Washed Up In Waterville

Leaving Dingle was hard

Well folks, this has been again another interesting couple of days…to say the very least. My last post has me sitting in an internet cafe in a nameless town. Turns out the nameless town is called Waterville and it is the very last stop on the Ring of Kerry tour. Also turns out that the bus only comes once a day, 7:30 am, and only 6 days a week, no Sundays. I was in the farthest reaches of the country at this point, not THEE southernmost or westernmost but close enough. The view of the atlantic was absolutely gorgeous and funny little side note, they have an almost life size statue of Charlie Chaplin in the center of town because it was apparently one of his most frequented holiday spots. It had mainly, one small strip of a street of restaurants and b&b’s, post office and small convenience/grocery store – all of this smaller than State Street.

Harry Potter-like Train tracks on the way to Waterville

I thoroughly enjoyed my night in the B&B called O’Grady’s and woke up refreshed and ready to catch the next bus to the next town, to my dismay, it was Saturday morning and the bus had already gone. I walked down this very long road trying to hitch a ride to anywhere at this point and hours passed and a lot of rain fell and I lost my hat in the wind and I got quite far from town, basically just me and the green rolling hills and an occassional car every 5 to 10 minutes. After a few hours of no luck I completely gave up and hitched a ride back into town (the very first car of course haha) and booked a night in a hostel which was only 10 euro a night.

The loooong road out of Waterville, where my hat will be discovered by someone who needs it I hope

I could feel this ball of anxiety rising in my chest. I was feeling trapped and under pressure. I will digress a bit. Here I was Saturday evening at least 7 hours drive from Dublin, where I was meant to be on Monday. And then meant to be in Belfast on Wednesday morning, which is at least 5 hours ride from Dublin. From there I was meant to fly to London for a day and a half then to Poland for a few days, and on and on. I fully booked myself into an anxiety attack. In the weeks leading up to my departure from the farm as people asked me my plan and I told them I didn’t have one yet it produced a sour face of fear and confusion which sparked, with each one, a small flame of anxiety within me which grew and grew into a roaring fire. So of course, instead of trusting myself and my instincts, one morning I woke up all hopped up on tea and imitrex (I had woken up with a slight migraine – probably from worrying about the unknown…) and planned out my days of freedom from the farm. The problem was I hadn’t really thought out just how much I was trying to do and how I would not have a day to myself without worrying about where I had to be next and how to get there and then where to stay once I got there. I felt a huge relief after booking the flights and made it known to everyone! What I hadn’t realized was that the relief that I felt was a character flaw of mine.

Charlie Chaplin

It was the part of me that wants to make sure no one that cares about me is worried. To make sure that everyone is content – problem is, this planned traveling business is not me and does not make me content. Now, Danielle Jackman has pointed out to me that I tend to do this in many aspects of my life and after much dissecting I’ve come to this conclusion: the key to my happiness is trusting my instincts and knowing that regardless of how much everyone cares and loves me and wants the best for me, I will always know where the key to my happiness is; not to say that input and advice isn’t helpful, because it is. I just need to learn how to take it and put my own twist on it rather than trying to please (or in this case give peace of mind to everyone else but myself.) The point I’m trying to make is that, as Danielle Jackman may have thought, I am not blaming any of this on anyone for giving me advice and/or merely wanting me to be safe and everything. I know that I am fully responsible for my actions here and am the only person who has made the mistake here. A great lesson has been learned. Thank you Universe (and future Dr. Jackman)!

Beautiful Waterville that I couldn’t wait to leave…I’ll be back Waterville and Co. Kerry. I’ll be back.

Before I had this great realization and revelation though, I fell into myself. I fell hard into the deepest pits of myself and I soaked in a bath of my own fear and anxiety. I lay for hours with myself, the bubbles of bad thoughts and feelings stuck to me on all sides. It was a necessary low point of this trip I think. I needed to experience this deep sadness to realize where the problem stemmed from, how to fix it and now that I’m out, just how free I am.

