Vagabonding Ireland at 41

Last week I got an email from a Vagabonding reader named Andrea, who recently returned from a journey to Ireland. For anyone who thinks that it’s not practical to begin vagabonding when you’re in your forties, Andrea’s story is proof that it’s never too late — and always rewarding — to simplify your life and hit the road. Here’s what she says:

I emailed you at the end of the summer to tell you how your book inspired me to take a trip I was thinking about taking — a month long trip to Ireland. I told you that I was 41, recently divorced, no kids, and had been trying to simplify my life, getting rid of lots of stuff, etc. You asked me to tell you how it went on my journey.

Well, to make a long story short, it’s just like you say — a taste of freedom will have you craving more! I had a wonderful time. My orginal plans were to explore all of the west, southwest, and northern part of Ireland — a month is plenty of time to do that, right? Well, of course not! I stayed almost the whole month in County Clare. Because of this total immersion I made friends with not only other backpackers, but locals as well. Of course, the fact that I am a student of Irish fiddle and had it with me helped immensely. I was invited and encouraged to play in the local pub sessions, and that was how I made a lot of my new friends. There was adventure, new tunes learned, laughs, and even romance! It was pure heaven.

I stayed in hostels — yes, most of the people are in their 20’s, some in their 30’s and a handful in their 50’s and 60’s. I rarely felt older than the younger people (except when they acted really young and immature, but that was rare.) In fact, I was out later (and up earlier) than most of the kids! I had a blast. I also noticed that my backpack was smaller and easier to manage than the majority of other people’s. I was very careful about not bringing too much stuff since I had my fiddle and that added onto my load.

Well, I’ve been back for about 6 weeks now and I am going to return to Ireland for at least 3 months in the spring. From there I may go on to England and Scotland, but not sure yet. This means I must leave my cozy and predictable job which I’ve had for over a decade. It’s a huge thing, but if I don’t do it now, then when? I have given even more stuff away since I’ve been back. I don’t own a home or a car, I have no debt. I have some money saved and can leave my apartment and put what I do have left in storage at a friend’s house or the smallest, cheapest storage space at U-Haul.

I just wanted to let you know how your book and website have helped me!

Posted by | Comments Off on Vagabonding Ireland at 41  | November 16, 2005
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