Monday evening arrival in Cork:
I have arrived at my first hostel and I think what I didn’t want to happen has happened, but it being my first day / evening / night alone, it is not all bad. I found my hostel quickly, as it was literally just a few minutes from where my bus dropped me. I checked in with reception, got my key, only to open the door to an empty room. The lady at reception assured me my room would be full, and it is a female-only dorm, but I can’t help but wonder when whoever else is coming might be arriving. So for now, I am just sitting here at a little desk in front of a mirror, typing away on my iPad.
Anyone who knows me knows that my social abilities are almost aggressively bad, and that I am mostly too introverted for my own good. I enjoy being alone, though I don’t necessarily want to be right now. So it’s not exactly easy to “get out there” at barely 5:00 on a Monday night, especially when it’s raining and I have only just arrived. There is a bar downstairs, though, and I think that will be a good way for me to interact with others, even if I am just sitting there with a beer and waiting for someone to talk to the girl with a horrible case of resting bitch face. I’m sorry, I can’t help that I look so mean, it’s really just my face, even if I am kind of an asshole.
In this moment, I am also really glad that I have locks that fit my backpack as well as a cable lock. The lockers at this place don’t fit my lock, and though someone could easily just cut the cable, it is at least locked, as are the main two compartments on my backpack. Logistics, logistics, blah blah blah.
That night, I met up with a guy from tinder who was actually an Italian living in Ireland. I really just wanted someone to show me around who knew the area because I was there for such a limited amount of time. And that’s exactly what I got. The first pub we went to is where I first tried the Cork version of Guinness called Beamish, I think. He ended up showing me the oldest pub in the city and it was warm and cozy in comparison to the cold, rainy night in Cork.
The next day I woke up at an early hour, took a shower, and headed down to breakfast with the girl in my hostel room who I had met the evening before I went out. She is from Germany and has been working on farms in Ireland since March. Pretty badass if you ask me. It made me think about the other ways I could do this kind of trip one day. After breakfast, she was off to do her own thing and I was off to Kinsale for the day. It was a pretty town that I had heard a lot of good things about. I ended up meeting a girl on the bus who I recognized from the hostel, and she and two other girls were headed to Kinsale to explore as well. We ended up exploring the town together, starting our afternoon at supposedly the most recognized restaurant in Ireland called “Fishy Fishy.” I splurged on a salmon dish in a chili sauce over basmati rice and tempura onion and it was easily the best salmon I have ever had.
We made our way to Charles Fort, about a 30 minute walk from where we were, and the views were absolutely worth the walk. It was a stunning fort, with buttercups lining the tops of the walls. I really couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful way to spend the day, and I was so happy to have met other people to spend the day with.
Two of the girls I met were from the states, one from Washington and another from Jersey, while the other was from Canada. They were all there for different reasons. One planned to move to Ireland but after the time she had spent there decided against it, another was just on a 9 day journey to explore, and another planned to visit the UK after Ireland. I think no matter what the reason, being able to travel at any age is so important, and it is so cool how many people are just deciding to up and leave to explore a different place. No matter what, getting out there is more than some people can do.
It’s interesting to see how many solo female travelers there are, and not only that, what they’re actually doing with their travels. I thought more people would be like me, where they were exploring all over Europe, but in Ireland, many people are just staying in Ireland. I can understand why, especially as a person traveling alone, because Ireland is English speaking and relatively safe.
I consider myself lucky to be so content in my solitude, to enjoy it, to crave it. I don’t think many people are comfortable being completely alone at times, or have trouble seeing beyond what they miss and can’t look forward to the life ahead. I am lucky to have overcome what I have, to have learned from my own mistakes the first times, and to have learned from the mistakes that others have made in their lives. In all aspects of life, I know what I want, and I know that I will get what I want, but I’m not naive enough to believe that there won’t be struggle, hardship, and serious bumps in the road. Success comes in many forms but you don’t have success without an open mind and hard work. When life throws you a curve ball, use everything in your power to catch it, and if you don’t, then just move on.
The biggest reason why I know I will be ok throughout this journey, and really in everything that I do, is because I know that no matter how bad things might get, they will get better. A missed bus, a canceled flight, a fuck up with the hostel accommodation, no matter what happens, everything will be okay, everything will sort itself out. Worry is a waste of imagination.
I found this quote on my Facebook memories just today, from 4 years ago: “Whatever you desire is already connected in some way to who you are and what you now have. Find that way, follow that connection.”
4 years ago, this trip was only a distant, wishful dream… and now here I am. On a bus in Ireland. Babbling.