7 People You Meet in a Hostel

As I’m beginning to write this article there is a man hovering over me and bombarding me with information about the extremities of the corruption within Ireland’s politics. “It’s because of the fat cats Olivia, you know what they are? The rich. And they leave us poor to pay for everything. Isn’t that right Olivia?”. About an hour ago the exact same conversation took place and the hour before that as well. I have heard the term Fat Cats a solid 67 times in the past three days, no exaggeration. After working and staying in hostels for the past 8 months I am more than used to situations such as this. My personal bubble has disintegrated drastically. Through months of speculation in the hosteling environment I have been able to pin down seven reoccurring characters that you are guaranteed to meet if you stay in hostels for a slightly prolonged time.

You have your generic hostellers: hikers, partiers or just your average Bob, Jimmy or Joe passing through.  The list that I have generated dives into a deeper category of hostellers, ones that live under the hostel surface and begin to appear when you fully immerse yourself into the environment.

  1. The Person Who Sleeps All Day

“Meet” might be a long shot for this special hosteller. Here is the jist, it is exactly how it sounds. You will come across a person that genuinely sleeps all day. It might begin as early as you unpacking your bags on arrival and feeling bad for turning on the lights mid-afternoon, trying not to disturb the moving comforter. That is the first sign that you’ve got yourself a “person who sleeps all day” hosteller on your hands. You’ll get used to lowering your tone anytime you enter the room and sometimes even navigating in the dark so they can continue in their sleep coma. It is absolutely shocking how long someone can stay in bed for. There are many of these hostellers that you spend countless hours in the same sleeping quarters with, but you never really officially meet.

    2. Clearly a Hotel Person

Upon their arrival into your 20 bed dormitory it can become quite obvious that this is not the sleeping situation they are used to. They can be extremely hesitant to slide their belongings underneath their bunk and hop on top to prepare their comforter and sheets. Eyes widen when they see that the toilet and shower situation is shared between males and females and you might have a hard time not being spotted in your towel. An overall uncertainty is omitted by these hostellers. Be friendly and make them feel comfortable in the hostel, maybe they’ll really enjoy it and switch their ways!

  1. The Noise Maker

I have come across a few notable people that are just plain noisy. Not with their words, but with their actions. Whether they are just huffing and puffing every given minute or giving no thought to how hard they shut the door when leaving. They just make an absurd amount of noise. We all have faced the dilemma of zipping and unzipping pockets of your bag at an unruly hour but it is safe to assume most hostellers do it as discretely as possible. Not these guys, the noisemakers will zip and unzip with all their noisy might, they aren’t stopping for no one. I have experienced a noisy person who was so restless that they were shaking the bunk bed. Creating, you guessed it, noise and also causing my obsessive mind to become increasingly irritated, anticipating her every move.

  1. The Resident

At the first interaction with this hosteller you may make the assumption that they work there. Signs of this may be their tight relationship with the whole staff and their knowledge about how the hostel operates. A general comfortability in the hostel. I have one hundred percent been on the brink of falling into this category. The Resident treats the hostel like home, because for the time being it is home! You’ll find them roaming around in their pajamas and occasionally taking naps on the common room couch. From my experiences, I find that they bring a lot of the guests together as well because they end up getting to know most people.

  1. The Wild Card

I like to describe The Wild Card as someone who has just gone through hell and back twice to end up in a hostel. It is easy to judge someone by their demeanor, someone may appear to be cranky or irritable and for certain situations, rightly so. A lot of these hostellers that I’ve talked to are a result of a really shitty, terrible breakup that leaves them far from home and sleeping in a room full of strangers. I met one lovely hosteller whose car broke down causing her to miss a course that cost them a couple thousand dollars and was then informed her partner cheated on her, and  again, ended up in a hostel. My list of examples goes on including a man I met whose funding fell through for a University program he crossed seas for and was now stuck in a different country alone and with no backup. As a fellow hosteller, I think these guys deserve a big, warm hug and a temporary friend.