Walking on to Derrynane Beach

After spending a lonely evening with my fear and anxiety in this awesome old house of a hostel, I woke up Sunday morning still not quite myself but feeling more optimistic…until I found out no buses on Sundays. It started to build again, this feeling of claustrophobia which up until this point has been quite foreign to me. I furiously googled options and asked every person in the hostel questions, suggestions of what to do. No one could really help, especially since non of them really wanted to leave this beautiful seaside wonderland and probably thought I was nuts to want to! I was being stubborn though, I felt like I’d put out so much money for these flights and I’d planned to couch surf in Dublin and I wanted to get there damn it!

And then I met Dee (short for Deirdre). A born and raised Co. Cork girl, and adventure sports enthusiast/entrepreneur who was driving to Cork city that very morning. Praise Allah!

Abbey Island, Derrynane – “The Flannigan’s have the best view,” said Dee of this family plot. (I don’t remember the name Flannigan is made up.)

I could have kissed her I was so excited even before I asked for the ride, which I did almost immediately after she told me her plan – ask that is. haha What a nice girl, knew me for less than 5 minutes and agreed to it. She took me on an adventure which was right up my alley. We drove to Derrynane (Derry-Nan) Beach and climbed on rocks and took pictures and went on an eco tour, led by a super cool Irish diving enthusiast!

Now I know why I was meant to stay in Waterville, seriously nothing along this trip has been by chance. After our beach adventure we stopped in a little town called Sneem for some grub and sat outside despite the frozen temperature because the view was so gorgeous of this mountainside waterfall. As we continued our journey to Cork City, the sun went down and the moon came up – an incredibly orange and full moon rose over the faraway valleys and took many forms throughout our ride. I swear I’d have been able to touch this moon if we’d drove to the top of the mountain. I tried to take pictures and video’s of it but was quite unsuccessful at capturing it’s enormity, vibrance and beauty.

Rock Climbing…!!!

When we got to Cork City Dee gave me a small tour of the bustling streets, we asked for directions to the hostel I was booked in and she pointed me in the right direction after exchanging email and phone numbers. I would have once described this as a chance meeting, luck, coincidence; but as I must reiterate that nothing on this journey is by chance.

Derrynane Beauty

Every moment, every person, every location has had it’s distinct purpose in my growth as a human being. The more I realized this the more I felt the need to follow my heart and Dee helped me formulate a new travel plan. I decided to cut the traveling abroad short and only visit England and Poland. This calmed me down for a while, but in the back of my head I still wasn’t quite content. Over and over in my head I thought of all the different possibilities, pouring guilt layer upon layer over myself like a paper-mache project…this sufficed for the moment but I still had a lot of thinking to do.

Sheila’s of Cork was the name of the hostel I stayed in and all they had left was a 10 person mixed dorm for 20 euro a night. I walked in and it smelled like a badly ventilated laundry room that had run out of soap so was forced to reuse the same liquid over and over and over…I don’t think I met any of the people I was staying in there with because they were all 18-year-old international college students getting drunk in various parts of the place. I didn’t think I was shower snobby until I came here and refused to bathe even though it was now Sunday night and I hadn’t showered since Friday

Waterfall at Sneem

morning. Needless to say this feeling of snobbery was further heightened when I woke up at 5 am on Monday to the very distinct sound of a guy puking into a container to small to hold the contents of his stomach. I heard the throw up hitting the floor and it was dark and I couldn’t see where it was coming from and I hoped to God I was not beneath this drunkard or anywhere close enough to have vomit splattered on me or my things. Luckily, he was far enough away that I wasn’t touched by it but obviously in this non-ventilated room the smell got to me quite quickly and I packed all my stuff up and ran out of that place, right into the tourists office and booked the first bus tour. I knew I had to catch a bus to Dublin at 2 and wanted to experience as much as possible in this adorable city. – At this point I was still set on going by my planned plans. – The bus tour was great and I learned that Cork is one of the most medieval cities in all of Ireland! So very cool, I loved the hilly streets of the city, definite contrast to the other towns and cities I’ve visited here. Some of the streets were so steep they reminded me of San Francisco a bit.

