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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

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.


By Country

By Date

daily journal (174), spain (42), england (39), italy (17), ireland (16), brighton (16), barcelona (15), wales (15), newquay (12), seville (10), cardiff (9), morocco (8), france (8), paris (8), tangier (8), valencia (7), belgium (7), cordoba (7), scotland (6), naples (6), madrid (5), berlin (5), dublin (5), amsterdam (5), netherlands (5), germany (5), bruges (4), llandudno (4), lucca (4), cinque terre (4), edinburgh (4), bristol (4), kilkenny (4), brussels (3), dingle (3), galway (3), florence (3), riomaggiore (3), vienna (3), austria (3), york (3), birmingham (3), czech republic (3), prague (3), preparation (3), post trip (2), brecon beacons (2), snowdonia (2), llanberis (2), observations (2), doolin (2), gent (1), loch ness (1), bath (1), stats (1), USA (1), howth (1), malahide (1), ronda (1), bennettsbridge (1), blasket islands (1), tips (1), limerick (1), rome (1), inverness (1), london (1), herculaneum (1), pompeii (1), nairn (1), pisa (1), glenfiddich (1), glenlivet (1), highlands (1), st andrews (1), conwy (1), banksy (1), penarth (1), favorites (1)