travel

Dublin, Ireland

My first stop on my summer of adventures.

This is a perfect city for those novice travelers. Everyone is super friendly. Navigation is a breeze, as the city is small enough that you can walk everywhere. And English is the primary language.

Although now the city appears to be overrun with tourists, and you will have to visit the touristy parts of town, you can experience traditional Irish culture throughout your visit.

Top tourist attraction are the Guinness and Jameson breweries, jail museum, cathedrals, and Irish history museums.

If you are visiting the city for any length of time, I highly recommend you pick up a leap card right at the airport and ride the bus into the city–making your navigation around the city a breeze. It was €40 for an unlimited 7 day pass as opposed to our only taxi ride that cost that much just to get us to our house the first day.

So that is the general what travelers need to know, but here is how our trip went…

We arrived after an overnight flight from New York (we being me and my family) running on very little sleep, because no one really took me seriously when I explained how important it is to sleep as much as you can on the plane. Everyone was so cranky. And uncoordinated with everything from wheeling the luggage to taking bathroom breaks to paying attention to what it is that we are actually trying to find. Then the icing on the cake was finding out ED SHEERAN had performances in Dublin and was staying in Dublin when we would have been able to attend his concerts, except they were all sold out. Apparently the Irish really love Ed as all of his performances in Dublin, Cork, Belfast, and Galway were all sold out! Devastating.

Not my ideal first day of my holiday…but thank god it all got better.

Aside from visiting many of the sights in Dublin including the Oscar Wilde statue, Trinity college, Temple bar nightlife, and many of the cathedral ruins, we were all completely captivated with the (oftentimes depressing) history and especially the remnants of the pagan belief system.

Like I probably mention in every post, I am obsessed with this book series called A Court of Thorns and Roses and the Throne of Glass series fantasy books about fae and fairies, that all come from CELTIC MYTHOLOGY. And we are literally in the birthplace of these mythologies and legends so me and my sisters were living in our glory. So any ACOTAR or fantasy fans, this is definitely a city or country you should check out.

We did a couple of bus tours to see other parts of Ireland. Our first was a mythology based tour to ancient burial grounds in the midlands such as the Hill of Tara, Boyne Valley, Newgrange, and ????. We got to see faerie trees up close and saw where the still practicing druids tie ribbons on the trees as offerings to the fae. Our tour guide was amazing sharing both legends and true history about each of the places we drove past. And at one point during the tour he handed us off to such a charismatic character, Marty, who shared stories about the fae, changelings, and origin stories of the ancient ones who were banished under the Earth. He was hilarious–inventing new plots to the Irish legends about legendary heroes Finn MacCool, Cu Chulainn, the Ulster Cycle, and more! (which are all totally interesting if you have the time and want to check them out!) Plus we got to go hiking & get up close and personal with the sheep! (Maybe my favorite part…I mean they are just so cute!)

The other big tour we did was a Game of Thrones/ Giant’s Causeway based tour to the Northern Ireland. Our first stop on this tour was to the Dark Hedges aka the King’s Road where Arya escapes with the night’s watch after losing her father in Season 1. Then we visited a couple of very small coastal villages where all of the scenes from the Iron Isles were filmed and some of Melisandre’s crazier schemes…like the cave she gave birth in. Those moments were the highlight of the trip for me because, like, we stood exactly where they did. Those places are actually real places. No green screens were necessary. Incredible. And I really hope I never forget the smell of the coastal city so I can get the full effect for when I re-watch the show again.

But the Giant’s Causeway was just as cool. And as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it means that it is a site of cultural value for the world, because it is a visual display of how incredible our earth is. The entire cliffside formed millions of hexagons all from a volcanic eruption and has inspired legends and cultures since it’s creation millions of years ago! But my description does it no justice–brush up on your Earth Science knowledge and visit it for yourself!

My next stop is Edinburgh, Scotland!!!

 

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travel

Greetings from Europe

Hello. It’s European me, just checking in during the first stop on my summer of adventures.

(Warning: I wrote this on my phone during a bus trip which means there might be typeos or other grammatical/editing errors. And as I am not really leaving time during my travel to thoroughly edit everything I post…please don’t judge me on the mistakes from now on. Maybe I will dedicate time when I get back to America for editing. But feel free to let me know of anything you catch!)

So first I will start with my final packing count. I ended up departing New York after much chaos the moments before leaving our house with me trying to get my suitcase under the 10 kilo/22lb limit for Norwegian Airlines. (Side note for anyone flying Norwegian–they were very strict with the weight limit and weighed everything I was trying to take on the plane in one batch–and I was still over. Oops.) My sister helped me with my last minute scrambling and was, of course, entertained with my panic. That made one of us.

Obviously I wouldn’t recommend the absolute last second packing routine that I follow…especially when I realized all of the important things I forgot. Like the wedding card.

