So, they say that travelling is the best medicine and that travelling solo is one of the best things you can do for yourself. I certainly agree with the sentiment that travelling is one of the best things I've ever done but whether I'd rather be doing all of this travelling with someone is up for discussion. I miss the companionship of some of my besties back home or my family perhaps. I love the idea of strolling through the city streets with someone else who is also experiencing everything for the first time as well. There's something special about sharing those experiences with someone you know?
Now don't get me wrong, I also love being able to do everything I want to do in my own time frame. It's so freeing to go to a place alone and wander the streets taking photographs and going to the places that I want to go but there are times where I just wish I had someone I loved to chat with you know? I usually meet people in these hostels and have some great convos but in between everything, it's kind of lonely. Is that strange? You know, I honestly couldn't tell you if I was more of an introvert or an extrovert because I honestly feel so much of both especially in times like this.
Anyways, Hamburg was super great! I got to meet up with a friend I met back in Dublin and we went for drinks and I had a fabulous time. My experience with the hostel was less than great however, it smelled constantly in my room, looked dilapidated, and the receptionists were mostly kind of impersonal. The hostel experience wasn't enough to ruin my trip of course, I got to do so much fun stuff. Toured the chocolate factory and whipped up a beautiful (looking) chocolate bar that left a bit to be desired in terms of flavour, visited the naughty district and saw some seriously beautiful architecture. Hamburg was definitely one of the prettiest cities I've ever seen.
Next up, I've got Glasgow, Scotland in March. I've done my research about the places I want to see with one being the Scottish Highlands because they are just so astronomically beautiful in photographs. I'm really looking forward to this trip :) Anyways, that's all for today's reflections lol
Holy shit guys, I'm so exhausted. As I type this post, I've officially been up for over 24 hours. I went straight home from work where I took a shower, ate some food, and then basically headed to the airport. I have a strong feeling today is going to be a write off because it's only 6 and I can barely keep my eyes open lol
I found my hostel easily enough and it appears that the area I'm staying in is literally surrounded by sex. There's basically porn everywhere you look and I was propositioned twice until they realized I liked men lol It's going to be an interesting stay here in Hamburg to say the least. My hostel is fine, it's kind of grungy but I mean, I paid 35 euros for three nights so I wasn't expecting a palace. I'm definitely still trying to get used to this hostel culture though because I must admit, I wanted to go with a hotel but I was turned off by the higher costs in Hamburg. I was still tempted though because I live in a hostel so going away on a trip to stay in a hostel isn't necessarily something I'm dying to do but one cannot deny the savings.
My plan here is just to hit a few museums, take a lot of pictures, eat some good food, and meet up with a friend whom I met living at the hostel who has since moved back to Germany. I have to try and be cost efficient which is not really one of my strong suits so I'll definitely be trying to stop myself from spending every minute of the day lol
I have to say, this whole living abroad experience really has been crazy you know? You get to live and learn about a new place, have access to Europe with cheap flights available constantly, and meet new people every day which in my case has always been difficult but it's really forced me to step outside of my anxiety a little bit and just roll with things. I honestly never saw myself staying in a hostel two or three years ago like, this was so outside of my comfort zone and here I am now. I'm really grateful for everything this experience has given me and I'm totally looking forward to what the remaining half will bring!
Cheers for now!
So I kind of came to the realization that I'm already half way through my trip here in Dublin and I'm kind of conflicted on how I feel about that. Obviously I'm looking forward to getting back to my fam and friends back home but I've also had the pleasure of meeting some wicked people here too and it will definitely be sad to leave them all because I know I won't be able to make it back to Europe for quite some time because of the expense. Knowing this, I am determined to make these last 6 / 7 months as exceptional as possible and I intend to cram as many trips as possible into this time frame.
I'm headed to Hamburg Germany next week and I'm hoping to be able to visit Berlin as well on one of the days because a trip to Germany without visiting Berlin seems incomplete to me. What I'm most excited about is to be able to actually speak some of the German I've been slowly learning over the past year and a half because I'm not able to use it on a regular basis. It'll be super fun to order a coffee or food at a restaurant and attempting to speak solely in German. I'm sure I'll be stuttering my way through my sentences but hey, that's the fun of learning right?
Aside from Hamburg, I'm headed to Scotland in March and I'm going to be visiting the Scottish Highlands which I'm extremely excited about. The beauty of the Highlands is undeniable and I can't wait to be surrounded by mountains and beautiful scenery plus, maybe I'll spot Nessie ;)
I'm going to try to visit several other countries in this short time I have left as well. I really want to go to Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Austria, Italy, and Spain since my last trip to Spain kind of fell through. I'm really going to have to focus and refrain from spending on basically anything so I can funnel all of my money into these trips because to be honest, I make just enough to pay my bills and eat so it's quite a challenge. There's this illusion of being to travel all across Europe that came with this experience but the reality is that you also have to survive here so it's not as easy just to drop everything and travel as I would have liked.
