Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Ireland Trip Blog Series: #1 - A Dream Come True

Ladies' View Overlook
Did you know I went to Ireland this autumn? I've had so many questions about the trip, I thought a blog series might be the best way to "talk" about it. Today is my first post, and I plan to share something about the trip, and a photo or video each week until we all get tired of the topic. Fair enough?

Here we go!

Although I always hoped to visit Ireland, I honestly never expected to. Today's post is about how that dream came true.

On Easter weekend, some friends and I were texting, and one of the girls said she'd heard about a tour to Ireland. She wanted to go, and needed a roommate. All the other girls had conflicts with the dates, but I was nearly jumping out of my chair as I texted back.

Me! I can go! IF I can swing the cost...

Peat Fire!
After I returned from the trip, a woman said to me she'd love to visit Ireland, but couldn't--because she didn't have my money. Her statement took me by surprise, and I've shaken my head about it many times since. My money? 

I think there is a common misconception that all authors are millionaires. Oh boy, is that a misconception!

Although I have enough for my daily needs, and can tithe each month, although I'm blessed with the riches of relationships with friends and family, I'm not financially wealthy. I live a quiet life with few frills. If you're a numbers person, you can tally in your head how much I save each year by living this way:
St. Patrick's Cathedral
  • My vehicle is over ten years old, and I bought it used.
  • I live and work in a studio apartment.
  • I don't have cable or satellite TV. (I do have internet for my computer - almost a requirement for my work.)
  • I seldom go to a movie theater or see live professional productions. I see movies when they're available on disc, and maybe get to a play in Louisville once a year, which makes it a very big deal.
  • I pay for a restaurant meal only once or twice a week, and generally drink ice water (free).
  • Although I have a closet full of clothes, many of them are several years old.
  • Because I live in an apartment, my appliances are furnished. My washer and dryer are second-hand.
  • In January 2015, I made my own window insulation panels. The project cost less than $50 and has saved me hundreds of dollars so far on heating and cooling.
  • I have an aversion to shopping, and don't care about name brands, or having the newest, coolest, shiniest anything. 
Guinness
I'll spare you more examples, but my point is that I was able to afford the trip because I don't spend money on these other things. Being able to go to Ireland and do other travelling (it's been a busy year--New York City in July, and San Francisco in August) is worth it to me, and I enjoy the challenge of stretching my money.

Even though ours was a ten-day tour, I wanted to travel with just my 14-inch rolling suitcase and a big tote-size bag. I spent loads of time looking at specialty clothes for fans of travelling light. But instead of dropping money on "travel" clothes, I ended up wearing (and hand-washing in the hotel room, to wear again) comfortable clothes I already owned.

My Luggage for 10 Days
I took a pair of shoes I've had for years, but also bought a pair of cute and comfy ballet flats. I also invested in a set of compression packing cubes, but only needed them on the way home when there were a few extra items to fit into my carry-on. Before I left on the trip, a friend gave me a DK Eyewitness Travel Guide, something I'll likely treasure forever. (I fell in love with Dorling-Kindersley books when my son was young. I adore the pictures!) It was nifty to have the book along, even though we were on a tour and didn't have many decisions to make. A few of our fellow travelers enjoyed looking at it, too.

I had to get a passport for the first time ever, but you can see I didn't spend lots of money on travel prep.

Each decision we make about spending time and money affects other facets of our lives. I have a minimalist life, and save money toward memories instead of stuff. That's just me, and I'm not saying it's the only way to go.

Beef Stew
For some reason I needed to let you know all that before launching into the actual trip. I hope you enjoyed the photos, and that they'll whet your appetite for more. (Pun intended, re: stew and Guinness.)

My plan for this series is to cover the following topics, not necessarily in this order:

The Sea ~ The Burren ~ Villages ~ Castles  ~ Pubs ~ Hotels ~ Manor Houses ~ Fellow Travelers ~ Flights and Traveling Light ~ Tour Guides ~ Scenery ~ Dublin ~ Weather  ~ Home Design  ~  Sheep  ~ Food and Drink  ~ Environmental Friendliness.

I hope to see you here next Tuesday when we get into more about the wonderful trip to Ireland. And please visit my new feature here on Fridays, in which I introduce some of my sweet romance-writing friends.

In the meantime, Happy Reading!

Magdalena





10 comments:

  1. Very interesting. And a lesson for all of us!

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    1. I'm glad you found it interesting, Jan. Thanks for stopping by the blog today!

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  2. This is so true! My husband is a teacher and the money I make writing (what little there is at this stage in my writing career) is all extra. We live thriftily so that his salary covers our needs. It can be tight, but it is absolutely doable and worth it! Can't wait to see more about your adventures!

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    1. Jessica - How wonderful that you and your husband can both do work you love and be happy with "enough." So many messages come at us every day, telling us we need more stuff. :) Thank you for reading the first post in my Ireland series!

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  3. Like you, I prioritize travel over house, cars, jewelry, clothes...and feel aggravated when people say "you're so LUCKY", as though the money fairy had descended upon me.

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    1. There's usually been lots of work and tough decisions when people perceive that someone has great "luck." Reminds me of the "overnight sensation" whose career was 20 years in the making.

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  4. Recently hubby and I sold our home due to upkeep and financial strain on a fixed budget. We've been downsizing our "stuff" ever since. I love the challenge of seeing what we can do without and still enjoy living and doing what pleases us. Congrats on your traveling!

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    1. Janice, it sounds like you and your hubby have a story many people could learn from. Thank you for visiting the blog today!

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  5. Recently hubby and I sold our home due to upkeep and financial strain on a fixed budget. We've been downsizing our "stuff" ever since. I love the challenge of seeing what we can do without and still enjoy living and doing what pleases us. Congrats on your traveling!

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  6. Planning A Trip To Ireland

    Is it possible to travel all around Ireland starting in early June without making hotel reservations? Ya know....just winging it. We did that in Europe in the early 90s, and it was fine but we're not sure now. Thanks for any information you may provide.

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