But I am still impressed with all that I did accomplish. A summer’s worth of clothes, shoes, accessories, toiletries, and more, that all fit into just 1 rolling duffel and very small backpack. Like many who backpack frequently and know how difficult it can be to lug all your unnecessary shit from one place to another, I tried to keep my items down to the bare minimum.

So here is all that I brought:

Sundress, skirt, romper
Teeshirts and tanktops
Shorts, leggings, jeans
Dress for my friend’s wedding

And once arriving in Dublin, I realized I could still cut some things out, and I sent home my bulky european adaptors (in favor of my brother’s smaller one), a few shirts, credit card receipts, and my souvenir shopping.

(Like this cute travel savings collection box that I just couldn’t pass up from New Look):

So now that I made it all the way to Ireland, my new challenge is making sure all of my clothing items and other stuff that I brought remains functional and accessible. I will be trying really hard to live off of the bare minimum…necessities only for the rest of my summer.

Wish me luck!

Environment

I Aim to Live Sustainably and You Should Too!

So I was sitting in my office kitchen today, looking down at my lunch garbage, and it got me to thinking about how all of my garbage was really unnecessary. And how it could have all been easily eliminated.

And honestly, it would have been so easy.

  1. My uncrustables sandwich wrapper was unnecessary because I could have made a PB&J to put into one of our sandwich containers just as easily as grabbing one already made.
  2. The bag of pretzels was a waste because, first of all they are so tiny, but second, I could have easily filled a tupperware container with the pretzels that we have already bought in bulk. And added something to the side, like Nutella for dipping.
  3. And then there was my can of seltzer, which I did put in the recycle bin (cans are 100% recyclable), but I could have done even better and brought in soda made in the soda machine that we already own, in a reusable bottle, thus eliminating the need for a disposable/ recyclable container in the first place.

The Reduce/ Reuse/ Recycle triangle that we all know so well, is not actually an equilateral triangle at all. The most important thing is reducing anything that we don’t need. Then reuse what we can’t reduce. Then recycle what we can’t reuse.

But these things are really hard because we live in such a “disposable” society, where convenience and saving time are way more valuable than living within our means, or even living completely sustainably.

My ultimate goal is to live 100% waste free, like a blogger that I discovered while doing research for one of my environmental courses. Bea Johnson, author of Zero Waste Home, lives each day eliminating all waste from her life. She has her actual garbage down to fit in one mason jar for the entire year. Talk about goals. If we all lived like she does, we would have no waste disposal issues, and virtually no need for any other environmental concerns, either.

But we can start small.

It is our obligation to make the world a better place for the future. But we aren’t going to be able to do this UNLESS we make changes to our current lifestyle. We aren’t going to see a huge impact tomorrow, and maybe not in our lifetime either. But if want to leave any planet left for the future we have to start today.

It is a matter of thinking ahead and being prepared. Do you have a favorite coffee place that you always go to? Buy their reusable to-go mug and bring it with you each time you get a drink from there. I will not go to Starbucks if I forgot to bring my mug.

Need to get a water? Get into the habit of bringing a reusable water bottle with you everywhere you go. If you forget one then make sure you carry the plastic water bottle around until you can actually find a recycle bin to properly dispose of your waste.

Buy your food and snacks in bulk. This eliminates a lot of the packaging. Even better though, would be to shop in stores where you can bring your own jars and containers to purchase the ingredients and then you can make the entire snack at home. Which would require the disposal of ZERO wrappers.

Forgo the straw. This shouldn’t be the first time you are hearing this, but, PLASTIC IS BAD. And straws are not even a necessity to drink a beverage, for the average person. If you really want or need a straw, then you can purchase nice reusable straws. (Just make sure you also get a special tool to clean the insides of the straws too because they can get gross.)

When deciding between two items or two brands, chose the one with less plastic/ packaging. Believe it or not, consumers do have a say in these things. Based on their decisions and purchases.

And finally, skip the plastic bag!

Suffolk county has only recently enacted a 5¢ bag fee, though I know it has been in the works for years now. And working in retail, I have seen the very ugly side of Americans who demand things like this for free. And are not good with change either. From what I witnessed in Scotland, (where they had just enacted their own 5p bag fee when I got there) everyone became acclimated very quickly and painlessly. And us transplants just accepted it as a part of the culture and it was no big deal.

But actually charging even such a small amount for bags has made such a huge difference already because people are not taking it if they don’t absolutely need it. And that is good. It has made every single customer stop and think about if they really need that bag, and I have not seen one person ask for a double bag anymore. Progress is slow, but it is still progress.

Every time you spend money, you’re casting a vote for the kind of world you want.

-Anna Lappé

Slowly we could all change the market, but the laws of supply and demand require that it starts with us, the consumers. We need to be the ones demanding better of our products and brands, and right now, unfortunately, that might mean purchasing items that are the more expensive, until demand goes up and then the price will come down.

And I challenge you to eliminate one wasteful habit from your life. One simple change can make a world of a difference. Start with one and then you can build up to be on Bea Johnson’s level too!

lorax

Leave a note in the comments if and where you caught my Lorax reference.