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Goodbye New Jersey. Hello World! A record of my journey as I give up my job, my possessions, and life as I know it to go off and see the world!

My Paddywaggon Ireland Tour Experience

IRELAND | Friday, 16 July 2010 | Views [1982] | Comments [1]

Today is the last day of my Paddywaggon 10-day tour of Ireland. I am sitting on the bus, driving back to Dublin and looking at all the sleepy travelers on the bus. The green Irish countryside rolls by in the background. I’ve seen and done so much in the last 10 days, I don‘t even know where to start. I have seen amazing countryside, quaint villages and awing graveyards. I’ve had amazing fun in the pubs and clubs at night. The 10 days have gone by in a flash that’s for sure. I’m really glad that I did this tour as you should know that I am a tour junkie.

Why do I love tours? Well, there are many people that don’t like them because they are fast paced and you don’t get much time to appreciate the local life. I do a tour for the fun experiences that come with it. The short but intense relationships as you bond with your fellow travelers. I look at my travel companions and laugh about all the funny memories that we have shred together on this tour, on this bus, in this great country.

We all started off on our own journey - and we will finish alone as well. But our group, composed of people from the States, Canada, Australia, Vienna, Holland, Brazil, South Africa, and South Korea have this period in our lives that we can look back fondly upon for years to come.

Oh, to list all of our fun memories.

We had to push our broken-down tour bus…..twice. Picture all 28 of us pushing the back of the bus in a random Ireland parking lot as the locals look by and laugh. At one point on the trip the trunk burst open and bags fell out onto the road….and we didn’t even know. A nice Irish couple collected our bags and drove them up to us. We picked up random hitchhikers along the way that actually turned out to be some of the coolest people that I have ever met. We dealt with some interesting personalities on our trip, such as the little Brazilian woman who asked me one day what it meant to “hook up” and talked often of the “love of her life” living somewhere in the U.K. In fact, she talked often….about everything! And was constantly filing and taking pictures. There was the young, sweet 18 year old Canadian girl who was in search of love and had no problem finding it. There was the poor girl from Australia who accidentally ate a bandaid out of another girl’s cereal box (it took her a few days to live that one down). There was another gal from Australia whom I immediately bonded with after taking a freezing cold shower in the same room with her in Belfast…..only to find that the hostel manager had not turned on the water heater at that time. Nothing brings you closer to someone than screaming in the shower together! There were our two drivers that had to put up with our crazy shennanegans. There was the poor Aussie boy who got in a play fight with the Dutch guy our last night in Cork and managed to rip his $200 jeans. The Dutch boy, by the way, was saying “yippee kay yay mother f-er” the whole night like he was Bruce Willis’s son. And really I could just go on and on.

The most fun night I had was our first night in Kilarney. First off, we got to watch the final world cup game in a pub. While the game was not that exciting it was still fun to all be together, especially since there was someone from Holland with us. Afterwards we went to this other great place that was selling 3 drinks for 10 Euros. Obviously you know that this kind of situation can lead to trouble when you’ve got young travelers. The music was good, the dancing was excellent, and it led to us all in the hostel foyer at 3:30 in the morning begging one of the workers for bread as no stores were open to buy food from at this time of night. Imagine all us young kids, like a twisted scene out of Oliver asking “please sir, can I have some more bread?”

I could tell you about the sites I saw: the beautiful towns, the mountain I hiked up, the gorgeous land at Giant’s Causeway, but I feel like the pictures will do enough explaining. When it comes down to it, it’s the experiences that I will remember the most. Because budget travelers are the best people to form bonds with. We laugh together over the constant, horrible showers that we had to deal with, especially in Northern Ireland. The temperature was either scalding or freezing, the pressure really wasn’t that great, and water often got everywhere. I could also get started on the toilets that didn’t flush, or the lock that literally fell off the door frame when we entered the one hostel room. These things probably sound horrible to you - but it was all part of the experience. Because to me, traveling isn’t about living the posh life style in some high end bed and breakfast. It’s about seeing how much I can rough it. And let me tell you, this bond between us would not have formed if we weren’t all in it together.

And the tour was just filled with such good people. Everyone was so nice and I hope to visit some of them again when I get to Australia in a few months. I even had this lovely girl traveling with her boyfriend and brother invite me to Christma with her family because she knew that I was going to be by myself in Australia. Now that’s good people. We opened our hearts to each other. We made fun of each other, like the time I literally fell three times while going down a slippery hill on the way to the coast. Or the one woman who tried to hook up with our driver that night in Kilarney while she was ridiculously intoxicated. Or our South African friend who would order something at a restaurant, see our food come out and then go change her order. I seriously saw her do this about 3 times. We looked out for each other in Galway when we literally were in the snake pit surrounded by the shadiest Irish men that were after only one thing.

So many memories to reflect upon, and I know that I am forgetting so much. A tour is like your family for a bit, and then you part ways. Today will be sad when we all get off that bus one last time. We will hug, maybe some of us will cry, but the nice thing is that we have the internet to keep in touch if we want to. If anything, this tour has gotten me more excited about Australia because I have just made even more friends and received more advice on what to do and how to see it. And I am also leaving the tour inspired to perhaps look into teaching at international schools, as one girl is currently teaching in Dubai through that.

I am so glad that I booked this tour, even with all of its crazy shenanigans. Every day was great Craic, as the Irish say. I’m ready to move on to Scotland, but I leave Ireland with such a sense of happiness. I hope that my tour friends have enjoyed my company as much as I have enjoyed theirs.

Tags: independent travel, ireland, paddywaggon tour

Comments

1

Seems like you have a fabulous time in Ireland! I am glad you find your way in the backpackers world! One of the best one there is. You've been extremely lucky by the way with the European weather you know. So much sun .. I'll do my best to make sure it continuous hihi!
Chantal

  Chantal Jul 17, 2010 12:08 AM

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