
  • Build My Network – Remember I said I used to choose books over people? If you met me now, you might not believe that because I love meeting and spending time with people. If I could schedule my days around reading, travelling, and spending time with people, that might be the ideal. Oh, and eating…definitely can’t forget food! In all seriousness though, a large goal of mine is to reach out to people I admire. While on our ’round the world trip in 2017, I thought “why not” and contacted a few people through Instagram whose sites had been informative prior to us leaving). They were on similar travel paths, and as luck would have it, were open to meeting up! I’ve got to say, I was pretty nervous – how do you start a conversation with someone you’ve read about and learned from when they know nothing about you? It was a great experience though and with time and practice I think I will feel less awkward. (Chanel and Steveo, thank you guys for taking time out of your vacation to grab a drink with us. It was a pleasure meeting you and I hope our paths can cross again!)
  • Earn Income through Travel with TMc – Last January I signed up for Nomadic Matt’s Superstar Blogging Course. I came across Matt Kepnes’ budget travel website about 10 years ago when I was procrastinating studying and instead dreaming of far off places. Since then, I have followed his and Jodi Ettenberg’s Legal Nomads journeys, learning about “travel hacking”, “rtw” flights, and the possibility of continuous travel through alternative income streams, before any of them were mainstream. Needless to say, when I discovered he wrote a course on the business of blogging, I knew it would be packed with legitimate information and signed up right away. Over the past year I have learned far more than I thought I would through this course. Now it’s time to put everything into action as an entrepreneur. Stay tuned because I’ve got some exciting plans in the works for this site – and they include you!

Phew. Now that that’s out there in the world, time to get cracking!

What are your goals, intentions, and desires for 2019? I’d love to hear in the comments below. Happy New Year, Friends!

Purple Planes & Trip Prep

En Route

I’m thousands of feet up in the air as I write this, gliding in a perky purple WOWair plane towards Iceland, and I don’t think it’s fully hit me yet the adventure that’s begun.  I can’t help but think a few thoughts over and over – the purple librarian in the basement at UW’s Dana Porter library would be in heaven on this plane, as would my cousin.  No one owns more purple items than them and I’m shocked they aren’t already WOW shareholders.  There are purple carpets, purple chairs, purple lights, and the outside is rocking that royal color vibe too.  The second thought is that people in Iceland must be tiny because I’m eating my knees and praying the girl in front of me doesn’t put her seat back any further.  Six feet tall in the middle seat is no bueno with WOWair.  Fellow giants and leggy folk, book that purple aisle seat.

Trip Prep

The weeks leading up to today were a lesson in preparation; specifically that I don’t do enough and that it’s definitely time to pick up the slack!  This was most apparent when getting vaccinated.  I made two rookie mistakes – not budgeting enough money (my pocket hurts more than my overly-pricked arm!) or time (each has a different schedule to follow and some require more than one dose).  Luckily all superhuman injections penetrated my flesh just in time; the last one this morning.  Bring it on mosquitoes and germy food!

Packing, as always, was superb.  It’s by far my favorite travel activity…ahem…  My “what if” instinct kicked in full blast for this trip, particularly the rainy, chilly Iceland portion.  In fact, I am now the well-stocked owner of foldable rain boots, thermal undies, a toque (I don’t wear hats), a fleece sweater, and one of those puffy jackets that can double as a pillow.  “She must be an expert camper with all that gear”, people will say.  We won’t tell them the truth.  The best part though, is that, somehow, my thousand-tonne bag waltzed through the dreaded weigh-in without a second look.  Pro after all.

*Which item below did I not buy?

The Best Part of Iceland So Far

I’ll leave you with a pretty awesome tidbit I learned about Iceland reading the WOW magazine: there are no, I repeat, zero McDonalds joints on the island.  Unreal.  I’m as excited as the time I ate chocolate for breakfast in Belgium.  I have dreams about fast food joints (minus pita, poutine, and pizza places, and Harvey’s) being eradicated from the world.  Iceland might be a new favourite country and I haven’t even landed!

What is your packing style? Are you as excited as I am about a country’s complete absence of McDonalds?

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Ants in My Pants

I. Can’t. Stop. Grinning!

In less than a month I’m about to embark on a completely different kind of overseas adventure than I have in the past.  Am I nervous?  Yup.  Am I ready?  Nope.  Am I psyched?  HECK YES!!!

What is this adventure you ask?  Three letters:  RTW

I have been researching these letters and how to make them a reality since first year university.  If you’re unfamiliar with this trio, they stand for Round The World (trip or travel).  The number of hours I’ve spent scouring blogs and travel hacking sites or talking to people about these 3 little letters is too high to count.  That I get the opportunity to experience this and not just read about it is still slightly surreal.  I’m equally as excited to share this with my boyfriend, another avid world adventurer.

Where to you ask?

To begin, we’ll embrace the elements in the land of fire and ice, officially known as Iceland.  From there we will soak up the sun and tickle our tastebuds in Croatia.  Chasing the summer we’ll jetset across the globe to Southeast Asia, to fill our brains with history, politics, and more incredible food.  The last leg of our plan (thus far) will be Australia and New Zealand for lavish landscapes, sun and surf, allll the wine, and who knows what other goodies.  Yahoo!

How do you prepare for this you ask?

By travelling to Ontario gems first and pushing my procrastination skills to new limits, of course.  This weekend it’s back to Prince Edward County, the tastiest county of them all, for a second visit this summer (/ever – it’s unreal and you must go).  And now, I must pack because tomorrow will come quickly!

Ciao friends!

WORD NERD CORNER

“Ants in my pants”
Idiom
Origin – American, 1930s
Meaning – “To be so excited or worried about something, you cannot sit still.”

Ants in My Pants, Itchy Travel Feet

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Overseas Adventure: Round 2

Five Year Plans

It’s been 2 years since I last lived and worked overseas (in Dublin, Ireland).  The first year back in Canada I worked in Toronto – something I never thought I’d do, in a city I never thought I’d like living in (surprise – I did!).  This past year I went to teacher’s college – something I hadn’t planned on doing until I was 30+, ready to establish concrete roots, and turn the life dial to traditional career-mode (surprise – still not 30 or turning that dial!).  Now I am 2 days into living in Jeju-do, South Korea, yet another adventure I hadn’t foreseen or sought out.  In fact, life has presented so many surprising turns in the last few years, I can’t fathom living by a strict “5-year plan”.

Ireland Rugby vs Argentina Match at Croke Park in Dublin

The irony is that I am a planner.  Kind of.  I love goals, schedules, and to do lists; I have things I want to improve upon, achieve, and experience; and some of them require timelines to be effective, efficient, or relevant.  On the other hand, opportunities pop up and shouldn’t be missed despite their seemingly inconvenient (though surreptitiously perfect) timing.  Thus, each time I enthusiastically cannonball in, clothes and all.  Somehow, I’ve managed to thread these seams together and eagerly anticipate the future patches of life I will add to my pojagi.

I feel fortunate for the experiences I’ve had so far, and especially for the support from family and friends.  It is one thing to be able to do something you desire.  It is entirely another to have those you care for, respect, and love encourage you to explore unencumbered, save for your own over-packed and over-weight luggage.

Oversized and Overpacked Luggage

With that in mind, thank you to my family, friends, boyfriend, neighbours, co-workers, and anyone I’ve forgotten to mention.  As I dust off my rusty writing chops to tackle my first blog, I look forward to sharing this adventure with you.

Sláinte!

-Tara

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