  1. The Talker

As outlined in the beginning of this article, you might find yourself running into a few individuals that like to talk…….a lot. It is safe to say that everyone enjoys a little banter here and there. After all, you may as well get to know a bit about the people you’re bunking with. Every now and then you may come across someone that will physically tucker you out with dialogue. I might sound like a bitch saying that sometimes I avoid lounging in the common room to dodge getting stuck in these conversations, but it happens. While working reception at one of my hostel jobs I encountered a guest that talked to me for over an hour and on about five separate occasions said goodnight, began walking away and just before leaving would think up another conversation topic. I had to laugh and there is no harm done by a lengthy conversation. In fact, he taught me a lot about Preachers in Saskatchewan with multiple wives.

  1. The Friend

It is safe to say that this hosteller is my favourite hosteller. You may come across someone that will turn into more than just your bunk buddy. Especially as a solo traveller, when we find someone we can relate to it builds a solid foundation for a new friendship. You may just simply jive with a fellow hosteller over a few jokes cracked while making dinner next to each other. I have crossed paths with countless wonderful people in hostels and have been lucky enough to create some special friendships with a few of them. And the most exciting part of it all is the urge to reconnect with them could take you halfway across the world.

 

You see an extreme mix of people when you stay in hostels, every experience is unique and wonderful, even the not so wonderful ones. Don’t be afraid to start a conversation with your temporary roommates or take a joke too far, it could be the joke that blossoms a friendship. If you open your eyes to the people around you, you might learn something new. Also, is there a category that I am completely oblivious to because I am a part of it?

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Outside Barnacles Hostel, Galway

My Employment Rollercoaster

 

My initial fear of finding a reliable job in Ireland happened on a Wednesday night in a happening night club in downtown Vancouver. I met an Irish fella and I asked him, while dancing, “do you think it’ll be easy for me to find a job?” crossing my fingers he’d at least say yes to ease my mind. “No, not at all” was his reply. Buzz was murdered, the tempo of my dance moves decreased quite a bit and I probably went to the bar to order another drink with the money I should’ve been saving. What I would do for that six dollars right now. Anyways, I didn’t let his input entirely make up my expectation of the job market but I did keep it in my butt pocket.

If I had not of come to Ireland in January, maybe things would have been a bit better. I must say, however, my wild job hunt in January and February allowed me to travel around a lot of the country unintentionally. By the time jobs began popping up, especially in Dublin, I no longer had money to support myself for accommodation for longer than two weeks. So taking a job in the big city would be a huge risk. Money was the tightest it’s ever been, and I’m in a different country….alone. There was/is no turning back to Canada.  I am stuck in Ireland, that isn’t a complaint by the way. So naturally, I took up the first job offer that I could find that offered me hours and accommodation. I was working in a tea house and hostel and living in the hostel. Upon arrival I was told I would get 30 hours a week and it would pick up when the season starts and that my room would be deducted from my pay. Honestly, it was something and it wasn’t the worst job offer in the world, sounded pretty cushy. I asked about how much would be taken off for accommodation and my boss told me that she would let me know the following week after she heard back from her accountant. Okay? Things felt weird, and I did not get nice vibes from this lady to put things nicely. It was only on my second shift that co-workers started telling me to look for another job because I would get screwed over with payment and there was no certainty with my position. I was let in on the little secret this place holds: most people are underpaid, extremely underpaid, I would say illegally underpaid. I cannot pick which job was worse, this one or the last one. I started stressing out hard, I couldn’t quit because I couldn’t survive much longer on my 90 euros. A very new low. Getting anywhere else for an interview was stressing me out because it costs money to get transportation there and I severely lacked that.

I applied like a mad woman to jobs on Monday following continuous conversations with co-workers about the unreliability of me being paid and I was done with how she was treating people. I had a whooping four interviews lined up by the end of Monday and had trouble sleeping that night because I knew I had to make my next move. Figuratively and literally. I have never felt so risky. After my shift yesterday it was like my body went into auto pilot and started packing my bags and getting ready to leave. My mind was further behind my actions because once everything was packed my mind was like “Shit, now you actually have to verbally deal with this issue”. I had an hour before the last bus left and I marched on down from the hostel to the tea room and I said “BITTCCCCCCCHHHHHH”. I hope that was a funny joke. But really, I gave my regards and she said that she knew it wasn’t going to work out. Apparently, I had a lack of enthusiasm and I said…..well, yeah. And then, the kicker, she said that my hours evened out with my accommodation so we were even. Was that going to be my summer job then lady? It was honestly just ridiculous. Me, myself and my backpacks walked ourselves to the bus stop and set out for the Dingle Peninsula, a place that I had my eye on even before coming to Ireland. I had an interview in the middle of nowhere on a beach between the mountains. I just got the news that I will be living here and working here for the season. A paid job? Who would’ve thought? The past month has been extremely rocky and a test to myself and particularly, my coping skills. I feel like I’m in the right place now, I had my first shift today and it’s the first one I didn’t leave in tears. The people are wonderful and it is peaceful. My new friend, yes now I have one of those, and I keep saying that the third time is the charm.

