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Living out of a Backpack: Things I've Learned and More Observations

Tuesday, July 9, 2013 @ 04:58 pm from Ireland Ireland
It's only been 2 weeks into my journey but I feel like I'm learning a lot about the art of traveling lightly.

Things I've Learned:
  • Bring a small flashlight or have a cellphone that can help light up dark hostel bedrooms. (Don't be the guy that turns the light on at 3am when everyone else is asleep)
  • If you go grocery shopping in Ireland, make sure you have your bags. It's something I've been doing in the States for years, but here you must bring your own bags or else you get charged 20 cents per plastic bag you need.
  • Make sure you have a pen close by. You always need to write something down or fill out paperwork when going through customs or crossing borders.
  • When you're walking around a city and find a tourist information booth or a map of sights in the city, take a photo of it so you can refer to it later. It makes searching out sights much easier.
  • The first Wednesday of every month in Ireland gets you free admission into all Heritage Ireland sights.
  • I haven't used my Platypus drink tube in conjunction with my day pack and water bottle. I had good intentions to use it but it's just not as practical as I thought.

In addition to the above things I've learned I also have some more observations.

Random Observations
  • Aero candy bars are pretty tasty (and I don't even eat candy hardly at all). I'm not sure if they're available in the States.
  • For some reason women of all ages here seem to think dying their hair an almost neon red looks good.
  • Not a single clock on any of the Bus Eireann buses has been even remotely correct.
  • All of the hostels I've stayed at so far use powdered instant coffee.
  • Bus Eireann lets you do amazing things on their website as far as finding schedules and booking tickets (you even save 5% if you book online). The downside is you still need to print the confirmation page and give it to the number. They have no clue how to handle looking at a phone screen to read the confirmation number and type it into their console.
  • In Ireland, so far buses have been cheaper forms of travel than trains

Observations so far

Tuesday, July 2, 2013 @ 09:44 am from Ireland Ireland
These are random things I've noticed in my 5 days in Dublin (in no particular order.)
  1. It seems like everyone smokes here. Definitely different than in the states.
  2. Dublin seems to be filled with tourists.
  3. native languages of people staying at my hostel: #1 - Spanish, #2 - German, #3 - French, #4 - English
  4. Seeing someone who's overweight is a rarity.
  5. So far I haven't come across any other long term travelers. Everyone is here in Dublin for a short time to party.
  6. Fresh fruit means apples, bananas or oranges. Finding anything else is either really rare or extremely expensive.
  7. Buying a bottle of beer is cheaper than a bottle of orange juice
Brecon Beacons National Park #europetrip2013
Hairy asses, Dingle peninsula... I'm sure there's a joke in there somewhere. #europetrip2013
I had gelato here last time I was in Rome. It was just as good this time. Over 150 flavors to choose from. #gelato #rome #europetrip2013
Cliffs of Moher #europetrip2013
Whisky tasting. I tried the highlands flight and Eric tried the Speyside flight. #europetrip2013
#pisa #europetrip2013
St Andrews Old Course. #europetrip2013
Checkpoint Charlie with a McDonalds in the background. #berlin #europetrip2013
Finally some sun after downpours all day. Millennium Stadium and River Taff. #cardiff #europetrip2013
Astrological clock in Pragues old square. #prague #europetrip2013

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Where I've been:

Good Evening… Planet Earth
All the countries I visited on this trip (in yellow).

What's this about?

Traveling is something I've loved doing for as long as I can remember. I've been lucky enough to travel out of the US a few times but never longer than 2 weeks at a time. I decided that I should go see the world and experience all it has to offer. I booked a one-way ticket to Dublin, Ireland to depart on June 26, 2013. After I get to Europe I'll let serendipity take hold and see where I end up. No schedules and no itinerary… just go with the flow. That's as close to a plan as I'm making.

Who am I?

My name's Brandon O'Brien and I'm a travelholic. Before this journey I've been to 11 countries and put over 17,500 miles on various motorcycle trips through the USA and Canada. I'm a self-employed web developer so I'm fortunate enough to be able to work anywhere there's an internet connection. That's what truly made this experience possible.

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