africamuse's travels

So here I am in Europe!

created: 4 November 1999

Life is a funny old thing, you know. Three years ago I had a good job in the museum world and a clear idea of where my career was headed, a furnished flat, all the odds and ends one collects over a lifetime, and no thought of every leaving South Africa. In fact, I had never traveled outside of Southern Africa, having only visited Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe and Zambia.

Now I still have an apartment (back in South Africa), but only a few boxes of possessions. I have no job, and am once again not entirely certain of "what I want to be when I grow up" (at age twenty seven, this is a little worrying). I have traveled to eight more countries and have plans to visit two more in the next couple of months, learned some Spanish, started learning an itsy-bitsy bit of French, had a wealth of new experiences, worked as an English teacher - the list just goes on and on!

At the moment, I am in Ireland, on an extended stay. I hope to spend a total of 10 months in Ireland and traveling in Europe, using Ireland as a base country. I am not spending these months in total idleness. I am doing volunteer work as a care-worker in a home for disabled people, and I have found this occupation to be incredibly rewarding, challenging and mind-broadening.

As you have probably realised from this site, I love to travel! I love being a tourist but, even more, I love really living and working in a country, meeting people on their own terms and their own turf, experiencing typical home cooking, entertainment and family life, and just generally living. I had this experience in Chile and now I am having it in the Republic of Ireland.

I am doing a fair amount of travelling in Ireland, and will be writing about my experiences in Dublin, the Connemara, the Burren, Waterford, Tipperary, and all the other places I visit. Yes I DID sing the Tipperary song in Tipperary, as I recited a limerick in Limerick, etc. But my most memorable experiences so far have been in the little life I am building for myself in County Carlow.

In December, I will be travelling to France with a good friend who has severe cerebral palsy. She will be visiting a clinic in Dunkirk to see if they can design an environmental control system for her. She is an incredible person with an absolutely radiant personality - she is also incredibly able, steering her wheelchair with her head and communicating with her eyes.

I hope to travel to England as well, also in December. It is a cold time of year to be traveling, but I would like to see London in the build up for Christmas. I also want to see Oxford, Bath, Stonehenge (itís been on my travel wish list for a long time!), and so much more. And with museums being one of my passions, I am longing to see the British Museum.

I am not yet sure if I will travel elsewhere in Europe - a lot depends on finances and opportunities. I might make a short trip to Spain, as I would dearly love to meet Zhigulii (a good, long-term internet friend) at last, and the rest remains to be seen.

Well, thatís what I am doing in Europe - keep your eye on this site for information and pictures on all my European travels.

updated: 26 April 2000

Well, I have managed to travel a great deal since I came to Ireland, but my travel plans certainly didn't go quite as I expected. If you would like to read about my life and work in Ireland, along with lots of great photos, you are welcome to visit my Living and working in Ireland page.

As far as travels outside Ireland are concerned, I did get to visit Dunkirk with my friend Siobhan in December 1999. I visited Switzerland in January 2000, and had a wonderful week in Tunisia in February. My last trip was a whirlwind three week tour of parts of England, France, Switzerland, Italy and Spain, in March/April. Now I have well exceeded my planned travel budget, and plan to quietly putter around in Ireland, maybe going on a weekend trip to Cork and the Ring of Kerry in early summer, before my visa finally expires in August.

updated:24 September 2000

Would you believe, I'm back in South Africa and it seems as though my travel days are over, at least for a while. I did manage to fit in a short trip to Cork, kiss the Blarney Stone, etc. - but I didn't get to the Ring of Kerry. Still, I had a wonderful time - it is a beautiful part of Ireland.

But I was lucky enough to get a part time job which earned me enough money to make a last trip over to England. I managed to do some of the things that I had longed to do and missed in my first trip - like visit Stonehenge and see the Phantom of the Opera in London's West End.

I flew back to South Africa on the 29th of August - now the real challenges await me - to find a job, settle down, and stop gadding about like a teenager ... although I still have some castles in the air...




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Sally Smith
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