Ireland has been an employment rollercoaster, it is beyond me how people mistreat their employees and I am grateful that I had the option to leave and find a job that respects me and works with me, not against me.33.jpg

Problems of Opportunity

Let me paint you a picture here: It was a wild night out in South Korea. This means that we were infused with copious amounts of beer, soju and tequila and encouraged by the bartender to head bang on the bar to Queen classics. What possible life changing thing could happen in a moment like this, other than possibly breaking a leg from a nasty tumble off the bar resulting in you limping your way through life? It caught me off guard that through all of our nonsense my sister, Emily, said something so profound that I would be writing about it over a year later. She explained to me a reality that myself and the majority of my peers face in our twenties. It had an impact on how I think about my own life and the path that I lead. People are facing problems all over the globe, some problems so far out of our realm that it is hard to comprehend them as an individual’s reality. Life surely throws curveballs at me every now and then but at the end of the day I have food in my belly, a bed to sleep in and friends and family that love me. Emily opened my eyes that we should be thankful for our problems because, in general, we face problems of opportunity.

Which job offer should I fulfill? Would I have a better time traveling Western Europe or South America? Should I accept my offer to McMaster University or Western University? Perhaps I’ll hold off on signing a lease on this apartment, I’ll wait for one that has a kitchen with a dishwasher. At this young, ripe age of twenty one I have an overwhelming amount of opportunities close within my reach. What I never realized until Emily’s theory came to be was I should be grateful for my problems. Instead of complaining about how hard it is to make a decision I should be embracing the life that I was given and how privileged I am that these are the issues I have to face. I have the ability to take a chance in the direction of my life that some people don’t have. My worst case scenario is some people’s best case scenario: live with my parents and work at the mall (mom and dad, if you’re reading this I actually think you’re the best roommates ever). Even if that were to happen, the opportunity to change my situation overtime is still present.

Emily challenged me to re-evaluate my life difficulties and I encourage anyone that is stuck in these situations to do the same. Instead of fretting over the endless list of opportunities that lay ahead of me I chose to embrace them. Our problems of opportunity are also our blessings. We are absolutely blessed to be able to have the ability to travel the world if we get a second job over the summer and don’t spend too much of our money on our social life. And if that isn’t your style, maybe you could funnel your savings into buying yourself a car. You might not be able to do both but thank your lucky stars that you have the option. We can’t have everything in the world but we have the opportunities to experience a slice of some things and we should never take that for granted.

If there is one thing that I hope you learned from this post it is that despite how drunk you may be at the bar your drunken rambling may inspire someone to write a blog post about it. Okay, I am just kidding, settle down but that is also very true. Best of luck living up to Emily’s philosophical drunken babble though. Genuinely, I hope that you learn to love life’s big drawing board ahead of you. Take advantage of your problems of opportunity and having the option to take a risk. Before you stress about not knowing what your next move will be please take a moment, smile and be thankful that you have a choice.

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The night it all came to be.

Thank You Tinder

Am I seriously sitting in Ireland right drinking my cup of tea about to write about how Tinder has played a fine role in my travels thus far. Why yes, yes I am. I was always the person that shunned the idea of online dating, I was committed to meeting people the old fashion way. I still am but I really had to get with the times. A lot of the cool kids are actually doing it. My advice to the single travelers out there looking for a bit of a different adventure would be to swallow your damn pride and download the app.

