The time has finally come for you to depart from the stony island you have called home for the past two months. The day after tomorrow, you will be boarding a plane to Charleroi, leaving behind guest-rooms in favor of couches and maybe your tent. Purchasing meals as opposed to earning them. Reliable and free internet access and all of the comfort that come with shacking up with “family” for a while.
To be perfectly honest, it feels as though your traveling experience is just beginning despite having done so many things. You have been unable to shake the feeling that you have simply been spinning your wheels, idling, for the past four months.
Perhaps it is the weather. Something about rain and cold and fireplaces make you feel like you have been hibernating. Though truthfully, you’ve had some good times here despite being soaked, frozen, and brought to death’s doorstep with illness. Let’s review:
You arrived at Sli Na Bande, an unexpected oasis nestled between a forestry and a cemetery. Here you lived in an attic where you spent your evenings eating lollipops and/or popcorn watching Walking Dead and Trueblood. You slept under 4 duvets, and awoke every morning around 10am. You shoveled poop, raked leaves, cut down a tree, sorted timber, cut timber, washed dishes, used the most dangerous tools you have ever encountered, split logs, washed dishes, went for walks, painted a mural, washed dishes, sat by the fireplace drinking tea, made shortbread, washed dishes, baked actual bread, did yoga, participated in a sweat lodge ceremony, almost succumbed to strep throat, and got chased by a donkey, among other things. You were invited to spend Christmas and New Years with the family and it was wonderful. Even thousands of miles away from home you were still able to be around loved ones.
Your first outing was also your first hitch-hiking experience. You found yourself in the back of a van with no windows that didn’t open from the inside. You followed this up with a splendid walk through Glendalough. Days later, you walked to Greystones, had fish and chips, and also caught the worst illness in recent memory. It was also raining.
You hitch hiked to Wicklow town to meet Levente. You shared a bottle of wine at a lighthouse, visited a church that had been on fire only the night before, drank your way through the town, managed to get out before dark, lost Maria’s passport, bought more wine, found Maria’s passport, and went to church the next day.
You took a road-trip around the north of Ireland and to the west. You hiked around Giant’s Causeway, got profoundly lost, listened to pop music, hiked to Sleive League, Cliffs of Moher, all together drove 1200 kilometers and saw a shit-ton of sheep, stone walls, and more rain.
An honorable mention should also go to the second time you hitch-hiked into Dublin to re-visit Judit and Susan. You got on with them so well the first time you couch surfed, they invited you to stay with them a second time before you left Ireland.
This over-night adventure went something like this: Two lifts in – the second from an off-duty charter bus- The Brazen Head Pub with money for wallpaper, 2 pints of Guinness, the outdoors store where you purchased a Kelly kettle, another pint of Guinness, smashing a bottle of champagne inside a plastic bag because the corkscrew broke, passing the champagne through a mesh strainer to get the glass out, drinking the worst champagne ever, music, snacks, Globe, finding 5 euro in change on the ground, people asking to try on your hat, people thinking you were Canadian, dancing, kissing, dancing home, candles, space heater, popcorn, Red Bull, Infected Mushroom, getting a massage by three women simultaneously, sleep, a big breakfast in the morning, storytelling, coffee, getting a lift out of Dublin by a van full of hippies, getting dropped near Bray (a mere 20 kilometers away from your destination) then NOT GETTING PICKED UP AT ALL for the rest of the journey. You walked 18+ kilometers to Angus’ house in the dark.
You have experienced incredible hospitality here. Angus’ house is amazingly warm and full of food. You have home-made curry every day and all the coffee and Darjeeling you could possibly want. You get your own room (which also happens to be the hottest room in the house) and it’s large enough to spread all of your gear on the floor for admiring whenever you please. And not to brag, but you have become rather mediocre at Snooker and darts. It will be missed.
Looking back, you did a fair amount of adventuring while you were here, though it seemed to happen at a slow pace. You know it happened slowly because you also managed to read the following books since you got to Ireland:
- A Fighter’s Mind
- The Tipping Point (kind of)
- The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest
- Survival in the Killing Fields
- Letters to a Christian Nation
- Everything is Illuminated
- A Walk in the Woods
You have given Ireland a good run and you are ready for the next adventure (beginning with exclusive couch-surfing and getting to a place where they don’t speak English) and you are ready for it largely because Ireland (and the people in it) have prepared you. Until next time, you must say so long to your stony island.