Looking at the New Year

January of 2014, Boot Size 10

My dear readers,

2013 has been a true mix of ups and downs. While dealing with severe financial issues after my Ireland adventures, I have managed to havebsome truly wonderful memories in making new friends and seeing new places. College has been intense and life consuming and living with my wonderful life partner has been an adventure all on its own.

Nevertheless I can definitely say that this year wasn’t a loss. Sadly thanks the the final quarter of it I have no travel plans, but a lot of past experiences to write about, especially since I have access to all my old pictures again!

So this post isn’t about travels, but the cliché resolutions list I have decided on:

1. Read 100 books by the end of the year
2. Improve my diet which has fallen considerably thus causing my life to decline in quality
3. Get some good use out of my new bike once the snow melts and return to my old fitness level
4. Fix my financial situation to the point where I can be a tad more comforatable
4A. Start a tiny fund for new travels!
5. Get my flag work skills back up to par
6. Write blog posts more consistently about my travels

It is a small list, but hopefully realistic considering my workload. I absolutely love writing on here, even as small as this blog is. I love you guys and your likes and comments just send warm fuzzy feelings to my heart.

Until my next adventure,

Viviana Ayre

Categories: Past Tides | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Breaking Ones Own Expectations

July of 2013, Welly Size 10

My Dear Readers,

I never expected for school to completely take over my life. Today I came upon my poor little blog and it needed some love. It’s literally been six months since my last post because I’ve been running around like a chicken with my head cut off. I haven’t even been on WordPress! Well, I’m back baby, and better than ever!!!

For those of you who don’t know me, I’m an extremely cautious person. I hate being in trouble, so I always try to learn all the proper manners, laws, and other important tid bits that others may not think of. And I don’t like to make unsafe, chance-y decisions. So when I got into a car with a New Yorker and two South Africans and drove around the Burren to the Cliffs of Moher I was absolutely astounded at myself.

In America you don’t hitchhike if you can help it. Rather untrustworthy of others in general, we are self reliant on getting from place to place unless it’s public transportation. This isn’t the same in Ireland; staying on the farm, everyone who wasn’t American talked casually about hitchhiking to different sites, and seemed surprised at my reluctance. Being a young female, there is an instilled fear of traveling in America. I think it’s from watching too many crime dramas.

So when I met the lovely New Yorker named Elena who offered to let me tag along with her and two South Africans named Cameron and Cameron as they drove around The Burren, I never expected to take them up on the offer. So I left Galway and began a whole new experience with complete strangers and managed to have an adventure that can never be compared.

We got on the road and once more the gorgeous expanse of Ireland just took my breath away. If you’ve never seen just the average view of Ireland, then you are missing out. Even living in New England which is very green and gorgeous, there is no green like Ireland green.  I mean…..

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We made a few stops along the way…

Dungaire Castle

Dungaire Castle

Cameron and Cameron! And moi!!!

Cameron and Cameron! And moi!!!

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To snap some truly amazing pictures…

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We stopped at the beach!!! DSC02468DSC02480

I had no bathing suit… But that didn’t stop me.

The water was fantastic!

The water was fantastic!

Until we finally made it to the infamous Cliffs of Moher.

DSC02538Due to Ireland’s famously rainy weather, the fact that we made it to the Cliffs on an unbelievably gorgeous day was incredibly lucky. And I did not waste a single second. I’m only posting a few of the pictures I got to take, but believe me, I took at least a hundred.

DSC02541 DSC02545 DSC02553 DSC02576 DSC02579 DSC02591 DSC02593 DSC02614 DSC02621 DSC02625I even managed to face one of my most powerful fears: heights. I’ve never been a fan, especially of man-made heights. But the Cliffs definitely made me feel rather ill.  If you walk far enough you can reach an area of the Cliffs that doesn’t have suicide barriers  as you may have noticed in my previous pictures. Well, I managed to stick my head out over the sheer edge of the Cliff, and stayed there for several minutes. After rolling far enough away from the edge though, I promptly rolled up into a ball and had a panic attack. But afterwards I felt proud of what I had been able to do; I had faced one of my fears (though I still haven’t cracked it!). Believe me, if you want to give facing your fear of heights a go, the Cliffs of Moher is the place to do it.

