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On Being A Good Travel Companion

Updated: Nov 15, 2020

There was no particular reason that my goal to write a travel blog needed to be daily, but that was what I set out to do, at least on this European portion of our journey. The goal might have been a bit over-ambitious.

In a discussion with one of our former Airbnb hosts, when he found out I was blogging, he asked me a question about how much time I spent on each post. I laughed and said "Too much. It is a lot of work." He said it was funny that I should say that because several people who have stayed with him have blogs and they all said the exact same thing, "It's a lot of work" they had each told him. He said their next sentiment was typically "Much more that I thought it would be".

I knew from writing for one month while we were in Mexico how much work was involved, yet I also knew that I enjoyed the process and the organization of photos that it prompted and I was happy to have a journal of our trip. Looking back on the times when I wasn't blogging, I wish that I had the missing pieces. I can look back at photos, and they are mostly location stamped which helps, but there is so much that is not recorded.

My mom always wanted me to write a book. She frequently mentioned it, and she once gave me a beautiful gift to help me with it. While Ky and I were living in Europe for two and a half years, there was no internet. It was really not so long ago, only 30 - 32 years ago, but there was no email, at least not for individuals outside of the largest companies with bleeding edge technology. So we wrote letters. The kind that needed postage stamps. Snail mail. I wrote at least once a week and sent actual printed photos in the envelopes with hand written letters on many different types of stationary.

When we returned from our time in Italy and Germany my mother gave me all my letters, tied up in a pretty ribbon. What a sweet thoughtful gift. I still have them, stored away in a safe place, just waiting for my book to be completed. I've started it a couple of times and hopefully, eventually it will be done. It will not likely be for the world to read, but for my children, now grown, and having adventures and learning how to navigate life on their own. I hope it helps them to understand themselves and me a little better.

Again, I enjoy the process, but I also very much enjoy the doing. Ky and I do a lot of things. It is the rare day that we sit around doing very little. It usually requires extremely inclement weather, or we are just purely exhausted from overdoing it. I'm thankful to be married to a man who likes to go and do and experience.

Blogging has a few side effects and some are positive and some are on the negative side of the balance sheet. Writing about what we're doing makes me more observant, it makes me notice things in different ways to be able to express them. It makes me more likely to take photos that I think are worth sharing. It helps me to be thankful and most of all, it helps me to remember.

On the down side, it takes time, time to stop and take more than the usual great quantity of photos that I have always taken, better photos take more time. I take time to fly my drone for the blog, and then downloading and editing photos and videos takes quite a lot of time. Writing is quite a solitary endeavor. All that is time that I'm doing something that is not very inclusive, so a daily blog might be a bit over-ambitious. I want to be a good travel companion, one who is fun to be and do things with. There is a happy medium there somewhere. I'm looking for it.

All that being said, we had a great day hiking where my hiking poles might really be needed for the first time on this trip. Bringing them was strongly suggested by a few of my ultra-hiking friends who have spent a lot of time around Iceland and Ireland. Ky teased me quite a bit about their necessity, primarily because they were one of the main reasons a bigger suitcase was needed. Even collapsed down, they have to lay diagonally. So since I brought them, I really needed to use them. Could I have done without them? Today, maybe yes, but... the trip is not over yet! I'm still looking for the challenging climb to come. I think we just need to step up our game!

Killarney National Park Ireland sign
See the picture of the two hikers - WITH POLES!

The Killarney National Park was the first national park in Ireland and it began with a gift of land to the country in 1932. It was designated as a Biosphere Reserve in 1981 by UNESCO and the beautiful lakes, waterfalls, woodlands and mountains make it a wonderful place to visit.

Killlarney National Park Ireland Torc Falls beautiful nature waterfall forest
Torc Falls

Killarney National Park Ireland Lady's View
Lady's View

It is also part of the world famous Ring of Kerry, a much larger tour of southern Ireland that may yet be on our list of things to do, but that requires more time than our current pet sitting allows at the moment. This location once again was only a short drive for us and we stuck with the blue trail (where poles were optional ;-) so as not to be gone too long.

In the evening we had our first real restaurant pub dinner at a fantastic place called Mai Fritz in our tiny little town. They really know how to cook fish and delicious Irish potatoes & vegetables (the trick is lots of Irish butter I think.) They served up Ky's first Beamish (see yesterday's blog for more on Beamish) and he was impressed with the rich dark, perfectly poured Irish stout.

Beamish Irish Stout pub Lissarda Ireland
Cheers! - Sláinte!

Hugs from Lissarda, Ireland!

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