This experience has been fun and such a learning experience and I'm excited for what the last half of the trip brings me!
So it's official, I'm obsessed with cats. I think I always have been, but since starting at the DSPCA and not having owned a pet in a few years, the obsession has become apparent. Today was such a magical day, I spent the afternoon showering the shelter cats with love in between cleaning pods or doing other cleaning tasks. I made it my personal goal to get some of the shyer cats to fall in love with me by the end of the day and I succeeded for the most part. There was one little kitten that was especially immune to my lovins, but the other ones fell under my spell and frankly, me under theirs as well.
I am almost certain when I move back home I will have to avoid doing volunteering with animal shelters because I know I'll be sucked in to adopting hundreds of animals. I literally found myself wanting to give them kisses but I wasn't sure what the policies were on that so I stuck to repeated scratchies and cuddling. People say that cats aren't as loving as dogs but honestly, spend an afternoon with shelter cats and you'll see them in a new light. They are so appreciative of human contact and stare longingly out of their pods attempting to lure you in for the cuddles they desire. Even those who had recently had surgeries and had every reason to be miserable were so sweet and loving. I just love them :D
I did however notice today that I am in a position to burn out which kind of scares me. Ask anyone I know back home and they'll tell you I'm a bit of a busy body. I like to be doing things all the time which usually puts me in the position where something else that's important suffers. Usually it's my relationships that suffer as I put so much into working that I barely make time for friends and while here in Dublin, it seems that I'm guilty of doing the exact same thing. I work 5 nights a week at my job, I work the other two nights at the hostel I live at, and volunteer as well. Essentially, I have absolutely no time to do anything that I should be here doing.
I'm afraid that by the time I go back to Canada, I will have seen nothing in Ireland except for Dublin. I'll have my trips across Europe of course which are the lights at the end of the tunnel in this case. 4 days off to sight see, be alone, and just do what I want to do, but in between those trips, I'm burning the candle from both ends so to speak. I am aware this is happening and yet I continue to power through it instead of scaling back. Why the fuck do I do this?
I'm honestly hoping that this knowledge of burning myself out will at some point inspire me to slow the frick down but I feel like it will be the actual burnout that does it to me. I'll be heading back to Canada with absolutely no Ireland experience and no pets either lol bummer.
Yesterday was probably the longest day of my life but because it was my first shift at the DSPCA, it was all worth it. Let me tell you guys, I couldn't think of anything more valuable to do with my lack of spare time than what I had the pleasure of doing yesterday.
When I arrived, that typical nervous feeling hit because I didn't really know what I was up against but that quickly dissipated when I made my way into the cattery department of the DSPCA. Arriving for the afternoon shift, I met with a couple of volunteers who gave me a quick rundown of what happens on the different shifts and what I can expect to be doing. The day shift is responsible for cleaning out all of the cat pods thoroughly and setting them back up with food, water, litter, and toys. The afternoon shift you ask? Cat companion.
You heard that right guys, my job was literally to open the cages, get to know the cats, and pet / love them. Our goal is to give the cats affection and continue their progress with human interaction. Quite literally, petting, playing, cuddling, and loving cats. I was immediately elated because guys, this is something I am extremely good at. I made my way through the cattery taking note of the different cats / kittens available and trying to get a feel for their personalities just by looking at them which was super easy for me. Cats are funny to me because I've always had a good connection with them, even the ones that people say are super shy or testy, not with me they're not lol
So my first task was meeting the cattery's only kitten as the kittens typically adopt quickly. I ripped that beautiful kitten out of its pod and cradled it right away. As my heart melted, I couldn't help but notice that a lot of the cats had the, "I found a home" sign meaning they were already adopted, which was a wonderful feeling. I was especially happy because there was this grumpy looking beautiful boy that had a touch of the cat flu and was between 8 and 10 years old which unfortunately, works against his odds of being adopted, and I saw the sign on his pod too. It always warms my heart to see even the hardest sells for adoption en route to a new home. He was my favourite to cuddle, he seemed so appreciative of human interaction despite his illness and grumpy appearance.
Ultimately, this was one of the best days I could've asked for. I had to do a little cleaning, a few litters, a pod or two to tear down in preparation for a new arrival, but for the most part I cuddled cats. Can you imagine anything better than this?