Until my next adventure,

Viviana Ayre

Categories: Europe, Fresh Prints, Ireland, Past Tides, WWOOFing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Lack of Internet = Lack of Posts, or How I Realized That I’m an Internet Addict

July of 2013, Boot Size 10

My Dear Readers,

So I want to address something that I’m sure many Americans have realized when traveling: we are spoiled.

My best friend tutors six years old, and she has horrified me with the knowledge that all of her students own either a tablet or a smartphone. This as a base is terrifying to think about, especially since when she also told me the kids had no idea what hopscotch is.

Desk, meet my head. Repeatedly.

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This! This is hopscotch!

I’m terrified of the day when children don’t know what jump ropes are until their obsessed over their appearance and weight and go to a gym with them.

So for those of you not living in America, yes this is sort of what America is becoming these days. Is it everyone? No, but as I’ve said, every stereotype lies a grain of truth. And America’s addiction to technology (which I admit I’m a part of with my own array of tech) has crippled our ability to enjoy anything outside the net universe.

I didn’t not think I was as bad as most Americans; I pride myself in enjoying the outdoors when I’m not being assaulted with work and school at the name time. But living in Ireland for one month, I’ve realized how addicted I am to the internet. The wifi at my farm was located at the owners house, and to use it you had to sit outside under a small awning that does not necessarily protect you from the rain that is so common in the land of green. So while you got to see two posts from me while I was actually in Ireland, I gradually lost interest in lugging my seven pound beast of a laptop all the way to the house and shiver in the cold. In a way, it helped my addiction to the internet, and I’m looking forward to taking advantage of my new tan- yes, a tan in Ireland- and going out to enjoy America for more than just the internet-verse.

Ireland in general, and I’m sure much of the world outside of America, has a distinct lack of technology. Many places are cash only, and lacks ATMs in order to allow you withdraw money off of your card. Being so used to every store having some sort of free wifi, I found myself floundering for an internet connection in order to send a text to family members to assure that I was still alive and not kidnapped while I was taking my couple days off out and about seeing what Ireland is like.

Because honestly, how can anything on the internet beat seeing this in person?

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Nevertheless, this next month is going to be filled with posts about my adventures in Ireland, one month late because internet access to post was lacking…

And I’m okay with that.

Until my Next Adventure,

Viviana Ayre

Categories: Fresh Prints, Ireland | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

What Not to Pack

June of 2013, Boot Size 10

My Dear Readers,

When a first time wwoofer, it can be kind of hard to know what to expect when getting there. When preparing for Ireland, I tried to cover all the bases, but now being here for a week, I’ve now discovered a few important things that I should have brought that I did not. With this in mind, here’s a small list of items that you might not have though to bring.

Towel- I won’t lie, I’ve been spoiled towel-wise. I’ve never had to worry about whether or not the place I was staying at would have towels. Well… I arrived in Ireland, and when it came time to take a shower (more about that later) I discovered there were no towels! I instead had to use a two foot by one foot little face cloth to dry myself before jumping into my pajamas. Trust me, it was not the greatest experience. I waited until we were able to pop into Shannon and purchase a massive towel for ten euro.

Wristwatch- I’ve never worried about a wristwatch. I haven’t even owned one for five years since I was in Japan (and I had two wristwatches at once even!). Nevertheless I’ve discovered that with your hands covered in dirt, it’s much easier to check the time on your wrist rather than digging into your pocket and coating you iPhone in mud and dirt just to check that only five minutes have passed since the first time you checked! So spend the twenty bucks and get a watch. It makes tracking the slow tick of time that much less messy.

Working/Gardening Gloves- Speaking of dirt covered hands, I didn’t expect for there to be no spare gloves! This one’s rather simple: if you have a set of gardening gloves that fit you well and that you like, bring them. Makes brushing up against nettles much less painful. I’ve already gotten several handfuls while having no protection from their little stingers. The knuckles are the worst. >__<

Extra long-sleeves of the light variety- So this week I managed to get massively sunburnt to the point where I was matching my Iron Man hoodie, despite being liberal with the sunscreen. Now for the rest of the week I’ve had to wear a long-sleeve shirt in order protect my already damaged back from even further incineration. This means working in 90 degree weather… In a long-sleeve. So here’s my advice for those who burn easily and manage to get their shoulders burnt to a crisp: bring a tube top and a button down cotton shirt. That way your shoulders aren’t rubbed by the straps of a tank top or bra, and your shoulders are protected without roasting you alive. And in general, light colored long-sleeves will help you immensely in protecting yourself from skin cancer.

