That’s when you gain everything….
I decided to go on a mini vacation by myself to a few of my favorite places before Christmas. The itinerary was Copenhagen, Dublin, and London. I planned it for months. I knew what I was going to wear, where I was going to eat, and where I would shop. I even planned every tea room I would go to for afternoon high tea. With all this planning, it was more than ironic that everything went bonkers, but I learned some important lessons.
I had a great time in Copenhagen; I got confused as a local enough times to make me smile, and I visited some of my favorite places. I then moved on to Dublin. I was feeling fun and frisky when I went to Dublin, and I was ready for some Guinness and Irish step dancing. I met my hostel roommate, she was from England, and we agreed to go to the backpackers pub crawl that night, being that it was the weekend. Eventually we found the massive group of backpackers and befriended two girls, one Aussie and one American. I was drawn to these beautiful girls and automatically knew we were going to have a good night.
Every bar we went to we would get a free shot when we walked in, and then some group of boys would buy us a round of Guinness. It was all fun and games until we reached the last bar, Whelan’s. You might recognize the name, because it was made famous by the movie P.S. I Love You. One thing led to another and next thing I know I am out in the December cold on the streets of Dublin, having lost my coat. That wouldn’t have been so bad, but my wallet and my phone were in the pockets of my coat. Somehow I sweet talked this rickshaw driver named Bruno to take me back to my hostel for free. “I have no money, I have no coat, and I have no idea where I am.” I think that was the quote that convinced him to take pity on me.
The next morning I woke up with a splitting headache and a split lip (don’t ask). I went down to the reception of my hostel where I met Darren, my knight in shining armor and my guardian angel. I told him my sob story. Darren decided, and I have no idea why, to loan me 50 euros to buy a burner phone. He even came with me to the store and set it up for me that night after he got off work. Once I had the burner phone, I called my dad. Cue the tears. With a tone of disappointment, he troubleshooted and decided he would wire me money. The only thing was, it was Sunday night in Dublin, and there were no Western Unions open. So I had to wait until the next day to get my money. If you’re following along, yes, that is more than 24 hours without money, which means without food as well. Darren to the rescue! He brought me a surprise coffee to cure the hunger and the hangover.
The next day I did the most archaic thing I’ve ever done. I went to the post office and accepted a wire money transfer. The funny thing is that before the trip I knew it was going to be my last backpacking trip for a while, so I wanted to do it right. Now it was like I was backpacking in the 80s, with a burner phone and cash in hand.
With the bit of cash I received, I decided I hadn’t learned my lesson and went straight to the Guinness brewery. It was actually a dream come true to drink a Guinness at the St. James’s Gate Storehouse roof overseeing all of Dublin, even if the thought of another beer made me want to vomit.
Luckily, through all of this my passport was at my hostel, and I was able to move on to London the next day. As if I hadn’t gone through enough, my very old, discontinued camera decided to stop working. Therefore I have absolutely no proof that I was ever in London, because my little Samsung burner phone didn’t have a camera, and there are no credit card charges. Quite literally I was off the grid….. and it was freeing. I somehow managed to visit everything I wanted to with a physical map in hand and a humbleness to ask for directions. I got lost in London, and it was a Christmastime miracle. I stumbled upon alleys, Christmas markets, food markets, and more.
On this trip I had lost everything that officially made me a “travel blogger.” I had to travel just to travel, not for the Instagram picture, not for the geotag. I interacted with more local people on this trip than I ever had before, and I saw firsthand how nice some people can be. My faith in humanity has been restored. My faith in Guinness, however, has been demolished.