• personal,  Thoughts on...,  Uncategorized

    Thoughts on… Spending Monday in Mexico

    I am actually in Mexico as I type this, and I’m typing it on my phone, at the bar. I’ve had one Bahama Mama and one Electric Lemonade, and if you know me then you know that’s quite enough to have me enthusiastically humming Disney villain songs loudly and in public.* Currently, I’m on Poor Unfortunate Souls, but I’m open to suggestions. It’s nice here. I arrived a few hours ago and already my hair has taken on a life of its own and doubled in volume; it looks like it inhaled deeply and never exhaled. Waves have appeared out of nowhere. It is basically now a duvet for my…

  • so that happened

    Falling Half in Love with Strangers

    I love being able to express myself in writing. It feels more accurate somehow than speaking words. Talking for me can sometimes feel like playing tennis with a colander; I mean, it’s possible, I can do it, but it’s not ideal. The ball goes over the net, but just about. It goes where I want it to go… more or less. I can’t be sure it’ll hit it’s mark, but I can hope. Later, I’ll go home and think about how I could have done it some other, better way. Writing is different. Writing is a tennis racket. When I’m writing, I have the time to think about what I’m trying…

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    Chasing UFOs at Chichibu National Park, Japan

    I had been in Japan only a few days when my brother suggested visiting Chichibu. “It’s beautiful,” he said. “You’ll love it!” I was happy to go along with his suggestion, seeing as he 1.) is my brother and b.) was living in Japan at the time, so I cheerfully agreed, and the following morning I found myself on a little bus destined for Chichibu National Park. This post isn’t really about the national park, however. As we wandered up the hill from the entrance, I munched on my matcha-flavoured pocky sticks and looked around me. It was a sunny day and my brother was right, the park was beautiful.…

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    Stripping Off in Suwa, Japan

    I walked into the Katakurakan onsen with trepidation clawing up my throat. A smiling lady handed me a small towel and a small key at the window of reception, then gestured gracefully towards a door on the left. This was something I’d noticed a lot since arriving in Japan; every Japanese person I encountered seemed to have been born with the kind of grace that eludes me on a daily basis. Clutching the towel to my chest, I pushed open the door to the women’s changing room and walked in. In no way was I excited about getting naked with strangers. I was dragging my feet with dread. My skin had…

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    Freaks and Fried Butter in Florida, USA

    I am going to say something today that you might dismiss as ridiculous hyperbole, but I promise you that I say it with utmost sincerity: There are few events in life as entertaining for a European as the Florida State Fair. Six years ago, on a whim, Scrubs and I parked our rental car in front of the Tampa fairground and hopped out with entirely average levels of excitement. We bought our tickets, pushed open the gate, and ambled in. I was hoping for a small petting zoo and maybe a few stalls selling candy floss (or ‘cotton candy‘), while Scrubs was hoping for a speedy lap of the fairground and…

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    Careening Around Cairo, Egypt

    I was lucky enough to visit Egypt just before things got politically messy. Scrubs and I arrived in Cairo in 2010 on the last day of Eid. The festive mood was infectious, and even after a long journey it was impossible not to feel cheered by the sight of shiny banners and twinkling, colourful lights strung from building to building. Tinny music and the sound of laughter streamed from open windows as we dragged our bags through the streets of the city. We arrived at the front door of our hostel, Hola Cairo, feeling tired but excited. The large, heavy wooden door swung open with a loud creak and we were immediately…

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    Barely Surviving Bansko, Bulgaria

    Well. As I stood thigh-high in snow, looking around me for any sign of civilisation, I patted my pockets for my phone and marveled at my own stupidity. Let me backtrack for a moment and explain that this happened in 2007, and that I want to tell this story because I wouldn’t want you to expect my travel stories to be in any way aspirational. In fact, many of my stories are of situations to be avoided, whether that’s due to the holy mortifying shame of them, or just a general lack of critical thinking skills displayed at the time. With that said, this is definitely one of the latter.…

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    Sporadically Nomadic

    I love to travel. I have been traveling since I was born. My mother is Spanish and my father is Irish, so in order to meet half of my extended family I had to be put on a plane as early as possible*. Since then, I’ve been busy trying to visit as many new places as I can. Unfortunately, I’m not one of those golden-haired, anklet-wearing, hostel-loving free spirits who go traveling barefoot for months on end and post pictures on instagram that make you want to claw your eyes out with jealousy. I’m more of a Dora the Explorer type. Not the new stylised version with the pearl earrings…

  • Travel, flying, Ireland, home
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    Straight Outta Ireland

    There are a lot of great quotes about travel. For example, Mark Twain once said, “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness,” and I’ve certainly found that to be true in my own life. There is something about being in a country that is utterly unlike your own; it stalls the senses and resets your brain to create a new normal built on the foundations of the old. Today, I’d like to write about any one of the many places I’ve visited on my travels. That’s what I really feel like doing. I want to spin an amusing tale about the time my milk withdrawals led me to sneak…

  • so that happened,  Uncategorized

    The Human Turtle

    I feel like there are certain universal social cues that everybody understands. I think everyone would agree, for example, that people wearing earphones are generally not looking for a conversation. Despite this, somehow, for some reason, people break this seemingly simple rule with me all the time. I can’t tell what it is about me that invites this kind of behaviour. Is it my tiny stature? Is it something about my face? Do I have an invisible ink tattoo that reads ‘TALK TO ME’ under strip lighting? It happens a lot. A man once motioned for me to take my headphones off in Tesco while I was looking at packets…