Look out, Ireland. I’m heading your way in 2016, at least that’s the plan. What started out as half a joke is another step toward reality.
Spend any amount of time in Ireland and you’ll discover the Irish are brilliant storytellers. Folklore and true tales have been passed through generations and if you have an open ear, hear these tales from your taxi driver, new pub mates, random folks on the street, and of course, your tour guide. I explored Southwest Ireland with Paddywagon Tours and discovered how they serve up a heaping bowl of fun storytelling to complement the Emerald Isle’s stunning scenery.
Riding through Southwestern Ireland in the comfort of the Paddywagon Tours’ mini-bus allowed me to soak up the scenery. I saw white sheep grazing in the green rolling hills, aging headstones in famine cemeteries and stone fences crisscrossing the countryside. When I saw a few guys walking a pier alongside a horse in water I needed to say something. It looked a little odd considering the water had to be near freezing.
The Paddywagon Tours bus parked just off the Slea Head Road (R 559) in the Dingle Peninsula. Gazing down the hillside through the fog I saw a pair of white sheep grazing in the green grass.
Attending the Travel Blog Exchange (TBEX) conference in Dublin was my cover for traveling to Ireland earlier this month but it was my family roots driving my decision to learn more about my heritage. Honestly, I didn’t spend time finding my family roots or chasing branches up my family tree but I did connect with my heritage through tasting the flavors of traditional and new Ireland.
Since landing late yesterday morning I’ve been roaming around, and dodging raindrops, in Dublin. The TBEX conference (Travel Blog Exchange) has led me to the Emerald Isle but an affinity to my Irish heritage brought me here a couple days in advance so I can explore. Being here is like getting a warm hug from my grandmother, even though today was a little damp.
Blogging is about sharing what you know, right? Following are my tips for traveling solo for the first time.
Who do I think I am? AncestryDNA helped me figure that out. When it comes down to genealogy, I thought I knew who I was based on what my family told me over the years. My father’s side is German with possible Austrian while my mother’s is Irish and Slovakian.
I recently read an article about what’s on people’s travel bucket list and “researching family heritage” was one of the top activities. Rather than visiting a travel planning site during your first step in planning a family heritage trip, give Ancestry.com a try. You may be surprised by what you find.
I wholeheartedly believe being a little scared brings out the best in a person. With the end of 2013 I’m looking back and remembering an incredible year. I traveled to three continents , met inspiring and good people, and emotionally grew by pushing personal boundaries.
I gave myself the best gift I could possibly give this year. The gift of health. Being a codependent, workaholic means I put the needs of others before my own. For most of my working adult life I’ve put work ahead of my health. I used it as an excuse to skip the gym and constantly ate fast food because I devoted lunches to working at my desk rather than prepare lunches at home and bring them to work. I used business trips as an excuse to try the most outrageous, gooey meals possible.
I’ve been taking Nature Made® VitaMelts because I’ve accepted I’m no longer a spry thirty-something-year-old with the stamina for staying awake and functioning 48 hours at a time, I’ve been consciously taking better care of myself including taking my vitamins. By adding vitamins and supplements into my nutrition plan, I suspect they’ve contributed to my well being.
It was my appreciation for the art of postcards that inspired me to launch SoloTravelGirl.com’s Postcard of the Month Club last October. It was simple. For a year, once a month I would send a postcard to those blog readers who registered. Can you believe it’s been a year?
Viewing the Wicklow Mountains for the first time was magical. Translucent clouds hovered over the rounded peaks and the surrounding landscape was carpeted in hues of green, gold, auburn and purple intensified by a little Irish rain. I literally gasped seeing this picturesque scenery as it didn’t seem real but indeed, it’s very much real. I’ve visited Dublin three times prior to this October trip but never had the chance to venture out...
Sponsored By Cheerios® is giving you the chance to win a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, your ultimate family vacation. As part of a paid promotion for their “Do What You Love” Sweepstakes, Cheerios® is sponsoring my post today about what my ultimate family vacation would be. Read mine and Enter the Sweepstakes for a chance to actually win your own fantasy family trip or one of a bunch of other great prizes. Where would I...