As I wrote in my last update, I had setup a WorkAway opportunity, so I could offer up my thoughts on the service from my own experience. My hosts picked me up at the Killarney bus station and we setup off in their car to their house located in the seaside town of Schull (pronounced skull). The drive took about two hours, because we stopped for photographs at a couple of beautiful areas, like the Gougenebarra and Bantry. My WorkAway setup was a bit different than most of the opportunities typically available on their website – most of the time, you’re more likely to find opportunities to help with livestock and farming. Luckily for me, the couple was looking for photos to decorate their newly built house – and so, the work was right in my wheelhouse, of course.
I decided last month that it was time to come back home to visit everyone for the holidays, since I’ve been traveling abroad for the last seven to eight months. Don’t get me wrong, it’s fantastic to see my friends and family – because over a half of a year alone can have its toll on you… But I desperately despise my horrible timing – winter in Ohio is typically not a lot of fun. It’s cold, dreary, dull, and has absolutely random weather tantrums. So, the worst part for me being in Ohio for the winter is… The winter, itself. Bring on Christmas and warm tithing and all that jazz, but I’m still reminded at how much this winter will suck, with each day that it goes from 60-70 degrees down to under 30 within only a few hours.
There are certain experiences in life that particularly stand out in one’s memory – like that of a first love, and love lost, graduations and major life changes. The strongest memories range from good to bad, from monumental and minuscule, to irrelevant and downright quirky. For me, I remember the loves, the losses, the changes and quite often, the teensy tiny odd moments too. Sometimes, I simply have to laugh at myself, for what I remember and for what was once oh, so, important and is now barely ghosts, shadows of a memory. When traveling there are plenty of these moments as well, and while many are life-changing and ever so important, many moments remain momentary figments of importance – while other memories are romanticized, forever remembered, as the best times ever. In these romanticized memories, most minuscule moments are given leave to fade, and others are built up and celebrated. If you remember that time that you missed your train, or you found yourself stranded somewhere for an extended period of time, in which that moment was stressful and worrisome – these are the moments seldom remembered as time passes, and yet other moments like when you went out for a beer with a fellow hostel-goer, or when you saw this place or that attraction are remembered with fuzzy warmth and vibrant colors. In this, our minds trick us, but often for the good.
I left mainland Europe through Germany’s Memmingen door and I found myself in the ancient, yet beautiful hallway of Ireland. Since Ryanair (although I despise them) is based out of Dublin, I had no choice but to return to the place that I didn’t quite love the first time I visited, but it was important to give it a second chance. Upon my arrival to the airport in Dublin, I took a city bus to Howth – a small village that sits upon the sea, that’s known for its fish and its lighthouse. I missed it the first time out, and since I arrived around 12-noon local time, I had all day to wander around. Once I got to Howth, a misty sort-of-storm crept in and it was impossible to see much of the lighthouse, let alone the sea beyond the cliffside. Sadly, I was forced to turn back, but not before I sat down to a heaping plate of local fish grilled to perfection, atop asparagus and potatoes.
Tomorrow I leave for Iceland, the destination that has been at the VERY TOP of my ‘Must visit’ list for ages! I can’t wait, and I just hope the weather works with me for the 10 days I’m wandering about. I hear that it can be quite randomly drastic in Iceland, as far as the weather goes. Iceland is the land of Ice and Fire – sounds like a Game of Thrones book ;-). Speaking of fire, I fully plan to seek out some of those geothermal regions – and I hear there’s a few active volcanos milling about.
After finding out that I was to leave Venice, Italy, I was a bit disappointed that I had yet to see quite a few nearby areas of Europe. So I decided to leave ten days earlier than my Schengen European visitor visa expiration date, to travel through a bit of Austria, Germany, Liechtenstein, and Switzerland. Ten days to travel each of these countries is ridiculous, I knew, but I really wanted to get a taste, if nothing else.
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