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.
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.
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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