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Pre-Travel Jitters

Going to Ireland tomorrow and I am in the flailing hysterics of pre-international travel. I so want to be calm and laid back and groovy and travel the world and not be terrified but I am just waiting to lose my passport and all my things and vomit and miss my bus and have the wrong money then perhaps be struck by lightning.

I'm suave.

We are going to Cork. Our buddy Carlota is there for the summer and had a spare bedroom, so we shall wander the local area by bus (as we have no car) and I will hopefully see some new birds and I know Kevin wants to kiss the Blarney stone and I need to take pictures of castles and countrysides so that this is a Research Trip of Very Serious Researching.

I am mostly afraid that I will be like "Let's go here!" and we'll go and my plan will be stupid and I'll probably miss a bus and then we will wander around bored and everybody will be like "You should have gone over there instead, that's where we keep the unicorns," and I'll be like "I got all these pictures of an abandoned herring cannery, though?" because I am really quite bad at traveling.

We found Ireland to be relentlessly beautiful -- and even the random places we stumbled across were all lovely and interesting and we had a good time, even if there weren't unicorns there. I found it to be particularly forgiving of the whole "is this best thing we could be doing" problem with traveling. :-)

Even I want to go to Ireland, and I'm close to hodophobic.

Everyone I know who has been there has said it's pretty laid back. Plan on doing a lot of walking. And talking. How long will you be there?

Ireland doesn't have unicorns -- they've got selkies.

This. The unicorns are in Scotland.

Ireland is beautiful. Bunratty has a wonderful historic village, thrilled my inner reenactor to death. Blarney Castle is a practical joke on the tourists they only continue because it turns a profit.

That was my impression when I was there 20 years ago! From memory it had really good views?

If you go way down to Baltimore, there used to be a fabulous French restaurant there - can't believe the original guy could still be running it (he was a Breton fisherman, when the Nazis invaded he sailed his boat over the Channel and became an Irish fisherman instead; when he got too old to fish, he passed the boat on to his sons and opened the restaurant), but, as I say, he had sons...

The wonderful part of European travel is that you can't walk twenty meters without hitting something historic or beautiful, so getting lost is somewhat encouraged!

Have a fabulous trip! Maybe don't actually kiss the Blarney Stone - people are rather gross, and bodily fluids aren't cleaned off that thing. The gardens surrounding the castle are awe inspiring though.

Tell Kevin to gargle with Purel, then dump the rest of the bottle on the stone, then set the stone on fire, and then he can kiss it. Maybe.

Seconded, and save some mouthwash for after. According to Irish cousins in the area, some of the local pub-crawlers who aren't overly fond of tourists use it as a depository for used beer.

Are you traveled before? I was scared the first time, I was alone
Now I love traveling alone.
your company will help you

if you realy get lost it will be an adventure
if you're afraid, you will consider it fun the next day!

Think of all the birds

You survived Botswana, and they had LIONS, right? Ireland doesn't even have snakes! You can do this.

Also, you know about keeping a photocopy or two of your passport's ID section separate from the passport, and leaving a copy with a friend who can fax it if needed?

Have a fun, safe trip.

Re: Think of all the birds

Scan it and email it to yourself - you can always access your email at the embassy :)

I'm super envious! I wanna go!

I kissed the blarney stone when i was about 9. Up til then I was a very quiet child. Afterwards... Maybe it worked...

What could be cooler than an abandoned herring cannery? It's probably a smokehouse, but still...

Money is easy in Europe: Euro except for the British, the Norwegians and everything east of Poland.

And if you accidentally end up visiting Norway, the money is only an issue for very, very short time... Everything is 'kind of expensive'...
(I should know. I live there.)

As I recall, Cork and Kinsale were lovely in a misty foggy way. A bunch of our people went on a whiskey tasting tour in Cork, so you might mention that to Kevin.


Good luck and have fun. I totally get it about the jitters. I hope once you are there, you can chill.

You have some important things going for you that won't calm the jitters and stress, but should hopefully help in the back-casting later: 1. You and Kevin are both smart people. 2. You speak the language. 3. It's an island; you can only get so lost before you can't go that way anymore. 4. Even if you miss out on something specifically cool that is happening, the scenery is fabulous eveywhere.

Also, even if you miss your bus and it's pouring rain and all the stores are closed, it won't be that cold and there are no venomous snakes or spiders to entertain you. We found almost everyone was generous and/or pitying to the poor tourists when we had issues.

Easiest way of travelling? Don't plan... if you don't have plans or decide your goals to see things, then you're free to improvise, no goals means you can't screw them up. You can decide you're going to go look at Cork, when you see there's a bus to Cork. It's a holiday, not a competition. There is no 'best use of time'.

and hey, you're in Ireland...there's plenty of pubs and they usually have music and people singing.

Oh, god, I am totally incapable of NOT planning. It makes me totally freak out. I generally have a handful of things I want to see and then flesh out tomorrow when I get back to my room in the evening.

On the contrary, you are good traveller, because things happen to you, and you see things. The "expert" traveller slides smoothly through the world, with nothing untoward happening, and sees only the expected.

Have you read Bill Bryson's travel books? A man who has made a world wide reputation by travelling and writing about it. Look closely, and you will see that his travelling is like the self-proclaimed marksman who shoots first then proclaims whatever he hits to be the target. And from repeated misadventures, accepted happily in the spirit of adventure, he crafts his books. Only when he travel with his family does it all fall apart. They are not prepared to accept, for example, checking into a dodgy looking hotel on a rainy night as part of the rich texture of travel.

Ireland is safe. The worst that will happen is that you are slightly uncomfortable for a few hours. The best is that you will have interesting adventure, and you will write them up for us to enjoy. I wish you a happy holiday, with many minor mishaps, which I look forward to hearing about.

Ireland is safe. The worst that will happen is that you are slightly uncomfortable for a few hours.

Ireland is safe for normal people...provided that if you stop at a pub for alcohol, you ask the bartender to recommend what's most popular locally and go with it. I'm told that doing so pretty solidly marks you as a tourist, but if you order the wrong sort of Irish Whiskey at the wrong pub at the wrong time it's possible to end up in a fairly serious fight. On the upside, that's about the worst that the Troubles get these days.

The worst that might happen to Ursula is that she and Kevin could stumble through a fairy gate, get caught up in a restarted war between the fairy courts, and accidentally be transported two hundred years into the future by the vagaries of time in the fae realms. However, that seems quite unlikely, even by her standards. A visiting cousin once mentioned over a beer that my grandmother made sure to lock every last one of those gates in Ireland before she emigrated to the US in the 1920s, "and not even Peter with his keys and the Devil yoked in harness can ever manage the unlocking of aught of them".