My time in Dublin was interesting. I went through some personal struggles that exemplify the emotional journey of traveling. Tamara and I also dealt with a strategic mishap that was embarrassing, but kind of funny, but I don’t have time to tell you both in one blog so the latter will be in a separate post.
Our flight to Dublin from London departed at 8am, meaning we had to get to the airport 2 hours in advance. We arranged for a cab to pick us up from where we were staying at 4:55am to bring us to the airport shuttle bus nearby. Tam and I had the genius idea to not sleep at all. We’re both night owls and can easily stay up until 5am, but the problem is that we are not morning people and once we go to bed, we really love our sleep. By the time we got on the plane at 8am, we knew we only had an hour and a half flight to sleep and that we were totally screwed. When we arrived in Dublin, it really hit us that not sleeping was an absolutely terrible idea. Sleep deprivation doesn’t look good on me!
When we got to the shuttle bus at the airport, we knew we were in trouble. We got on the bus (which cost €6) and I immediately passed out. It was only about 45 minutes until we had to get off and that nap was not sufficient! When we got to our hostel (called Four Courts), it was a bit past 11am and we were told that our room wouldn’t be ready until 12:30pm. We decided to get something to eat since we were starving. Tam was pretty hyper jumping around while I was in a bad mood and wanted to sleep.
We went into a restaurant not far from the hostel for breakfast. The menu was pretty short and everything either had meat or cheese. I literally couldn’t get anything except one meal option that consisted of toast and beans. We left and decided to go for lunch instead. When we sat down at the next restaurant, suddenly, Tam’s spark started to sizzle and she said that she could pass out on the table any second. It wasn’t good. We were both cranky and exhausted and beyond hungry. We managed to keep our eyes open long enough to pick at our dishes and head back to the hostel, where we proceeded to take a 3-hour nap.
Our hostel room was bright but extremely tiny for the 5 bunk beds, with just enough space between them to walk. The room had a private bathroom. Everything was clean but that’s pretty much the only positive about the room. At that moment, we didn’t care if we slept on a sharp rock, we could have passed out anywhere.
Tam had her heart set on experiencing the true Irish nightlife. I was still exhausted and felt gross and disoriented from my nap. Also, it was pretty cold in Dublin and the only warm clothing we had looked really shlumpy. I wore my baggy Lululemon pants with a plain tank top and a maroon zip-up hoodie. We definitely weren’t dressed to impress. The guy at the front desk of our hostel recommended going to a bar called Mercantile. It was pretty cute with lots of dark wood and lit by candle light and music that you could sing along to. We decided to get Irish Coffees, even though that was very random to get at night! The bar tender had to ask if they had any more cream left (they did! This was actually bad for me because both coffee and cream make me feel pretty sick. My stomach had been really sensitive around that time because of several factors: lack of sleep, traveling around, not used to staying new places). While Tam was getting the Irish Coffees for us, a group of 3 guys and a girl sat down at the table next to me and I started talking to one of the guys who was from the states. They were there for a bachelor party. They seemed nice enough. When Tam came back with the drinks she sat between me and the guy and I couldn’t hear what they were saying at all because the music was so loud. We were all talking, and eventually, I wasn’t talking anymore. I’m really bad at lip reading and I was tired of pretending to be interested. I started thinking about Josh and how much he hated going to places where you can’t even have a conversation because it’s so loud and I couldn’t stop thinking about how much I missed him.
The guy seemed harmless enough, but, like most single guys in another country at a bachelor party, he probably had an agenda. It’s nice to meet new people but I just started thinking about all the reason why I didn’t want to be there – the bar, not the city. I have trouble just being in the moment without getting wrapped up in my own thoughts. I told Tam I wanted to go. I couldn’t stop yawning and I felt a lump building in my throat. I couldn’t cry in a bar in Dublin in front of complete strangers, but I worried that if I opened my mouth it would happen. I knew I was radiating some sort of anti-social vibe and I just needed to get out of there. When Tam finished her beer, we left. As we started walking back to the hostel, Tam knew something was up and the moment I opened my mouth the tears started streaming down my face while walking through the crowd of young, drunk, happy people. It was dark and people are absorbed in their own affairs so I didn’t care. I explained why I was upset and how I missed Josh and talking to single guys in a loud bar reinforced why I’d rather be with him. She understood that it had nothing to do with not wanting to be with her. I was in a situation that I didn’t want to be in and when that happens to me, I get upset and start thinking a lot… oftentimes of things that make me upset.
I had thought that I could handle my emotions much better than that and was frustrated that I felt controlled by them instead of in control. The way I describe it is that sometimes a dark cloud creeps over me and it feels like there’s no escape and I just have to let it eat away at me and know that it will go away. We ended up walking back to the hostel, then sitting on the ground outside talking until I had calmed down and felt like I could hold it together. I’m so happy that Tam was understanding, lent me her ear and helped me talk it out. When we went into the hostel up to our room, it was already very late and everyone else in our room was asleep. We had to shuffle around the tiny areas around the beds in the dark, finding our pyjamas and toothbrushes. That was the moment we realized what staying in a hostel is really like. We decided that we don’t really like it! I think that it will get better in time and each hostel is different, but I personally don’t like the concept of having zero personal space.
As I’m writing this, I’m on an overnight train from Barcelona to Madrid and it is absolutely terrible!! We got 1st class tickets so we thought it would at least be decent, similar to Via Rail. Nope! Not even close. It’s gross, old, dirty and just terrible!! But it’s an experience I guess! Our train is from 10pm to 7:30am and I should go to sleep now because it’s 1am and 6 hours of sleep would be ideal. I’m a bit nervous about sleeping without locking up my laptop so hopefully all goes well and I can post this online tomorrow from Madrid!
I actually have a whole other Dublin story to include that I mentioned in the intro paragraph that is pretty funny in retrospect. Let’s just say it could have been a lot worse. Tam begged me not to post what happened on my Facebook status because it doesn’t reflect too well on our planning skills. I replied with “I’m actually going to post it in detail on my blog!” That’s what she gets for traveling with a writer!