Thursday, March 20, 2008

What I learned in Ireland

I like making realisations about myself. I hate that I make these realisations at the age of 31. My latest realisation: I am a poor traveller. I won't say I hate traveling cos I don't think that's true. But I am a nervous traveller -- not nervous like scared of flying. What I'm nervous about is that things will go wrong, like that I won't have a comb or I'll forget my mobile charger or passport. My propensity for worrying eventually and often translates itself into fear.

Two weeks ago, when I actually started this blog, I was in Limerick, Ireland for a work's conference. I had been really excited about going for ages and I wanted this to be an opportunity not only to learn more for my work, but a chance to practice a better way to travel. I really wanted it to be a chance to let go -- not worry about things and to really enjoy it.

So I decided to CouchSurf: hook up with people in the locale I was visiting, people who would be willing to play tour guide and potentially provide accommodation. Obviously you try to get to know a person before you set off and you can choose who you stay with. I met these absolutely fantastic women when I had a layover in Dublin. I provided the whisky and they provided the couch. I was actually supposed to do this in Limerick as well, but I ended up getting a very good deal at the hotel and stayed there; I ended up meeting the people willing to host me for breakfast instead.

I felt really chuffed with my efforts but felt let down when so many people at the conference were flabbergasted by my actions. Obviously they didn't know me very well because they probably would have then congratulated me on my risk-taking. In the end, I decided not to accept their judgements as any sort of truth. I met some lovely people, had a great experience and began to learn to trust again. Trust myself and my instincts.

My Dublin hosts with my whisky contribution

Where I slept. Comfy! But then again, whisky makes everything nice...


Blogger Zandra Towns said...

I'm glad you had a good time and met nice people. You shouldn't have been surprised at the reactions of those at the conference. Fear for your safety was my first reaction just because people are crazy. Depending on the kindness of strangers has bit more than one person on the ass, ya know. Learning to trust in this crazy world is a gift. I'm glad you have been learned to embrace this gift. Makes me feel good about this world. I don't know if I could do this though.

Thursday, 20 March 2008 at 23:00:00 GMT  
Blogger atw said...

Good on ya. I was flying home from somewhere...L.A? NYC? Can't remember, but anyway, I sat next to this American fellow who resided in Chile and ran a kayaking tourism company. I found that he had been traveling for a zillion hours and was about to undergo a layover in Atlanta before traveling another zillion hours. And because our dumb American airlines no longer believe in feeding you, he was staving. My roommate at the time was going to pick me up from the airport directly from her mom's house, which is right by the airport, and I was going to go back with her and have dinner there as they always have sort of open-house dinner for family and friends every Monday. Her mom is just this sort of person...well, I had no cell phone, but I already knew I didn't need to ask. So I asked if he wanted to come over for dinner. So I called when we landed and they were like, "Bring whomever you like!" So he came and ate spaghetti with us and was totally floored that we wanted to offer hospitality to a stranger. I like to think there are plenty of other people like that in the world besides Arab countries (where it's common to be invited to even stay over as a stranger). Anyway, I think what you did was excellent! Your instincts were created for a purpose, and using them isn't without reward. I often think I had a much richer life ten years ago because I didn't know what I wasn't supposed to be able to do.

Thursday, 27 March 2008 at 12:41:00 GMT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My car was towed away when I stupidly left it at the airport to go inside to pick up my sister and husband who were visiting us. When I went to the airport police substation, another person was there with the same problem--he'd dropped off his wife, newborn child and a toddler who were all visiting her folks. He too left his car at the curb, and was towed. We both had to get to the area where the car was towed to get our insurance and car documentation, then go to the downtown police station, then return to get our cars. I offered his a ride cause we rented a car cause the taxi fares would have been too much. When he found out I had to stay overnight because they could not release my car until the next day, he opend his home to me, my sister and her husband. He even took us to dinner. Of course I had a dream that he crept downstair with an axe to murder me, but he didn't. We exchanged addresses and sent him thank you gifts, but he did not respond. Still, assistance to others does exist. Yes, it was before 9/11; but, I know it exists today!!

Love -- Amah.

Tuesday, 1 April 2008 at 18:42:00 BST  

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