“I’m Irish, too,” I said to the cab driver on my way to Dublin from the airport after a few days in Lagos. “You were born here?” he asked, raising an eyebrow with his toothpick in his mouth. “Well, no, but I’m Irish, my dad’s 100% Irish.” “Oh. You have Irish ancestry,” he responded, looking back at the road, uninterested in chatting for the rest of the ride.
Many people get excited about the end of the year because of the holidays, the time off, the food, and seeing family and friends. Don’t get me wrong, all of that is awesome (duh), but another tradition I get excited about around this time is seeing the next year’s “where to travel” lists, the pinnacle, of course, being the NY Times’ “52 Places to Go in 2018.” Yes, I was one of the 9,000 people to apply for the job of visiting and writing about each of the 52 places over the upcoming year. I didn’t get it.
How do you measure, measure a year? 2017 was the year I spent time in 13 different countries and 11 different states. I traveled to Europe three times. I set foot on my fifth continent. I revisited London, Indianapolis, Ireland, and Portugal. I reunited with friends from college in Prague and Dublin and old coworkers in London, Chicago, and Dubrovnik. I traveled for 10 days in Cape Town with someone I met in Mandalay and for 12 days in Croatia with someone I met in Dublin. A twelfth of my year was spent dog-sitting, both in Chicago and Jersey City. I added Shenandoah National Park to my list of U.S. National Parks.
Airbnb is all the rage and I love it, don’t get me wrong. If everyone in my life thought about me as highly as my Airbnb hosts did (my reviews are off the charts), I would have zero problems. But, friends, there are a few core issues with Airbnb that you may not realize: the main one is that there’s only a requirement for one of those Bs, a bed. There is no requirement for the other B, breakfast. A real-life bed & breakfast has both those Bs and more and Ireland’s B&Bs are as off-the-charts as my own Airbnb ratings. Below are a few reasons why real-life B&Bs can be better than hotels, Airbnbs, and hostels.
The summer always flew by when I was working full-time because I never got as much sun as I needed while stewing away in my cubicle. I didn’t think the summer would pass so quickly when I was just working part-time, but, man. I mean, I’ve done a lot this summer, that’s for sure, but I initially expected to be back in the city by the fall and, well, it’s basically here.
After Bloghouse in Indianapolis in late June, my motivation for this blog skyrocketed, but as my latest adventure kept creeping up on me, I had too much else to do. In addition to “life”, a week before I left for St. Louis and three weeks in Europe, I still had no idea where I was going for my final week. I changed my plans multiple times, initially planning on visiting Scotland, then Wales, then Norway, and then ended up somewhere else entirely. (Yes, I’m fully aware that an extra week in Europe is the best problem in the world to have.)
Read my guest post for Fluent City’s blog about my visit to Ireland as a teenager here! For another entry about this trip to Ireland, follow this link. xx
When I was at home recently, I came across a shamrock-covered notebook and my face lit up. I knew that this was my journal from when I went to Ireland with my family in 1998, when I was 13. I’ve come across old journals before, notably from my second trip to NYC when I was in high school, but this journal contained details about my first adventure outside of America, to the homeland of half of my ancestors.