Guidebook- I honestly didn’t think I should have brought a guidebook to Ireland. I’ve never found guidebooks to be great for anything other than the major sights. But as I’ve now been here for a week plus, and without great access to the internet, I find myself not knowing what to do this weekend with my free time. I intend to travel so I can finally use the camera I spent so much on, but now I have no idea where I want to go, and whether I want to spent four hours on a bus to get to Dublin and stay in a hostel or just hitch a ride up to Galway and try and get to see the Cliffs of Moor!

Shorts- Now this is not an items that I forgot, but that my wwoofing roommate Toni forgot. Despite the fact that you read that Ireland is going to be rainy, damp, and rather cool, bring a couple pairs of shorts anyways! Or at least one pair in order to anticipate that one 90 degree day that will knock you on your ass if you wear thick rain-worthy jeans inside of a boiling greenhouse.

Now with this short list in mind, now you have a slight idea as to what you should make sure to bring if you intend to go wwoofing, especially in Ireland. And if you’re going to another country, keep items like this in mind and shift it to your climate needs!

Until my Next Adventure,

Viviana Ayre

Categories: Fresh Prints, Ireland, On Traveling, WWOOFing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

It’s finally here!!!!

9:00 June of 2013, Boot Size 10

My Dear Readers,

I’m here! In Ireland! It has actually happened!!!!

I would have posted sooner but I haven’t had a moment to sit down and really type out anything aside for contacting some loved ones. It’s my second night and I’m finally getting to sit down, relax, and really absorb what it’s like here.

John- the owner of the farm- didn’t waste a minute before putting me to work. I put my luggage down in my room and immediately one of the other wwoofers began showing me the morning routine. And it goes a little something like this!!

8:00 AM- Feed the animals. This involves not only feeding the animals but putting certain animals out, such as the goats. All of the goats get taken out every day to the field to graze on grass and the like.

9:00 AM (or whenever the animals are done)- We begin whatever task John sets out for us. My first day, it was transplanting pumpkins and cutting tomatoes. Today (or in this case yesterday as I’ll be posting this tomorrow) we were to prepare the field and plant basil. Lots and lots of basil. Tomorrow (today)? Who knows!!!

11:30 AM- Tea time!

12:00 PM- Back to work either finishing our project from before, or starting a new one.

2:00 PM- Communal lunch time, cooked by the Millanes.

3:00 PM- Back to work!

4:30 PM- Animal time. The goats go back in their pens, and are fed. That and the fowl, ponies, horses and such get fed again.

Once feeding is done- Time to milk the goats! About six goats need milking which we do, then strain, bottle, and date. We don’t sell the milk, but consume it for ourselves and use some to feed one of the baby goats who isn’t old enough to be weaned yet.

After milking- Free time! So far I’ve been to the pub and just hung around with other wwoofers getting to know them.

               Overall it’s a lot of work but I’m loving it. I’m learning a lot and getting a lot of good-for-me exercise. My legs are sore from crouching and standing constantly, and I’m getting a bit burnt from all the sun exposure. I’m absolutely loving it.

Definitely stay tuned for more stories the longer that I stay in Ireland and have new experiences!!!

Until my next adventure,

Viviana Ayre

Categories: Fresh Prints, Ireland, WWOOFing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

It’s the Final Countdown

My Dear Readers,

So I have been pretty inactive on here due to a rise in absolute insanity as I get ready for the largest trip of my life. Between finishing off finals, transferring schools, and getting ready to move in with my partner of two years, I have managed to completely put off packing for Ireland!!

I’m leaving in nine days….. You think I would know better!

