So, I’m headed back to California. Not to live; to visit. I was close – finger on the book button close – to booking a solo trip to Nicaragua but I split-second changed my mind and booked a trip to California instead. I’m no stranger to California. I built some amazing and some not-so-amazing memories living in San Diego for close to ten years. By all accounts, I should still be living there. But if you know me, you are aware that my inner free spirit does not always do what I want it to do. My motto, as my hippie friend Veronika will tell you, is “throw caution to the wind.” I often use that phrase when I am trying to convince my friends to follow me on some sort of Ellen adventure that I concoct.
Now, my “free spirit” didn’t leave California by its own choosing. Well, not really. It became possessed by a demon known as love which took full control over it and forced it to leave, thus saving my life and the life of my best friend or my twin flame or my soul mate. Whatever he is, he was, he will be, he never was, he maybe someday could be, etc…, he resides somewhere in San Diego and that provides me with a slight case of the heebie jeebies when it comes to traveling SoCal. San Diego is such a huge city. How is it that I could possibly even end up anywhere close to where he could be? Ha! As there always was with us, there is a pull we are not in control of just as the tide has no control over the moon’s cosmic pull. Strange and uncontrollable occurrences pull us and then push us and then beat us up, leaving us running away from each other. And so I will do what I do best when it comes to him. I will ignore all of the cosmic signs that I am completely and acutely aware of and I will visit with my girl, Becky, without looking over my shoulder, without attempting to sort out the noise of the cosmos and without the fear of looking up and meeting his eyes. After all, I am the master of my fate. Right?
I fly into LA to visit with my sister. I have plans to hike, to be a cheesy tourist, and to meet with and have fun with all of my sister’s friends. And, oh yeah, to eat at some yummy and trendy LA restaurants. At some point, I’ll either rent a car or take the train to San Diego to visit with Becky. I haven’t seen Becky in about five years so I am truly looking forward to spending some quality BFF time with her. Basically, I just want to chill, eat Mexican food and walk the bay. There are no real plans, which is nice. However, the thought of hand gliding Torrey Pines is appealing. Perhaps I can get Becky to throw caution to the wind and go hand gliding with me? There I go again with my Ellen adventures!
Where to this summer? LA and SD. It’s been a long while, hasn’t it? Too long.
Some girls want to go to Paris. And then there are girls like me. By no means am I saying that I wouldn’t go to Paris. I would. There are, however, places that I would travel to before heading to wine and cheese it up over in France.
It was by chance that I saw a picture of the igloo village at Hotel Kakslauttin in Finland. I was mesmerized. In a poem I wrote back in 2004 – a poem I consider to be one of my best – I made mention of another poet lighting up everything around him and compared him to the stunning Aurora Borealis. The other night I had a dream that I was ascending at a high speed in a glass elevator. I was alone and scared but a kind of excited scared. The elevator burst through the ceiling and dissolved into space, leaving me floating in the middle of the Northern Lights. I was so close to the stars. I woke feeling like the dream was a statement on where I am now or where I will be in the future.
I’ve recently attempted writing a poem about it but it didn’t really amount to much. What can I say? Sometimes my writing is like a leaky faucet, always flowing. Other times, it’s like someone turned the water off and nothing will come out. Whatever the case, I feel like I absolutely must stay in a thermal igloo and stare up at the Northern Lights. I went to Ireland alone and I will definitely travel alone again. I won’t travel alone to Finland though. Seeing those Northern Lights? That’s something you shouldn’t see alone. I’m sure staring up at the Northern Lights with someone you love and who loves you must be one of the most beautiful experiences a person could have. Who knows? Maybe someday my Aurora Borealis will ensconce me in him. Maybe not. I no longer hope. Nor have I ceased hoping. I simply exist, living day to day, taking breath after breath and step after step.
July in Dublin
aromatic ethnic street food lining walkway-
Thai, Korean, Greek, Lebanese, Mexican
filling Irish air with a cultural stew of flavor
And the French girl on lunch break
eating with chopstix
fashioned in Euro-urban style
quickly ate before briskly disappearing into city’s busy streets
These are some of my favorite Ireland pics…
• Arrival at 9AM Dublin time
• Bus into the city
• Walk to the hostel
• Hop on/hop off double-decker bus
• Guinness Store: tour the brewery, free pint at the awesome sky bar at the top of the brewery….ahhhhhhh
• Leave the hostel at 10AM
• Walk to Temple Bar district
• Tour Christ Church
• Food fair going on outside of Christ Church
• Tour the Medieval & Viking Museum
• Walk a few miles to The Jameson Distillery: tour and drink free whiskey
• Walk aimlessly and find a tat shop. Get a Banksy inspired tattoo which ended up getting infected because I left to travel around western and southern Ireland the next day and didn’t care for it as I should have. It needs to be re-outlined and colored. My bad!
