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We spent the entire weekend freaking out.  “I can’t believe we actually bought tickets!” we kept saying to each other.  After all, less than a week ago I still thought I was going to Spain.  And now, we’re on our way to Ireland.  

The living room looks like a sporting goods store that’s been vandalized; gutless backpacks sprawl, straps scattered, over the couches and floor.  Rain pants, hiking boots, and cameras compete for space on the coffee table.  We were trying to find out what size backpack we would need.  We have two 5,000 cubic inch backpacks, and one 3500, and they’re either too big or too small.  

I’m a fan of packing as light as possible and taking the 3500 inch backpack, but my mom is convinced that we need to bring everything.  I’d take nothing but my laptop, clean socks, and rain gear, but she wants to bring everything from multiple towels, sleeping bags (despite the fact that we’re sleeping in hostels,) and four different types of pants–to hair dryers, purses, and small dogs (not really.)  

I can see her point on some things; I just think it gets excessive.  I’m going to make her pack up her backpack before she leaves and carry it around for a full day–she’ll decide she doesn’t need quite as much, I’m sure.  

We still have four months before we go, though, so there’s plenty of time to pack and decide what we’re taking.  And where we’re going once we get to Ireland.  At the moment, we have no plan at all.  

Wickford Way? Dingle Way?  Kerry Way?  Part of the Donegal Way?  How long should we stay in Dublin?  These are all questions that somehow, we must at least attempt to answer before we get on the plane, naive and clueless, on our way to Ireland.

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SPRING BREAK.  All right, let me tell the whole story and not get ahead of myself here.  

For a long time, I was planning on going on a group tour to Spain over spring break 2009 for ten days.  The final payment is due next week, and I suddenly looked at the bill, looked at how (not) excited I really was about it, and decided to cancel Spain.  I will lose the $600 I’ve already paid for it, but at least I won’t be spending another $3400 on the trip that I really don’t want to go on.  

I’d like to go to Spain, don’t get me wrong.  BUT, my reasons for not going outweighed my reasons for going and therefore, based on my superior mental acuity, I made a swift and powerful decision.

REASONS FOR GOING TO SPAIN:

  • I’ve already paid $600 unrefundable dollars for Spain
  • I’ve been expecting to go for almost three years
  • it’s a sure thing.  All I have to do is send in my check and show up at the airport w/ a passport and spending money.  

REASONS FOR NOT GOING TO SPAIN

  • It’s going to cost $4000.  I’ve known how much it was going to cost from the beginning, and I don’t mind that, but I can do a LOT more with $4000 than go to Spain with a bunch of kids for a week and a half.  
  • I don’t want to be constrained to a tour and a group and a guide, etc.  I want to be able to make my own decisions.
  • The tour company added a ton of extra costs on at the last minute, and they’re going to add more before I leave.  
  • I’m just not as interested in Spain as in other European countries…like IRELAND.
  • This is going to be the last summer before I go off to college and am dirt poor for indefinite number of years.  I want to spend my hard-earned money on something I really want to do.  

As you can see, one list is a bit longer than the other one.  Therefore, Ireland it is. 

 

SO, I bought my tickets about two hours ago.  I’m going hiking for two weeks along the coast of Ireland over spring break 2009 with my mother.  We have no plans as of yet, only ticket dates.

 I will be blogging the entire adventure.  We are going to stay as unplanned and spontaneous, sleeping in hostels and B&Bs, and I’m going to be taking the Macbook with me (it’s like my child. 🙂

I will be posting updates as they happen.  If you have any suggestions for us, let us know.  We don’t even know what area of Ireland we’re going to yet, only that we’re flying into and leaving in Dublin.  We want to see castles and Irish countryside, and possibly the Giant’s Causeway–and the Guinness Storehouse, in Dublin.  

Now that this blog has a sense of purpose again, you will all be getting bombarded with a constant stream of epic travel-ness!  Make sure you RSS my blog so that you can stay updated with the latest in my spontaneous travel adventure–HIKING IRELAND!

There is always the option to hitchhike of you’re really short on cash, really desperate, adventurous, or just crazy.  It’s possible.  People do it all the time.  If you do, for some insane reason, want to hitchhike, most of Europe is better than the United States.  

Now, for those of you who are determined to hitchhike, a few tips.  

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Answer: It depends.  On a lot of things.  Your transportation costs are going to be a big one.  Plane tickets, train passes, and the associated taxes, fees, and extras are going to eat up a considerable portion of your budget.  

But it’s not impossible to travel cheaply.  That’s what the point of this is.  You don’t need to spend a lot of money to have a good time.  In fact, sometimes the budget trips–staying in a hostel, eating from grocery stores, and using every student discount you can get your hands on–is the most profound, fascinating trip experience.  

When planning your trip, you need to remember that there are more than just the actual trip cost.  A big chunk of change is going to be gone before you ever get to the airport.  

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