On Traveling

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 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

Don’t Forget to Wear a Coat!

November of 2010, Boot Size 10

My Dear Readers,

So, every trip has its screw up, and when I went to Guatemala for a few days to attend my uncle’s wedding, I made a minor mistake… I forgot to bring a real jacket.

Now, one might think, hey you’re in a tropical area, why worry about the lack of a proper jacket? That’s what I thought. But I was wrong. Boy was I incredibly wrong.

So here’s the story: My uncle’s wife is a native Guatemalan, and so they had two weddings. One was located in our home state for legality, the second was in Guatemala for his wife’s family. As bridesmaids, my sister and I manage to scrape together the funds to go for three days (a very touchy subject…. not something I’ll cover today). With our dresses and some traveling clothes, we set out for a country that had never really been on our list.

It took me three planes, my sister two; I had to fly to where my beloved sister lives so that we weren’t traveling alone. After that we flew down to South America, but had to take a smaller plane to Guatemala itself. It was the first time I’d ever boarded a plane by walking across tarmac (usually we have those little hallways straight to the door).

Our pilot boarding the plane

Our pilot boarding the plane

We arrived in Guatemala late afternoon early evening, and we went to dinner and check out our hotel. Our hotel that looked like it was enchanted…

Our bed with handmade textile blankets

Our bed with handmade textile blankets

The courtyard, complete with fountain

The courtyard, complete with fountain

This was the hallway. No joke.

This was the hallway. No joke.

Yeah, it was gorgeous. The food was amazing too. As a farming major, there’s just something about super fresh eggs that just makes your taste buds go to heaven… Man, were they yummy. Pair that with some re-friend beans (first time ever having them), fresh mango slices, bread, and fried plantains (swooning just thinking about them) and you have a very classy and beautifully presented breakfast. As a note, it’s hard to have coffee in America when you have coffee fresh from the number one farm in the world… I’m spoiled…

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Anyways! My uncle’s wife and her family offered to take my sister around the sight seeing. What that meant was leaving the town we were in and driving two hours around some mountains to get to another city surrounded by volcanoes and a lake. I do apologize for the lack of names, but I never got the chance to get the names of the cities and mountains before family differences stopped me. Nevertheless, I cannot get over how beautiful it was to make our way through the windy mountains to a city that was completely isolated. The only way to get there was by the long windy road, or by boat.

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We took pictures.

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We ate new foods.

Fresh made in the restaurant, including the chips!

Fresh made in the restaurant, including the chips!

Some of them were yucky.

Banana curry soup... yuck

Banana curry soup… yuck

Nevertheless the most important thing I learned in Guatemala was the one thing that I forgot to pack.

Bring a proper jacket (a sweatshirt would work too).

I should explain my thought process. Guatemala has a very warm climate, so I brought a little navy blue jacket that didn’t button shut. This proved to be my undoing as I realized that we spent the majority of our time in the windy mountains. We also traveled across a very windy lake!

Note how it's a half jacket.... Also the adorable little turtle backpack I purchased

Note how it’s a half jacket…. Also the adorable little turtle backpack I purchased

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Sometimes, yes, I took the coat off.

Sometimes, yes, I took the coat off.

 

Now yes, my arms were covered, but it was a half jacket that didn’t button/zip/attach at all. So all the lovely little breezes that whipped my hair straight up…

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Were mildly uncomfortable!

I wish I’d remembered at least a sweatshirt to cover up with. Nevertheless it was a minor issue, just a small lesson to be learned. But make sure y’all remember your jackets before you leave the country!

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Until my Next Adventure,

Viviana Ayre

Categories: On Traveling, Past Tides | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Gift Ideas for a Travel Enthusiast

December of 2012, Boot Size 10

My Dear Readers,

As a a travel enthusiast, I absolutely adore travel gadgets and doo-dads. And as you guys might also know, I’m a huge nerd, and thus spend way too much time on the internet looking at all the awesome toys that could be in my possession if I worked a real person job.