Having the playful conversation is fun and nice but actually taking the next step to meet up for a date can be horribly daunting. Expectations are all over the place. Shit gets real when the words “where should I meet you?” are exchanged. My urge to make this entry came from an array of events that took place yesterday. I made a wonderful friend at the hostel I’m currently at and we got on talking about Tinder. She was in the great debate about whether or not to go meet up with one of her matches. I said do it, definitely do it. Worst case scenario would be the date ends, you never see him again and you have a new experience under your belt.  It could make for an awesome story. So I was there by her side, waiting with her and sharing the excitement of her soon to be date. 8:30pm hit and it was meet up time, I was living vicariously through her at this point. She left and I ran up to the kitchen window and got incredibly giddy watching them walk off into a Tinder daydream. I got even giddier when she messaged me an hour later inviting me out with them and another one of his friends. Their tinder date turned into the four of us drinking A LOT and hitting Killarney hard. If we had stopped drinking after the second pub we were even all going to climb a mountain together this morning. Unfortunately, there was no stopping after the second pub and we were in full party mode. I laughed my face off and danced myself sore. Thank you to my new friend for inviting me to join your Tinder date and thank you Tinder for exceeding all of my expectations.

I don’t always tag along on Tinder dates with people I’ve known for less than 24 hours, sometimes I have my own dates. A lovely lad offered to take me out to an old man pub for some beers to celebrate my arrival in Ireland. I admit, I was incredibly hesitant and it took a lot of self-convincing to actually go. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Dublin there is a monument right in the heart of the city that basically looks like a big needle, I’m not positive about its significance other than providing an excellent meeting point. Pun a little bit intended. Off I went to the spire to anxiously await my mysterious tinder dates arrival. After about five minutes he showed up, or who I thought was him. I walked up to a guy also lingering around that genuinely looked like my date. “Peter?” “No?”. Jesus Christ, let’s make it a little more obvious that you’re going on a blind date Liv. I apologized and started laughing to myself, a lot. I’m cringing just thinking about it. Was this my life? Eventually, I did find the right guy and I had my first Irish Tinder date. We put back a few drinks at a quaint, and a little strange, old man bar. The bar was playing an extremely disturbing TV show of crime re-enactments and the crowd was a bit somber, we had a good laugh but still, strange. We ended up at a livelier, young people bar by the end of the night that refrained from distressing their customers. It was nice to have engaging conversation and explore something new. Although nothing major came from my date it was overall a lovely experience and gave me a smidge of hope in the Tinder world.

Then there are the tinder matches that remain only a distant memory in my app. I’ve actually got an overwhelming amount of suggestions from some kind lads regarding things to do, see and experience during my time in Ireland. It is incredibly resourceful. Give a few swipes during your time in Dublin and you won’t have trouble finding yourself a tour guide, could be an authentic Irish experience. Or, you could find yourself a fellow Canadian and talk about what you would do for a Tim Hortons over here.  I am happy to say, despite all of the negativity associated with Tinder, I put the judgement aside and tried it for myself.

Go on that date and push yourself out of your element. Have a new experience and keep an open mind. And who knows, maybe you’ll meet someone that is worth a second or third date.

And, am I the only one who thinks Super Liking is a bit pushy? Toots!

 

 

 

 

Okay, Bye February!

February was an absolute whirlwind. Creating a life here and securing a job in an environment that provides me with happiness has been incredibly challenging. I am still not one hundred percent there but I feel like I am on the right track. I’ve been putting off making this blog post because there is a lot to write and quite honestly, I don’t want to bore anyone? Whatever, if you are reading this then a big hug and thanks to you.

Lahinch was a week full of sunny days, runs on the beach, warming up by the fireplace, copious amounts of tea drinking and biscuit eating, and job searching. I was lucky enough to end up at the homiest Workaway spot, they treated me like gold there. I was spoiled with nightly communal dinners and a comfy bed to lay my head at night in return for a few hours of helping with the hostel work a week. I finally had the time and a beautiful environment to motivate me to put my running shoes on and exercise my body and mind. A tid bit of traveling advice here, if you are tight on money and have flexibility it is worth it to get involved with Workaway. From my experience and friends I’ve met on the roads experience, it is the ultimate money saver and memory maker. There is nothing better than a bit of consistency for a week or two. There are also tons of interesting volunteer positions to be filled. You can land yourself working and staying in an Irish Castle if you play your cards right. Hella cool.

