Ireland

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

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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

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

I’ve Been Bad

January of 2013, Boot Size Shamed

My Dear Readers,

So… I’ve been bad again. I totally intended to update over a week ago for the new year, but life decided to get in the way. Then I spent the lat four days playing games when I should have been writing.

Damn you gamer me! Stopping me from being productive.

Now that I have my extreme need to stay in my room out of my system for the next month or so, I’m ready to pop out to the gym and burn off all the chips I’ve been eating, but I felt the extreme need to tell you guys what’s going on! I’m also going to try and work out a schedule to get myself to write more consistently. Maybe theme days… I’m good at follow theme days.

Anyways, to give you an update on my travels, a few things have changed.

Closest trip first: Ireland!

Well, not much has changed but my Dad and I are getting excited because the air flight sales for period of time I’m leaving is inching up. So soon I will have tickets, and confirmed times as to when I’m leaving for the the best farmland I’ve ever seen.

The next big trip along the line is Disney World. Two more of my awesome friends have expressed interest in coming along, bring the grand total up to five. The best part is that one of them has the ability to get us cheaper passes into the park. Definitely thrilled about saving money.

Last but not least I have a potential trip that I’m not quite sure if I’ll be able to go on: Brazil. My best friend slash soul sister’s family invited my partner and I to go to Brazil with them during the summer of 2014. Now this is not a confirmed because Tomas and I are still trying to figure out where we are going to be that summer and how much money we will have at that point.

So those are the major updates! Now on the technology side, I have a new laptop! My partner got me a tricked out gaming laptop for Christmas so I can actually use editing software to get pictures up. And to playing Sims 3…. That game is crack. On the other hand, I still don’t have a camera, so I’m still relying my iPhone for sharing my travels with you.

I hope you guys are having a lovely winter, let me know what’s going on!

Until my next adventure,

Viviana Ayre

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

My Farm Exists!!!

December of 2012, Boot Size 10

My Dear Readers,

Well it’s time for a small update about the going-ons in my life and my upcoming Ireland trip!!! To get a little personal, December has been a kind of shitty month. A lot of horrible, personal things occurred within a very short amount of time, and I was getting really low. One of those items I can talk about is that my laptop is dead. D-E-D dead. Luckily I have a boyfriend who has lent me a better working laptop so I’m sorta back in the blogging business. But the laptop death was one of the tiny yucky things that were getting me down. Thankfully after so many bad things, one shining light did come through.

My dream farm contacted me looking for my help in Ireland!

Herb Gardens is owned (I assume) by the gentleman John Millane. As their profile states:

Herb gardens is an organic farm on a 30 acre site that we make a living from.we keep cows,ponys, horse,goats and different types of fowl and cats and dogs .Our main occupation is growing herbs and vegetables for the markets(Galway) and restaurants.the work will be [quite] varied and hopefully enjoyable.
we use compost toilets and a hot shower room that is outside the living quarters..As we make a living off the farm,we need people that do not mind working 7hrs a day,the work is mainly in the garden

My thoughts when I read the email and skimmed their profile were “yes, yes, yes, oh my god yes!” My goal is to gain a lot of skills about many different aspects of working on a farm, and here, my first offer, is a farm that has a little bit of everything!

Naturally I responded with a yes of course.

We’ve traded a few emails, mainly because they follow a vegetarian diet while I am a meat eater who avoids soy like the plague (dear people, soy has an active hormone that causes breast cancer. STOP EATING SOY!!!). So I made sure to address my concerns in which they explained that only our lunches would be vegetarian and they will provide meat in the trailer/home I will be living in.

Now, about what I’ll be squeezing in on the side: travel. Herb Garden is located just outside of Shannon, meaning that I will be close to the cliffs while near all the pubs I could ever desire. I’m a short bus ride from Shannon itself, meaning that I’ll definitely be doing some research into what I can do in the area (when only able to travel by bus!). Considering I’ll be working seven hours a day with an unknown number of days off, I guess I’ll be getting to know the nightlife rather well. Luckily I don’t drink so I won’t have to worry about hangovers. May need to invest in a few items from my Christmas gift list.

Stuff I’ve already purchased in anticipation of Ireland? More boots! Because boots are amazing. More specifically I bought Wellies, soon to be pictured, but it’s dark and I want to post this today rather than tomorrow with that whole end of the world thing happening. Wellies are those giant rubber boots you see when dealing with a lot of mud, and since Ireland gets a lot of rain, my first goal was to get some Wellies. They are adorable, and I’m super stoked to wear them during my stay.

With these facts in mind, I’d love some input from you lovely readers who have been to the Shannon area of Ireland. I love new ideas as to where to go! Leave some comments below.

Until my next adventure,

Viviana Ayre

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

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