Food service part-time is not a real person job.

Nevertheless, I thought I’d share with you some of the items I found on my favorite nerd toy website, Think Geek.

Stocking Stuffers

Caffeinated Soap

shower-shock

No really, it’s soap with caffiene in it. Despite being a faithfully Thin Geek lover, even I had my doubts. But no, this stuff really works and had been tested time and time again even on Good Morning America. So it got me thinking. When traveling, the worst part is hygeine. You either have to get all your products into little three ounce containers to bring it on a carry-on, or fret about your liquid containers bursting all over your clothes and ruining them forever. But now, you can kill two birds with one stone! Instead, have a solid shower bar that won’t explode all over your clothes, and have it help wake you up in the morning! With all the walking around and exploring you’ll be doing, who couldn’t use a little pick me up?

Prices Range between 6.99 for one bar and 37.99 for ten!

Caffeinated Lip Balm

I swear I wasn’t going through two caffeinated items, but when getting the picture for the soap I noticed there was lip balm as well. This would be perfect for an afternoon pick-me-up for those who abhor coffee (aka, me unless it’s made with half milk and a gazillion sugars and chocolate). So the Spazzstick is another possible option for that sticking you need to fill cause you bought one waaaaaaay too big!

***

Price is only 2.99 per stick!

***Note- I had to leave on a small trip before I could post this (having computer issues) and when  came back to post pictures and post this whole thing, the lip balm was gone. But I still like the idea! So if you can find it elsewhere, it’s an idea!

Stainless Steel RFID Blocking Passport Sleeve

a7a2_stainless_steel_rfid_passport_sleeve

A bit more on the practical side, here’s a small gift that will help protect against identity theft! And identity theft sucks especially when you’re out traveling in a foreign country.

Price is 44.99 which is a little bit on the pricey side, but if you’re moderately wealthy it might not be a bad idea.

iPhone Powered Personal Fan

f22e_iphone_powered_personal_fan

Holy moly is this one a bit silly. But I can see for those iPhone lovers who are in a warm area, or a stuffy train, a small breeze might feel heavenly. And here’s a nice compact one that will not take up much room in your luggage.Priced at 12.99

Metal Inkless Micro Pen

e7af_beta_inkless_emergency_pen_keyring

Now for those of you who have loved ones who travel with a journal, this is a priceless treasure to stuff in the giant red sock. This pen writes anywhere (EVEN SPACE AND UNDERWATER!), and doesn’t need refills. I won’t lie, I have not used this for myself, but I desperately want one, cause it also fits on your keyring. SO you never have to worry about you pen sinking to the bottom of your daypack when you only have a few minutes to scribble down all the facts you never want to forget.

Prices are usually 38.99, but are currently on sale for 29.99

Okay! Well now that you have a few stocking ideas, why not take a look at some of the bigger present that go under the tree!

Under the Tree

Anti-Theft, Slash-Proof Messenger Bag

f085_anti-theft_slash-proof_react_messenger_bag

The title kinda explains everything as to why a traveler would adore one of these, but I’ll explain for those who are clueless and are just looking for last minute goodies. Traveling can be dangerous, and one of the biggest dangers is a pickpocket. Because losing all your money sucks and makes getting home rather difficult. So get your travel lover something that they could really use, a bag that’s knife proof!

Price is 89.99!

Olloclip iPhone Camera Lens

eba9_olloclip_iphone_camera_lens

Yet another one for the iPhone fanboys. Since I’m currently camera-less, I have to rely on my phone for any travel pictures which is why this cuts kinda close to home. So why not get a few lens to enhance your iPhone! They’re small, compact, and that makes one less breakable electronic to bring!

Price is 69.99, but for the 4/4S it only comes in red. If you want it in black, you gotta get a 1.99 converter.