Nevertheless I’m frantically getting all my final preparations finished as the days steadily tick closer. My last day at work is Tuesday, and after that I will be packing and spending several days with Tom to make up for the extreme distance aand to celebrate our anniversary. I will also be making my first vlog video to keep track of the fantastic things that I’ll be seeing and experiancing. Which of course I will post links to here and on my Facebook page.

The main lesson of today’s post is don’t put off packing. It’s not a smart idea. In fact it’s pretty darn stressful.

Later this week I will talk more about packing for a month long trip. Stay tuned!!!

Until my Next Adventure!!

Viviana Ayre

Categories: Fresh Prints, Ireland, On Traveling, WWOOFing | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Less Than Three Months To Go…. My Feelings

March of 2013, Boot Size 10

My Dear Readers.

Lately I’ve been watching Friends for the first time instead of doing my schoolwork, and those have you who have watched it know exactly what accent I’m typing this in…

Oh… My… God!

All that aside I’ve come to realize just how exhilarating and yet terrifying it is that my trip to Ireland is inching closer and closer. This will be my first true time traveling 100% by myself. I’ve always been with family or as part of an ambassadorial group. Now I’m taking my first ever solo trip, and it’s for the longest time I have ever been away from home. The combination of excitement and sharp terror is absolutely exhilarating.

My life has been an absolute whirlwind lately between my classes, spending time with my partner, my part-time job (feels like full time) and my internship (which is working conventions). Considering that it has been a challenge to bit sleeping and eating in there, let alone get ready for Ireland, I’m amazed that I have the time to sit down and bust out a post for you guys. I have 65 days now until I leave for one of the greatest farm countries in the world, and I couldn’t be more excited. Add in planning out activities for my weekends, and looking up all the music festivals I want to go to and I have my hands full. I’ve scoured guide books, watched travel TV specials, and skimmed the blogs- surprisingly the least helpful so far.

With all this excitement going on I haven’t even been able to share my experiences at the conventions I’ve been going to. I promise that for my next upcoming convention (Quinnicon in Connecticut) that I will be much more proactive in getting my encounters out there because trust me, I’ve had some doozies. I’ve also been contemplating some Past Tides to share with you, but lately so much has happened in the present that I haven’t had time for the past! I swear I will get better. :)

I would definitely love to read anyone’s tips for traveling in Ireland, and what to see while I’m there. I should have about four weekends to gallivant, one day at least already taken up by a planned day trip. Also anything you’d like to hear about, let me know! Your comments fuel my writing soul!

Until my Next Adventure

(Coming Soon!)

Viviana Ayre

Categories: Fresh Prints, Ireland | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Couperage Wine and Whiskey Bar

January of 2013, Boot Size 10

My Dear Readers,

Two months back, I had a gathering with my internship with SteamFunk Studios. In order to add a bit of fun in, I asked my darling sister if she would like a visit, seeing as I has to drive to Harrisburg, which is about two hours from where she lives in Philadelphia. Considering how fantastic my relationship is with my sister, she jumped at the chance for us to hang out even if it was only for a night. With this is mind, my sister thought that it would be nice to introduce me to a bar with cheap but delicious food. And when I say cheap I mean cheap: five dollars per serving!

Couperage Wine and Whiskey Bar is a popular little place in Philadelphia that my sister goes to every Thursday with her friends for an evening of casual drink and snacking. I won’t lie, I have no idea what the average size of a bar is, but it was crowded and noisy, but no in an unfriendly way. It was alive and friendly, and despite being an underager (not quite twenty-one yet) who doesn’t like alcohol in the first place, I was quite charmed by the atmosphere. Then the food came around.

Each of these compact, nicely portions pub food snacks were five dollars each. My sister and I split three little plates: mac ‘n’ cheese, cheese steak fries, and a pulled pork slider with chips.

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Mac ‘n’ cheese:

As far as mac ‘n’ cheese goes, this was actually kind of blah. I’m not sure what kind of cheese they used, but it wasn’t particularly strong, so it had a bland-ish flavor. But it wasn’t terrible! And I remind you, five dollars. And also I’m probably ruined taste-wise due my childhood addiction to Kraft…..

Curse you cheap American food….