And so, employment found me and I jumped on it quick. I got an answer about a live in B&B position. Isn’t it the dream to work and live in a quaint little guesthouse by the Irish Sea? Getting to be the face that greets people after a long day of traveling and give them a warm, happy place to stay. It still sounds like a nice dream. However, the side of it that I wasn’t anticipating was the sheer loneliness that came with the position. I lived in and worked from 8:00am until anywhere between 12:00pm -2:30pm and if I was lucky could fit a run in on the seaside and would have to be back at the B&B from 3:00pm-9:00pm to check the coming guests in. There were nights I had to wait until 2:00am to check in late guests. Basically, I didn’t have time to even see what the town had to offer or make friends. When I asked about having a night off every now and then it wasn’t entirely well received and there was no sure answer as to whether I would be able to leave. I had cabin fever. I could have rationed the constant work if the pay had measured up. But seeing as I was only being paid for part time work when the position took up 12 hours of my day, 7 days a week, I couldn’t fathom staying. I came to Ireland to create new friendships, have a steady work life and maintain a happy social life. I started cursing every sheet I put on a bed out of pure frustration. My anger wasn’t healthy. The only positive side to the whole experience was the drive that I had to go for long runs and escape the god forsaken place for an hour or two………………if I was lucky. Rage Against the Machine were often the soundtrack to my escapes and there were points I was just crying and running. The place was miserable man. The customers weren’t happy and as much as I tried to convert the space into a positive space it was a losing battle. I did not succeed. I spent a whooping nine days at that joint. I could go on about other contributing factors to the negative experience but I don’t want to. I’m on to better things now. Back to Dublin I went, with a few extra Euros in my pocket.

I was still applying for jobs in Dublin when I was working at the B&B and had to miss out on a few awesome job interviews because I didn’t have a day in my schedule that I could take the hour trip for an interview. YOU SEE MY DILEMMA? I decided to risk it to the biscuit and just head off. There were so many jobs on the horizon, job season is finally here! I found a job on the west coast in a beautiful, quaint little hostel and tea shop. I am absolutely thrilled to get out there. In the meantime I’m waiting in Dublin to get my paws on my PPS number that is in the mail. Once I get that, hopefully in a day or two, I will be on my merry way. I’ve just been taking in all the free live music I can while staying in Dublin. I’ve been a bit of a groupie following around a friend I met at the hostel to all of his open mic nights. He’s got a sweet style and the musical talent in Dublin is on fire. I’m going to head out to Killarney National Park before hitting my final destination, Tralee, this week. I figure I should get some hiking in before settling down and clear my mind. The ups and downs are still present, but I’m getting better at keeping the ups. I’ve just been doing what makes me happy, I had the urge to get a piercing today and a few hours later found myself with a needle through my nose. I showed up to this incredible tattoo shop/café/barbershop in the middle of Dublin and was good to go. This place was seriously one of the coolest places I’ve seen in Dublin. They were the definition of Swag. It’s worth it to just hop in and grab a coffee if you’re in the city. The Ink Factory, check it out, the staff was delightful.

I am going to put in an effort to keep my updates consistent from this point on. Thank you for reading this if you made it to this point. I appreciate people taking their time to hear about my life. I remember days that I would dream about fleeing and making it in another country. And I’m fucking doing it.

Sayonora!

 

Finalizing Your Visa Ireland.

After a slew of being misinformed about what the rest of my visa process will be like upon arrival here, I have finally obtained my GNIB card (Garda National Immigration Bureau). Booya! Basically, immigration at the airport told me that I would have to complete these steps in this order: Register for a PPS Number, Open a bank account and then I could register with the Garda and get my GNIB card. The GNIB card is the one that allows you to legally work in Ireland, the one I really needed and wanted. When I went to get a PPS number they said I couldn’t get one until I had a job. Well, that’s a little silly I thought. How can I get a job without being allowed to get a job and etc. etc. etc. Basically I found you couldn’t do one thing without the other and it was impossible to wrap my head around. I decided I would just go to the Immigration Bureau in Dublin and see if I could get my card. SUCCESS. The only slight issue I had at the immigration office was my place of residence. You NEED this. Thankfully, I was recently staying with family about an hour outside of Dublin and had a written letter from them saying that I was staying there. The officer said that I wasn’t allowed to have an address outside of Dublin, it must be in Dublin, but I think he felt a little bad for me and registered me anyways and told me to change it when I find a place here. I’m still in need of a PPS number and opening a bank account but from what I’ve gathered I can find a job and then finish those. I’m going to give a simplified list of how to go about it now! I did it on me own, no SWAP!

