The Traveler

Ladies and gentlemen: Norther Ireland!



Today I hiked along the Causeway Coastal route for 12 miles, from the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge to the Giant’s Causeway. My feet are tired, but my heart is full.

It rained more than half the time, in typical Ireland fashion. (I learned to always carry a rain jacket with me when I first visited Dublin.) After two downpours, hours of drizzle, wading through water, scrambling over rocks, and crossing beaches and cliffs, I arrived at the Giant’s Causeway – a popular tourist destination – entirely soaked and covered in mud and grass (and possibly some sheep poop) up to my knees.

This isn’t the first time this trip I’ve walked passed gaggles of tourists while covered in mud.

At Glendalough, I got caught in rainfall while hiking on the cliffs above the lakes near the popular monastic city ruins. At Mont St. Michel, I decided it would be beautiful to hike around the abbey island while the tide was out. Beautiful? Yes. Muddy? Oh yes. I was the only one out there. (I soon realized why.) Out by the water’s edge it was nice and firm, like a beach. But as I delightfuly made my way back towards the bridge taking the tourists back to the mainland, I hit the real stuff: Thick, bluish, grayish, clay-like mud that just sucked my legs down into. I nearly fell on my face many times. My legs were completely gray, I carried my boots in hand and walked passed all the posh-looking tourists, knowing I had more fun than they did.

In those moments, I think, “This is the difference between a traveler and a tourist.

When I made it back to the Giant’s Causeway today, I walked passed everyone carrying their umbrellas with their audio guide headphones in their ears. They all still had their makeup on their faces and they looked dry and content. But I was stoked. The Giant’s Causeway is cool (it’s a bunch of basalt columns jutting out into the water), and it’s nice to take a 20 minute stroll from the visitors center to see it. But what they don’t know is the stunning 12 miles beyond.

Maybe they drove passed it. But they don’t know the delight of trodding over it step by step, for hours soaking in the unreal scenery. Because tourists stick to pavement. They go to the places where the tour buses take them. They go where their money takes them, instead of their feet.

More pictures:

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My picnic view from a big grass-topped rock in the water.

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8 thoughts on “The Traveler

      1. Good to see you’re at least enjoying your travels. I want you to know I understand the issues you revealed in your Inlander article. I would have never suspected. Outwardly, you seemed very happy and upbeat.

        Jo; your not alone. I’ve had some of the same issues. I’ve experienced exactly and I mean EXACTLY the same uncontrollable ups and downs and have frequently cried…just out of the blue…for no reason other than the perceived hopelessness of my situation. When I read about your issues I thought “my god! that’s exactly what I experience”. I have issues (not clinical) I can’t discuss in an open forum like this but boy, did I relate to your statements.

        Life goes on I guess. We cope internally with our issues the best we can. I hope your travels are helping. You’re such a quality individual! An amazing young woman and one of the nicest people I’ve ever met. I hope you find happiness.

        I need to do some traveling beyond my two three day trip to Calgary this coming weekend. If you’re wonderlust gives out I’m sure we would all love to have you back in our office. You’ve been missed. I’ll continue to follow your travels so please keep in touch.

        I have one question. How are you coping without the occasional “In N Out” burger? Lol!

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  1. Thank you, Richard. That really means a lot!!

    I’m sorry you have felt the same way. But it’s good to find out that people have the same struggles, because then we can all feel less alone. I really liked working with you! And I appreciated how you are always friendly and upbeat!

    Yes, you should do more traveling! Give those subs some more hours and take a long trip!

    Hmmm, yes I do still miss In N Out, but I guess I haven’t thought about it as much, because I’ve been in places like Rome and Paris and I don’t actually miss In N Out when I’m eating incredible pizza and crepes!

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    1. Oh Jo! It was always a pleasure working with you. I’ve lined up a little more fun. Bradin (now my sub) will be back from two weeks of National Guard duty on Monday so next weekend I’m going to take a few days off and go see my brother in Port Orchard and do some sailing in Puget Sound. He has a 37ft Endevor sailboat and I’m looking forward to some fun on the water. Should be fun. We don’t get to see each other much.

      Safe travels!

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      1. Sailing is a lot of fun! Quiet and peaceful. Just the sound of water lapping up against the boat. No griping co-workers or loud music (well, I did put on the song “sailing” by Christopher Cross). I think my blood pressure drops 10 points when I’m out there on the water. Going again today.

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