Sometimes in life, you find yourself in a place you never expected – like in a shitty flat in the middle of nowhere, or working 50 hours a week in an English pub. Other times you find yourself in a tattoo parlour in Northern Ireland, like I did a few weeks ago, getting an impromptu tattoo to eternalise my newfound favourite place in the world. Thanks to Ryanair and their ever-helpful sale emails that litter my inbox, a few weeks ago I found myself in the lovely little town of Derry and all for 18 pounds return. It was only Derry because it was always going to be Ireland and Derry was the only Irish destination on the list. I didn’t know anything about the place when I booked it so I sat myself down for an afternoon session of googling to learn a bit more. I discovered that it is the only remaining completely walled city in the UK, or something along those lines. I also learned of it’s turbulent past, being host to Bloody Sunday. All my internet research excited me and I headed off ready for the time of my life. What I got (in addition to the time of my life) was new friends, a lot of history, a not so small shamrock tattoo and an intensified passion for Irish music – and all of it completely unexpected. My feelings about my trip to Derry can be summed up by in one saying – I accidentally stumbled across a goldmine. I feel like this place, a place that even though I didn’t know it before I went, is a must see before I die kind of place. It’s a nowhere place, if you know what I mean and yet it holds so much history that must be known. It was one of those places that changed the way I viewed life. Now I’m going to be a complete pain in the arse here and not really say anything else about it – well about the history and the IRA side of it and whatever cause I don’t think I can put it into words well enough to avoid potential backlash – you know, considering the IRA are the UK’s biggest terrorist threat and all (not my words – that one comes straight from the The Times itself). I certainly don’t want to get kicked out of the country of anything like that just because I get red flagged by the British government for not taking their side……….
But anyway, apart from the whole history side of the journey, there was also the drinking and dancing side of the journey and that I will talk about. The hostel I stayed in was fantastic – it was one of those places that you feel instantly at home in. Having said that though, it’s half the hostel and half the fact that I’m reaching the point now as a traveller where I can feel at home pretty much anywhere now. In fact, I write this as I sit in the pub, my feet up on a stool feeling entirely more comfortable in a public space than I should be. To the average patron I probably appear more as if I’m sitting on my couch at home than in a pub but oh well, forgive me for getting comfortable! Anyway, I digress. So I rock up at this hostel in total frequent traveller style, wheeling the little suitcase Leah lent me like a pro. I make some friends & some plans to hit the town later that eve and head out for a late afternoon stroll around the town to get a lay of the land. I walk the wall, visit the two shopping centre’s Derry houses and stumble across a tattooist where a little idea pops into my head – ‘Hey, I should get a tattoo while I’m here, on my first visit to Ireland’. That night, I headed out for my first Irish Guinness and some quality live Irish music. I drink and foot stomp the night away in true Derry style. The following day I take my tour of Free Derry and learn a lot of Irish history before heading back to the same pub for another fill. That’s the day I realised that I couldn’t possibly continue doing what I’m doing and that I must return to Scotland, my third favourite place in the world now (after Melbourne & the newest addition to the list – Ireland). I know this doesn’t make that much sense to you but distance gave me clarity and the space to realise that being somewhere I don’t love is the polar opposite of my new life ethos. After the devastation of Japan, I have adopted a new live-life-to-the-fullest mentality. I mean who knows what is around the corner. All this time you spend worrying about if you’ll still like the tattoo you’re about to get in 50 years time and I thought, what if I’m not here then? What if I’m not here in 2 years time? What if 2012 really is the end of the world? Ok, let’s not got that far but you get my line of thinking. So I walked into the tattooist and went for it. Everytime I look at my new little tattoo now I’ll think of Ireland and smile and that I hope I have in 50 years. After my new ink, I called Dee Cooper and got a job.
The next day, I flew back to Lapworth, back to the shitty little flat in a shitty little place in the middle of England where I promptly resign from my job in the midst of my Irish fever.
Unfortunately, none of it came soon enough and I still ended up having to spend half my day off (one of my only days off for the next two weeks considering I failed in my job cross over planing) having to move all the shit out of the shitty rundown old flat into the considerably better flat that the staff will now live in. But I still got to London again – something I’ve been meaning to do but just haven’t gotten around to and I ended up catching up with some old friends, something I wish I had done sooner and not so whirlwind as it was. I did get to the Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese – apparently the oldest pub in London, it was refurbished in 16 something and I liked it a lot. I had awesome curry at 11pm in Soho and a brilliant raspberry mojito in a swanky Soho bar. I also spent a lot of money accidentally, on cute things. Whoops. Oh well – I’ll be in the Scottish Highlands soon with nothing to spend money on so not to worry! I have a week left in Warwickshire before I board a bus for a 10 hour journey north for a new life in lovely Scotland!
Oh, and if you’re wondering why no pictures of late, my camera is broken. I think I’m just going to buy a new one but it might be a while so sorry for the lack of visuals!
See you soon!