I am going to work up the courage to move to the dog department. I wouldn't say I was as scared of dogs as I was years ago especially after my sister and her gigantic, terrifying (on first impression) dog moved in with us. I was so scared of him until I got to meet him and realized he was a gigantic sucky baby who loved belly rubs and kisses which I smothered him with regularly. My only hesitation is my lack of experience as our tasks include walking the dogs and I have very little experience with that. My fear is that one of the larger ones will pull away from me but I have to stop letting anxiety interfere with my goal of helping animals. I'm determined to do this but for now, I'll continue smothering cats with lovins ;)
Oh guys, this has been a rough couple of days. I decided to go out Saturday night and things got extremely messy to the point of embarrassment. I have always had a hard time telling myself when to stop and unfortunately I allowed myself to get to the point of intoxication which resulted in some cuts, a bump on my head, and losing my phone. Worst part is, I woke up with a horrible fever followed by nonstop vomiting and I was unable to make it to the airport for my flight to Valencia.
In all honesty, I think I'm more upset over losing my phone. I mean, I have lots more trips coming up so losing out on Spain was brutal but I know there's more to come. I also probably couldn't have gone anyways because without a phone I had no google maps and no way to take pics which would have really put a damper on things. I'll admit, I spent a large portion of yesterday feeling incredibly down about missing my trip mixed with embarrassment over my actions the previous night. I really need to learn how to take things easy when I go out for my sake and everyone else's too!
I'll now be spending the next 4 days wishing I was in Spain with a phone I pretty much hate but didn't want to spend a lot of money. Ugh, life is crazy isn't it? On the plus side, I start my volunteering job at the DSPCA this Thursday and I can't wait to go and spend some time with the cats. Animals are a big part of my life and I've been missing having an animal around for companionship since my cat died years ago. She was my angel and I had her for 19 years despite the last couple not being so great. She was such a big part of my life but it also makes me realize I'm definitely ready to start being around animals more often. I think it will be even better because I'll be around them to help them which I just know will be a rewarding experience.
Have you guys ever had one of those nights where you wake up the next day disappointed in yourself? They sure do suck but it's important to use it as a learning experience for sure and make sure that this sort of thing doesn't happen again. :)
I've officially been in Dublin now for 4 months and I find myself both excited at how much time I have left and excited to go back home. 4 months is a long time to be without your family and friends and despite having met some pretty wicked people here, I'm looking forward to seeing everyone again. There's also a lot of other things I'm looking forward to getting back to like my recipes most of all. I miss being creative in the kitchen and I know I have so much more to accomplish before I decide to go fully vegan but that is most certainly inevitable. Buying free range eggs doesn't make up for the atrocities committed in the dairy / egg industry but I still have much to accomplish before I switch over.
What have I learned so far of Dublin? I've learned that it is quite a lively city in that the pubs are often busy regardless of the day of the week. I've learned that the city cares about cleanliness but that the people here don't seem to share the same sentiment. The city is out every morning power washing the sidewalks and collecting trash and by nightfall, it looks like nothing has been done. I've learned that there are so many different cultures here that it's much like my city of Windsor in that it is a melting pot of traditions and cultures. I've learned that just as many people you see on the street that are locals, there are that many more that are tourists.
I've learned that there is always somewhere to eat that is open which is a welcome difference from Windsor. With the exception of greasy Chinese food, most places close by the time that late night onset of munchies hits back home but here, there's always something available at any time. It's wonderful! I've learned that the people here are fed up at the rental crisis and have witnessed some pretty large demonstrations and protests calling for more affordable rentals. I've also learned that I don't think I could live here on the type of jobs I enjoy unless I committed to forever living with people when at this point, I crave my own space.
Personally, I've learned that I can totally see myself travelling throughout my life, alone or with a special someone :P I really love seeing new places and being excited about trips and such. There's something so exhilarating about being in a new place surrounded by so much new to discover, something that I think I'll probably crave the rest of my life. And most of all, I've learned just how much I love my friends and family. I already pretty much knew this but for the future, I want to live close enough that I can visit on a whim and not worry constantly that I'm missing out on their existence.
So there's tat! Here's to another 8 months of new experiences <3
Oh my goodness guys, I'm basically dying. This is the second horrible cold / virus I've had since I arrived in Ireland. What's curious to me is that I went several years back home without even so much as a cold to now where I appear to get sick at the blink of an eye. I know it is likely attributed to my living and working situation being different. I live with like, 12 people consistently and there are constantly people coming and going, all of which could have cold coodies. Secondly, my job at the hostel has me interacting with hundreds of different people every day so I'm definitely coming into contact with so many more people now than ever.
Another factor that I'm almost certain is to blame is my diet since coming here. I mean, back home I was drinking smoothies every day, cooking lots of fresh and delicious food, eating vegan more often, and overall lead a healthier lifestyle. Since I've been here, I've tried to eat as healthy as possible but I've found myself snacking on cookies and chocolates at work which I rarely did before. I've also noticed my eating isn't as consistent. Sometimes I eat at work and nothing prior or after which is leaving me lacking in the vitamin and mineral department. I can almost entirely blame my repeated sickness on my poor diet since being here.