  1. Find a place of residence in Dublin. Perhaps a friends house that will put you up or write a letter of accommodation for you. I’ve heard if you stay at a hostel for a little while, they will write you a letter of accommodation. When registering for the GNIB or PPS this information is crucial. I screwed mine up but was lucky enough to have a kind officer.

  2. Register at the Garda National Immigration Bureau, go on either Monday or Tuesday morning. Apparently those are the only days that they register Working Holidays. This next part is incredibly important. Get. There. Early. I got to the office at 7:45am and it opened at 8:00am, the line up was already down the street, around the corner and halfway down that street. If you go early, 6:00am I would say, it will save you hours in the long run. I got in the office around 8:30 and was issued number 118 in the queue. And bring a book or something, rookie mistake on my end. I was finally called up around 2:45 and was dancing out GNIB card in hand at 4:45pm.

  3. If you are planning on staying and working in Dublin I’d recommend booking an appointment for your PPS number as quickly as possible. Sometimes the earliest appointment might not be for 2 or 3 weeks. Even if you book it and don’t find a job by then you can cancel it. If you find a job outside of Dublin it is relatively simple, no appointment booking necessary. Just find the region that your PPS office is located in and go there. “You will need photo ID (passport / national ID card), proof of address – or a bill in the owner’s name with a letter signed by the owner stating you live there too and a letter on letter headed paper and/or stamped with VAT number etc of the company you are working for stating you are employed and need the PPS number for such.” This information is from the PPS office that registered me. Boom. All of that is extremely important to have but once it’s done, it’s done. Then you can open a bank account and YOU ARE READY TO LIVE LIFE AND WORK IN IRELAND.

So, may happy days be had by all and great luck on the job hunt. I’ve been spending countless hours scrolling through the following job sites:

jobsireland.ie 

jobs.ie

indeed.ie

gumtree.ie

And I have had quite a bit of luck. January and February are tough months for finding a job but spring shows a lot of hope. There are tons of new jobs everyday.

I hope that this will help someone who is thinking about making the move from Canada to Ireland. I love Ireland, what a feckin’ amazing country. I hope that other people get the opportunity to come out here and experience what I’m experiencing.

“If you force yourself to go outside, something wonderful always happens”

There is a post that Humans of New York posted a while back that has always stuck with me. He photographs a 93 year old woman named Mary that conveys the simplest message but I feel is one of the most important messages. She says “if you force yourself to go outside, something wonderful always happens”.

Relocating once again has been difficult, I know it has only been 12 hours but I feel that repetitive feeling of “why am I doing this?” and “it would be easier if I just went home”. As I laid in bed binge watching a bit of Netflix, stressing over finding work and making Ireland a livable situation I felt so overwhelmed that I didn’t want to leave bed. My sweet pal Carrie reminded me to breath in and out and to go make something to eat. After making dinner, meeting a few guests, eating and having my cup of tea I felt a bit rejuvenated. I decided to go out for a cigarette, sue me.

While having my cigarette and tea in the calm streets of Lahinch an older gentleman walked by and we exchanged hellos and how are yous. His name was James and he was born and raised in Lahinch, which is a population of 600. He was out on his nightly stroll. Once again the friendliness of the Irish is proven. James owns a fishing/bicycle rental shop on the main strip here. He wanted to know why I came Ireland and more specifically Lahinch. He asked about my Irish background and provided me with confidence that I will find a job here. By the end of the short conversation we shook hands and formally introduced ourselves. That small encounter today that took place simply because I went outside (and yes maybe not for the best reason) made my day and reduced my negative feelings about relocating again.

Lahinch is exactly what I’ve been searching for. It is a small surf town squished between the cliffs and the Atlantic, there is a calmness here that I could pick up as soon as I stepped off the bus. I’m hoping that this will be my final relocation and that work will find me soon.

Anyways, I think we should all think a little bit more like Mary.

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Backpacking Beats

Music is one of the main components to an excellent travel day. Being able to set the mood to your adventure is fucking grand. Here are some of my go to songs.