Freeloader Pico Solar Charger

d0bc_pico_solar_charger

We all know the trials of trying to keep your electronics charged, especially phones and cameras. Well now you don’t have to worry about trying to conserve your battery until when you retire to your hotel for the night. Use it during your lunch and/or snack break and keep your electronics charged and ready to capture a priceless memory! This is a perfect gift for a photography lover.

Price is 29.99 because it’s on sale right now. Original price is 39.99

While this is a little late, I hope I’ve given you a few ideas for some last minute gifts for the one you love who loves to travel.

Until my next Adventure,

Viviana Ayre

Categories: Home-Tied Adventures, On Traveling | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Why You Should Always Try New Things

December of 2012, Boot Size 10

My Dear Readers,

I was recently watching a BBC show called “An Idiot Abroad”

. Essentially they take a middle aged “boring” man who had never left England (not even to go the rest of the UK!) and they send him around the world to do tasks that occur on most people’s bucket lists, mostly involving some sort of travel. The episode I watched was, of course, about him going to Japan.

 

The aforementioned Idiot is Karl in the middle.

The aforementioned Idiot is Karl in the middle.

The bucket list event was to climb Mt. Fuji. But along the way he did other tasks such as sumo wrestled, tried three year old fish (I won’t lie, I couldn’t do it considering my lack of fondness for fish), and play with robots. What baffled me about this man is that he hated pretty much every minute of it. Every minute! My dad got a laugh out of it because the entire episode I was yelling at the television screen to let me do it, because I would have had a blast!

I am always looking to try new activities. For example, just the other day my friend and I decided to wander into a shwarma shop because we had never had shwarma before and thanks to the movie Avengers we were intrigued and wanted to try it. But while we were in there, we found a ton of little food items that we’d never seen or tried before! So we decided to go all out. I, for the first time, tried Turkish Delight!

I don't know how you capture the flavor of rose... but it was so delicious!

I don’t know how you capture the flavor of rose… but it was so delicious!

It was delicious. Along with our shwarma wraps (filled with hummus, pickles, lettuce, and beets) we had two drinks we’d never tried. I picked out a blood orange pomegranate juice blend, and he tried a sour cherry nectar drink.

The right is beef, the left is chicken.

The right is beef, the left is chicken.

I want to drink this every DAY!

I want to drink this every DAY!

Sour Cherry

For desert we were intrigued by these little donut hole-looking delights called galub jamun…

Gulab

…We did not like it as much as the rest. Mainly because it was too sweet and gooey.

Nevertheless it got me thinking of that silly little BBC show I had watched and how much the “idiot” didn’t want to try new things.  As I said, the entire time the show was going on I was whimpering because I’d give an arm and a leg to do what that man got to do, and he fought against trying new things like his life depended on it. That astounds me even thinking about it now.

This is why I’m WWOOFing in Ireland, to get a really deep and cultural experience. I don’t just want to jump from monument to monument like some people. I want to get in there and live like the people live, and eat what they eat… Though maybe not organs. Haggis in one thing I will probably politely turn away, except have a single bite just to say I’ve had it. I oftentimes have regrets about the things I didn’t do on my first trip out of the country to the South Pacific because I was too scared to. I wish I’d tried more foods, and been more open to the people I’d met. I sought to change that for all the other countries I’ve been to, and I still strive to improve on myself to this day.

My main reason for writing this is to encourage all travelers to stray off the beaten path. Try different areas of new countries. Lots of people go to Paris, why not try the countryside? Have a unique story of your own, and inspire others to try new things. This is probably where I should do a Robert Frost reference, but I feel that clinched is a little overused when it comes to this subject.

Plus I live in New England. I heard his poems my whole life.

I hope my message has come across to you. And I hope those of you who enjoy stories of leaving the average adventure behind will join me as I share my experiences with you while working in Ireland.

Until My Next Adventure,

Viviana Ayre

Categories: Ireland, On Traveling, Past Tides, WWOOFing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Oh Holiday Seasons…

December of 2012, Boot Size 1

My dear readers,

The holiday seasons are always busy for me. With three families to celebrate with it can get rather hectic trying to spend time with everyone. Of course this means the attempts at day trips will most likely be impossible, but that will give me a chance to blog about some past travels again, something I haven’t had the time or the pictures for. With my harddrive of pictures back in working order I’ll be able to properly recount my traveling tales of old.

