Traveling on a budget means different things to different people. For some, it’s traveling as cheaply as possible. For others, it means having a fixed limit in mind and prioritizing where that money is spent. When I travel, I look for somewhere that’s clean, safe and in a good location. Anything else is a bonus. I’ve considered the hostel dorm, but it’s just not my style. What options do I have left?
Sometimes it’s the simple, unplanned things that leave an impression, like the lunch my father and I had in Mullingar, Ireland. It wasn’t a planned stop. We had no list of things to see or places to eat or have a pint. We were simply on our way from Galway to Belfast and in need of food and Mullingar was in the right place at the right time.
Blarney Castle and its famous stone weren’t originally part of my plan when I took my dad to Ireland. However, once we realized how close it was to Cork we thought “What the hell, even if it’s cheesy let’s check it out.” I’m glad we did. We arrived early in the morning and almost had the place to ourselves. Climbing the very narrow spiral staircase was a little nerve-wracking and our moment with the stone was a blur, but we spent lots of time exploring the other rooms and castle grounds. Even if you think the folklore surrounding this castle is a load of blarney, I’d still recommend making a visit if you’re near Cork.
Poltergeists… spirits… apparitions… shades… whatever you want to call them, St. John’s is full of ghosts. Probably not too surprising for a city that’s over 500 years old with a healthy dose of dark stories in her past. If you’ve ever wanted to hear about a few of these hauntings while standing on the spots where they occurred, the St. John’s Haunted Hike is happy to oblige. Dubbed an “Ambulatory Theatrical Exploration of the Macabre”, the hike brings to life ghoulish tales of hangings, murders and other deeds most foul.
Paddle, paddle, paddle. Push up. Plant left foot. Plant right foot. Stand up. Oh my god I’m actually doing it… I’m surfing! After proudly hopping off the board in the knee-deep water I looked around expectantly to see who had seen and recognized my brief moment of glory and triumph. Not a bloody soul. Solo travel sucks sometimes. Surfing was something I just had to try while in Costa Rica. Like a good romance, despite some initial frustrations I stuck with it and now I’m hooked.
The ferris wheel on the Santa Monica Pier wasn’t the best idea as a solo traveler since you can’t ride alone. Luckily, a couple let me ride in the 4-person gondola with them. I loved the higher up view of the stretch of beach and the ocean. It was fairly busy for a Monday in early May.