(Sittin’ On) The Dock Of the Bay- Otis Redding
Dead Sea- The Lumineers
America- Simon and Garfunkel
Furr- Blitzen Trapper
Changes- David Bowie
El Condor Pasa (If I Could) – Simon and Garfunkel
Go Outside- Cults
The Pilgrim- Sam Roberts
Carry Me Home- Hey Rosetta!
Home- Edwarde Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeroes
Hopeless Wanderer- Mumford and Sons
Liars- The Otherside of Mt. Heart Attack
Man On Fire- Edwarde Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeroes
No Ceiling- Eddie Vedder
You Can’t Always Get What You Want- The Rolling Stones
She Lit a Fire- Lord Huron
Society- Eddie Vedder
Sprawl II- Arcade Fire
The Galway Girl- Steve Earle
Tallest Man On Earth- The Dreamer
The Long Way Around- The Dixie Chicks
Could Have Been Me- The Struts
The Wild Rover- The Dubliners
Proud Mary- Tina Turner
Vienna- Billy Joel
Wake Up- Arcade Fire
What a Wonderful World- Louis Armstrong
Wild World- Cat Stevens
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Living On The Edge

“Summer was a good day last year” –Man at the bar.

Galway has been a heck of a ride so far, I feel myself becoming very comfortable in the city. It’s a very bohemian place, a place for artists. When I was in Dublin I was eager to meet people who were also in Ireland on a Working Holiday and now that I’m in Galway, I see where they all have fled. It’s bittersweet, I have people I can finally relate to and people that are also unemployed that are going after the same jobs as me. You see my dilemma? All speculation aside, they are all wonderful people and I wish them all the luck in the world with finding work. I’ll save a little bit of luck for myself.

When I’m not frantically job searching I’ve been hanging out with my wonderful Canadian friends. We make amazing dinners every night which have included; stir fry, lasagna, meat and veggies and chili. That chili was scrumptious. Last week we found ourselves getting involved in what I’ve heard called an “Irish Lock In”. I first heard about a Lock In from an Irish lad in Banff and that’s when it clicked “I need to go to Ireland”. Basically an Irish Lock In is when the bar closes but you are still inside, drinking. You are locked in. So we found ourselves one a Monday night in the mood to go out for a pint or two, we were invited into a pub that was about to close by the bartender, he wanted some Canadian company. One thing led to another and the bar was closed, the blinds down, us hiding and drinking under the security cameras with the bartender and I was shitfaced. Our lock in lasted until 4:00am, if I had had one more drink I would have fallen off my rocker. An authentic Irish experience.

The next morning, which was a hazy morning, I pulled myself together and went to hand out some resumes around town. After about 3 stops Laura (my Canadian pal) and I decided to stop into The Jungle Café for a coffee fix. I am so glad we did. Friends told me that people in Galway will go out of their way to converse with you and you’ll make friends anywhere you go.  My friends were right and we ended up being joined by two 50ish year old Irish men. They were eager to tell us their travel stories, crack jokes and teach us about the Irish culture. We sat around for about a half an hour chain smoking, drinking coffee and chatting before they casually checked their watches and left in a jiff. I felt in that moment, I am in Ireland. Because, yes there may be beautiful landscapes and remarkable pubs but the people are really the national treasure of Ireland. It was so simple. I was glad to put my resume distributing on halt for that experience.

So I had discovered the social culture of Galway and what seems to be the West Coast, now it was time to see some natural beauty. Laura, Raph and I took a tour to go see the famous Cliffs of Moher. The cliff highest point is 214 metres and it spans over 8 kilometres. As our bus was driving up to the lookout we couldn’t see out of our windows from the fog, I was laughing. Of course we come all of this way just for the cliffs to be covered by fog, that’s Ireland. We got lucky though and when we parked he told us to go as quickly as we could because there was a break in the sky and my god, the cliffs are EPIC. The mixture of wind and mud was slightly terrifying, I felt like I could have been taken by the cliffs on that day. Alas, I just crouched and held onto the wall in terror when the winds felt too strong. It was breathtaking watching the cliffs appear and disappear in between the fog. I am kind of happy that we saw them in that weather opposed to a perfect , sunny day. It was eerie. My sister, Emily, messaged me saying that she loved my pictures of the cliffs and I was a little surprised because to me the picture wasn’t all that great. The picture did not do it justice; these cliffs are huge and leave you in awe. If you are in Ireland you must go, we spent two hours roaming around the pathway and there wasn’t a dull moment.