• Enter into a pub for dinner and a pint, and a pint, and a pint….Irish man singing Johnny Cash and Kenny Rogers. Priceless.
• Meet Irish friends who take me to see Gaelic singing and dancing.
• Walk to Paddy’s Place to catch my bus
• Off to Galway
• Galway Bay
• Kylemore Abby
• Galway pub with my new friends from all over the world
• Find an American Eagle (so not me) sweatshirt that saved me since I left my jacket in Dublin
• Leave for Killarney
• The Burren
• The Cliffs of Moher (AKA The Cliffs of Insanity for all of you Princess Bride fans)
• Killarney pub for a nice dinner with my group
• Another Killarney pub where I thought I would show off my Irish jig moves
• Leave Killarney
• Castle Blarney where I hiked to the top and leaned back to kiss the stone. I smooched the heck out of it
• Head back to Dublin
• Bus breaks down as we get into the city
• Meet up with Paddywagon friends at a pub for dinner and pints
• Early night
• Meet friend for a Dublin adventure
• Tour Dublin Castle
• Lunch at a Japanese restaurant
• Walk around Grafton St. (shopping area)
• Go into a fish spa and partake in fishies eating dead skin off of my feet
• Out to dinner with more new friends
• Watch an Irish guy dance to Michael Jackson…hilarious!
• Walk to the bus stop
• Get to the airport and head back to the states…blah!
Garrity Girl Going Galway…
I’ve been out of the country before. Living in San Diego gave ample opportunity to travel to good ol’ Tijuana. There was also the trip that I once took to San Felipe which is a fishing village resting on the Sea of Cortez. There were five of us squished into a hot car traveling up and over the mountains, through the desert and down into the eastern Baja California peninsula. Coming home, we were stopped by a pick-up truck full of federalies with assault weapons pointed at us. That’s one of those stories you tell as you’re playing ‘I never…’ “I never had ten federalies in a pick-up pointing assault weapons at me.” Swig. And then you look up to see a group of people staring at you as though you have twelve spinning heads.
Then there was time that I went into a travel agency to get tickets for myself and my boyfriend at the time to go home to Boston. I walked out with tickets to Belize instead. I climbed the Mayan ruins at Lamanai and hiked through the dense jungle, catching a few renegade Mennonites slamming beers. I also ended up tagging along with a former colleague and his family to Costa Rica, visiting Playa Dominical, Manuel Antonio National Park and a night’s stay at a volcano as well. Both countries were stunning and I am tremendously grateful to have had those opportunities.
Never though – never have I gone out on my own. I thought about it a lot, planning all sorts of excursions in my head. Finally, after saving, I bit the bullet and booked a trip to Ireland. Whoa! I actually did it. Gracie is going off to be with her dad for 8 days and I’ll be trotting it up across the pond. I’m not very good at rewarding myself. I’m even worse at being rewarded by others. I guess that falls into the categories of feeling not good enough. Who knows! Anyways, who cares! I’m going to Ireland! I’m staying in a hostel and then hopping on a Paddywagon tour bus for a 3-day trip leaving Dublin and going to Galway (Side note: the name Garrity hails from Galway), Killarney and Cork. Then it’s back to Dublin to hit up the Guinness Store and all of the big touristy places. You better believe I’m going to cheese it up doing the touristy stuff, man. No doubt! I’ll be kissing the Blarney Stone, singing pub songs and going to and doing all things excessively Irish.
I probably should be a little nervous about traveling alone but I’m not. The truth be told, I sometimes enjoy being alone. I don’t date. As a matter-of-fact, I actually shun dating. I’m at a point in my life where I know exactly what I want and I don’t want to settle for anything less and that includes men. Men are like motorcycles in a lot of ways. I’ve ridden my fair share and I’m terribly bored so I sit and pine for that custom San Diego Chopper that I rode once instead, hoping that it will come back to me. Woops, got off topic there. I am confident that I am gregarious enough of a person that I’ll meet new friends along the way and I can’t wait. Ireland is going to be an adventure on a spiritual level, on an ancestral level, on a writing level and on a fun level. July 12th, baby. C’mon!