You know, it's much harder to keep up with any kind of routine here because nothing here is my own space. Sure, there's a kitchen but I have one cupboard for dry food and one shelf in one of the fridges for food. I'm limited in what I can have at all times and also, I don't have my blender or goodies that I'm adding to my smoothies every day. Things like chia seeds, flax, baobab and acai powders etc., these were all pumping additional nutrients and antioxidants into my system every day and I'm not getting that anymore.
There is one thing that I'm proud of since arriving here, I've completely cut out pop altogether. I haven't had any form of pop in like, 4 months. I don't feel any differently because of it or anything but it's a feeling of reassurance because I know that pop is literally liquid poison and I was enjoying it periodically back home.
Days like today as I sit here typing this, I miss being home. I miss working at the vegan restaurant and eating a lot cleaner. I miss being at home and constantly cooking scratch made, delicious food. I miss drinking my smoothies every day and actually feeling like my body was in tip top shape. Don't get me wrong, I'm enjoying my time here of course but being sick hit me like a ton of bricks and I definitely crave my old life today lol
I can't believe the new year is upon us already, feels like 2018 just started. This year has been quite the year for me if I must say so myself. I went to Ireland last September, spent all of my money, and fled home 2 weeks later with my tail between my legs only to return just one year later with a better plan and more ambition. Since I've been here, I've visited England, navigated Dublin, found a job, met some cool people, and now will be ringing in the New year with one of my fav people here in Dublin at The George, my fav gay club here.
What do I see for myself in 2019? For starters, I've got plenty of travelling to do around Europe starting with Valencia Spain the second week of January. My main goal for this year is to see as much of Europe as possible while the opportunity presents itself because once I head back to Canada, I won't be doing any travelling for a while. I've got lots of places I want to see, specifically the Nordic countries when the weather gets warmer. I've already got trips to Hamburg Germany and Glasgow Scotland booked and set to go. I really can't wait to actually start seeing some of the beautiful place sin Europe I never thought I'd actually see.
Resolutions, those funny and usually unachievable goals we set for ourselves every start of the year. Do you guys make them? I usually try to set minimal goals for myself but this year I have just one major one, to enjoy this experience to its full extent. As I mentioned, I won't get this opportunity again so I have to make the best of it and enjoy every last minute. I really want to take it all in and just let things be as they are. I know there's going to be lots to see and I couldn't be any more excited.
Secondly, I think I want to try and just let things be this year. I tend to be a bit of a worrier as I've mentioned a million times in the past so I'm really going to focus on just letting things roll this year. Going with the flow is something I've rarely been able to do but this experience has kind of forced me into that mentality because there's no way to plan or guess what is going to happen because I really haven't a clue. Although it's totally out of my element, sometimes that's a good thing right? Maybe learning to just go with the flow is a lesson I'll learn in 2019 and going forward will be able to take more risks without overthinking.
When I get back to Canada, my plan is simple. I want to enjoy my family and friends and refocus on my blog. I miss being in the kitchen working on new recipes and ideas so I know I want to head in that direction. By the time I get back, I want to have published my ebook which I should be able to get finished by next month. I want to work on an actual cookbook that I get a physical copy of which will require lots of recipe writing and testing and an actual theme, and I want to look into opening my animal sanctuary. The sanctuary is my end goal here so I want to begin learning what it takes, what kind of money is involved, and where to start.
Here's to 2019 guys and gals, I hope it's all of our best year yet!
You know, I thought today was going to be a lot more brutal than it actually was. I mean, being away from my family and stuff was kind of difficult and I had my moments where I started to think about my mother and miss her a bunch but you know, I think things could be worse. It's important to count your blessings at this time of year especially when you consider how many people are suffering or have nothing.
As I walked home this morning from work, there was absolutely nothing open which meant all of the places the homeless could hang out to keep warm were closed. There were so many people in their sleeping bags scattered around the city trying to keep warm and I think this is what kind of brought me back down to earth you know? There are so many people out there in the world that are suffering and here I am feeling sorry for myself that I'm alone. It's a stark reminder that we should always be grateful for whatever we have, regardless of how much or little anyone else has. I'm in a new country, I'm taking some exciting trips in the coming months, and I've met some super cool people here, what should I feel sorry about?
I received videos from all of my family back home wishing me a merry Christmas and it truly warmed my heart. It was so great to see all of their smiling faces and feel their love from afar. No matter where I am in the world, family will always be super important to me but I've come to realize in the past few months that I have to learn to let things be. I've been forcing myself on my family to try and fix things here or tweak things there and I've finally realized that I can't do that anymore. I love all of my family so much but it's up to them to create the type of life and relationships they want to create without me interjecting myself.
As I said, leading up to today I thought I was going to feel rough but I think I finally feel content. I've settled in here, I have a family that loves me and I love them back, and I've got several more months of memories to create here in Dublin and I can't wait for it :)
Merry Christmas everyone and much love <3