Nevertheless if you’d like I’d be willing to also talking about traveling products for you people shopping for gifts for those who love the open road. Remember, I love taking suggestions from you guys, and I’m willing to write about juuuuuust about anything.

So keep your chins up and be ready for some posts when my winter break begins! Next week is finals, then I’m free for about two months.

Until my next adventure,

Viviana Ayre

Categories: Fresh Prints, Home-Tied Adventures, On Traveling, Past Tides | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How to Incorporate Travel Into Your Education

October of 2012, Boot Size 10

My Dear Readers,

So as a college student I have been very run down with the fact that school and work has pretty much absorbed my life; that hasn’t been taken up by those two categories I try to devote to my boyfriend and my family. This previous summer I did essentially nothing. At most I managed to go to the parks in my area like Canobie Lake Park (I actually went to that one a lot). With this in mind I didn’t want to repeat that next summer.

Since I’m already saving up for my Disney trip January of 2014, I had to make sure this trip was within a college student’s price range. And since I’m a college student who only works weekends, that’s make it even tougher. But I was determined to make it work. With this in mind I also had to consider my schooling: maybe I could incorporate travel into what I want to do for my future.

While right now I’m just your average Biology major, but its destiny is to be switched to Sustainable Agriculture and Livestock. I have a passion for nature and animals, and my ultimate goal is to bring good eating and living to those who think that they cannot due to their living situations such as those living in apartments or in the city. You don’t need to have land and a garden to have fresh herbs and other product. That is what I hope to donate to the world with my little slice of life.

But with this in mind I’ve been pondering about how I can travel while working a career that- frankly- deals a lot with staying in one place. How will I be able to get out an experience the world and all the culture that it holds?

I’m surprised I didn’t think of it earlier honestly.

WWOOFing!!!

I have no artistic ability, so no I did not make this graphic. I actually found it on another blog! SO credit to them if they made it: http://elleswim.net/2010/10/05/324-wwoof-in-central-america/

Alright make all your dog jokes now and get it over with. Trust me I giggled the first time too.

WWOOFing stands for World Wide Organization on Organic Farms. And it’s pretty much how it sounds. It’s a world-wide farming community that helps organic farms get in contact with volunteers who have a hunger for knowledge and getting their hands dirty.

One thing I love about travel is going off the beaten path and not only being able to experience the country but being able to experience the people. It’s the people that make up the meat of the cultural pie, and I prefer interacting with the people than just getting my picture taken at monuments. That’s just boring.

With this in mind, I will be WWOOFing in the country of Ireland!

This picture was taken by my father. All credit goes to him.

That’s right, Ireland. A country well known for it’s farmland and love for self-sustenance and organic practices. WWOOFing will be able to let me not only see Ireland, but to experience Ireland. I’ll be able to get in there, get my hands dirty, learn new foods, new skills, new sayings. I’ll be living and breathing Ireland!

Look at all that green!!! Again, this picture was taken by my father. All credit goes to him

I will be leaving not long after my anniversary with Tom in June, and I will be staying on a farm for about a month. I have about eight months to save, plan, and prepare for working on a farm, and taking day-trips out when I can. As the time gets closer to my departure I’ll be posting about home-stays and prepping for long term travel. I’m also more than willing to take suggestions and answer questions about WWOOFing, farming, travel, and any other burning questions that you wish to ask. Just leave a lovely little comment and I’ll make a post about it.

So I hope you all you travel lovers will be able to take a long look at what you want to do for your career, and maybe you’ll be able to find a way to incorporate travel into it! Because nothing is better than doing what you love in a completely new and foreign place!

Until my Next Adventure,

Viviana Ayre

Categories: On Traveling | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

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