IMG_2849Cheese-steak fries:

Holy crap are these the most delicious guilty pleasures I have ever tasty. I’m normally not one for french fries (not huge on potatoes), but this was quite possibly the most heavenly thing I’ve ever sunk my teeth into. The cheese was perfectly melty, the steak was delicious, and the fries just rounded off this perfect dish of delight. For five dollars. Seriously I can’t get over the fact that these were only five dollars.

IMG_2850Pulled Pork Slider with Chips:

You heard me right. Pulled. Pork. Slider. Totally better than your average hamburger or cheeseburger slider.  Seriously this was a teeny tiny basket of heaven. Add in those wonderfully thick cut potato chips that are perfectly salted and I felt like I was in snack nirvana.

There is nothing better than finding great deals on delicious food. If you are ever in the Philadelphia area and you’re looking for a place with good, cheap pub food and a variety of delicious drinks, check out Couperage Wine and Whiskey Bar. Their tasty little bites are absolutely phenomenal.

Until my Next Adventure,

Viviana Ayre

Categories: Fresh Prints, Past Tides, Sister Bonding in Philly | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

I Am Way Too Excited Right Now

March of 2013, Boot Size 10

My Dear Readers,

So… I was intending to post a story about my travels. Something of worth and sustenance with some humor thrown in as well.

But I simply cannot focus because I’m too excited!!!! Way too excited. So as you all know, I recently got my tickets to Ireland. So I’ve been hyper and excited about that. It’s inspired me to start planning what I want to take, and where I want to try and visit during my days off from working on the farm. And now I just bought a camera after a year of being camera-less, specifically for this trip.

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Look at how adorable she is!!!! But don’t be deceived by her size. She takes amazingly good quality pictures, and 1080p videos to boot! So it really looks like I’ll be doing the daily or every-other-day vlog that I want to do! And it’s going to be amazing. And thinking about the pictures and videos I’ll be able to take is making me even more excited. Thus I’m freaking out and completely unable to focus on posting a deep, insightful travel story.

My humblest apologies.

Have any ideas where I should try to go in Ireland (keeping in mind I have to take local transportation and I will only have two days away from the farm, max)? If you do, leave them in the comments!!!

Until My Next Adventure,

Viviana Ayre

Categories: Fresh Prints, Ireland | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

I Own Plane Tickets Now!

February of 2013, Boot Size 10

My Dear Readers,

Oh my goodness…. Oooooooh my gooooodness!!!!

I’m going to Ireland!

Of course I already told you guys that but it’s really, really official now!!!! I actually have a flight purchased and everything!

Depart:   Boston, MA  (BOS) Shannon, Ireland  (SNN)
Date: Tuesday, June 11, 2013
Flight #/ Carrier Depart Arrive Travel time Meal Aircraft Cabin Seats
722    06:30 PM  BOS 08:05 PM  PHL 1h 35m A319 Coach 5E
Stop: Change plane in Philadelphia, PA   (PHL)
776    09:05 PM  PHL 08:40 AM  SNN 6h 35m Dinner 757-200 Coach 20F
  • Flight # 776 : Arrives next day, Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Return:   Shannon, Ireland  (SNN) Boston, MA  (BOS)
Date: Thursday, July 11, 2013

Flight #/ Carrier Depart Arrive Travel time Meal Aircraft Cabin Seats
777    11:35 AM  SNN 02:05 PM  PHL 7h 30m Lunch 757-200 Coach 20F
Stop: Change plane in Philadelphia, PA   (PHL)
723    03:15 PM  PHL 04:29 PM  BOS 1h 14m A319 Coach 5E

DO you see? DO YOU SEE?! Ermehgerd I’m really going to Ireland for a month. I can’t even describe how excited I am to be me right now. I have my farm, my wellies, and now my plane tickets to Ireland! I’m currently getting more information about what I will be doing on the farm, and when I will have days off to explore this beautiful country.

As a note I’ll most likely start up a daily vlog while I’m there in order to let my loved ones know how my life is going over there. And of course I love all my readers, so you’re all invited to watch! I’ll post more information on that when it gets closer to the actual date of me leaving.

Let me know what you guys want to know about Ireland!

Until my Next Adventure,

Viviana Ayre

Categories: Fresh Prints, Ireland | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

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