I was fortunate enough to take a bus journey out to the Connemara National Park yesterday for a job interview. I have lived in the Canadian Rockies and thought that nothing could ever compare to that beauty, I’ve kind of lowered my expectations of other places because I thought I had seen the best. The mountains here have a different beauty to them though; you can’t put the beauty of the Rockies and the Connemara on the same scale. My job interview was a 10 minute walk to the National Park gate and of course, I journeyed up for about a half an hour and was left smiling ear to ear with the view. It was the combination of the mountains and the sea; it was so calm and peaceful (even with the aggressive wind). And that was just the beginning of the trail. I need to know what it’s like 2 hours further. Unfortunately I forgot to bring my hiking shoes, common mistake when going to a job interview. My job interview went well and I should hear back in a week as to whether I’ll live in this serene little village of 200 people or not. At this moment in time, I have opportunities on the horizon and I know that things are going to start happening. Money will be made!

As for the job hunt, my ideal job is working in a hostel or guesthouse in order to learn more about that industry. One of my many ideas about my future includes opening my own hostel. I know what it’s like to travel and stay somewhere that isn’t home. I’ve learned the good and bad qualities of a hostel and have the ability to see it through the customer’s eyes. If I had my own hostel one day I would want to create a safe haven for travelers and make them feel at home. It’s important to provide opportunities for guests to meet one another and make it a social place. Anyways, I am getting ahead of myself. I have reached out to about 50 hostels across Ireland expressing my interest in working. Now I wait. If I can give any advice on applying to jobs it’d be just go for it. Send a simple email to the company you are interested in, the worst thing that will happen is they will say they’re not hiring. I’m excited to see where I end up at this point. I know it will be good.

As a small sign off I want to stress being safe while traveling. You make friends from far and wide and 99% of the time it is genuine but there is a chance you’ll meet a bad apple. Just avoid situations that you have a bad feeling about and always keep your belongings in check.

Sláinte!

Galway Girl

It’s funny when you are traveling without a set destination how quickly your plans will change. Staying in hostels you will never be friendless. I encourage people to get out of their comfort zone and just talk to the people around them. More often than not the other people in hostels are waiting to be your friend as well. Throughout the three weeks I’ve spent in Dublin I’ve only stumbled on a few Canadians until this past Wednesday. Some Canadian Gods were smiling down while 5 of us all happened to meet in the kitchen at Abrahams Hostel in Dublin the other night, which is a great hostel I highly recommend. Shockingly, all from different provinces. And ALAS! People that were doing Working Holidays in Ireland as well, for the same reason as me “why not Ireland?”. So after a little bit of chatting I found myself on a bus the following day to Galway with a fellow Canadian to look for work. It was a rough morning and bus journey thanks to the New Europe Pub Crawl from the night before. If you find yourself travelling in Europe and want to have fun, do this. It’s good craic. I love Canadians and am so happy to have found people on the same page as me.

Galway is wonderful. It is tiny, especially in comparison to Dublin. But, I must admit that it presents much more character in the small cobblestone streets than I saw in Dublin’s entirety. The buskers range from 8 year old boys to 80 year old men. The streets are colourful and full of life despite the damper, windier weather here. We walked into a bar around closing time last night and the big, intimidating looking bouncer hesitated about letting us in and said “I don’t have a watch on so just go in anyways”. I felt like it was my first proper Irish music bar. It was a quaint, bright little atmosphere and around 10 locals gathered around one of the bar tables and had a jam session. Accordions and bagpipes galore. I would love to settle here and if I get a job here that would be grand but I’m keeping my options open and will probably jump on the first opportunity I get. Being by the Atlantic Ocean and en route of the Wild Atlantic Way makes my heart happy. There is so much to explore and I can’t wait to see what the west of Ireland has to offer. Finding a job is feeling a tad stressful right now but I will make it work. In the meantime I am embracing my new found Canadian friendships and continuing to make new, interesting friends everyday. I am grateful, so grateful.

Oh and the fish and chips here are fresh.