The one full moon shot, the left is a light but the one behind the trees, actual MOON!

Once I left the bus tour I decided to take a walk on the shopping street, no idea what the name was but ended up in a wonderful clothing discount store and bought myself a new pair of boots, jacket, hat and shirt for under 25 euro! Then, practically ran to the bus station to make the 2 pm bus to Dublin. Along the way, I unsuccessfully tried to contact Carol, the girl I was meant to couch surf with in Dublin. I knew since it was a Monday I’d more than likely would have been able to find an open hostel and continuously told myself not to worry and that it all would work out. So that’s what I did between napping, checking my phone and reading. When I wasn’t doing those three things, I was thinking hard about my travel plans. Still not content with my plan as that would have me leaving the next day to get to Belfast and in limbo of trying to find another hostel to stay in; I poked back into that small part of myself that contains my inner most desires and pulled out the notion of staying in Ireland again. I played with it for a while, manipulated it, shamed it, laughed at it and tried to close it up again but this time it would not budge. This idea grabbed onto my scalp, I could feel it scratching at the base of my hair follicles (or maybe that was the lack of shower) but regardless, this time I was not going to get away with following anything but my heart.

Good Morning Cork City

After 5 traveling hours and 1 bus change, we arrived in Dublin I got off on the busiest street, close to the famed Temple Bar, took about 10 steps and walked right into Abbey Court Hostel and luckily booked a room! A 12 person, all girl dorm with a toilet and shower en suite and wireless throughout. I was a happy, happy girl. First things first, I put all my stuff down and took the longest (and warmest) shower I’ve had since arriving in Ireland and almost cried while doing so – this will NEVER be taken for granted again. When I got out I emailed Danielle Sister and got the best advice and exactly what I needed to hear at that moment more than anything, “Follow your heart, money is only money and you’ll make more.”

Though I know I should not be basing decisions on what other people say, as this is the lesson I’ve just learned, this was merely a solidifier of what was already being played over in my head though. It was the little spring I needed to dive off the side of this confinement, this boat I’d built in haste. I felt light and airy and clean and happy and appreciative

“I’ve been drinking since I was this tall.”

again. I put on my new boots, coat, hat and shirt with pride and walked into the night of the bustling town of Dublin. I had planned to buy some food and return to the hostel to make a meal and relax but as I began my walk I was compelled to go in all sorts of random directions and found a wonderful little hole-in-the-wall Italian restaurant. I decided this was my way of forgiving myself for not getting to Italy and got a table for one, ordered the most delicious goat cheese and veggie pizza, a glass of white wine and wrote and wrote and wrote aware of the curious stares I was getting from those sitting around me but seriously unaffected by them. So calm and happy I sat there and thoroughly enjoyed myself. I took the rest of the pizza to go and gave it to a sad looking homeless couple who I’d walked passed earlier and walked up and down the streets to listen and watch all the incredible street performers. Among my favorites was a short, stout man who passionately sang Cher songs with impeccable tonal precision. I wish I took his picture.

This has been a long one, but I wanted to let everyone in on my thought process. As of now, I have no plan – only that I will be staying in Ireland with the intent to return to Europe in the coming years to explore all the places I didn’t get to this time. I prefer to be open and off the hook. I woke up this morning at 8 am, bursting with excitement for my newfound freedom and decided to book a second night here at Abbey Court. So that’s as far as I’ve gotten as far as plans go and I’m quite happy about that.

Fun Facts:

  • Carol eventually got back to me and let me know how sorry she was, she was on vacation for the national bank holiday and had forgotten her charger so only just got my messages. No hard feelings. 🙂
  • When I told a Spanish girl who is staying in Abbey Court that I was from Philadelphia, she said, “Like ze cheese?” – She is from Spain but studying French in France and only here on a week long holiday from school. But she speaks English, and apparently German, with a French accent.
  • My favorite quote from Dee, justifying why she didn’t want to go near this cow, “I’ve had some run-ins with cows, there’s nothing like hearing 10 cows hurtling after you. I turned into bionic woman.”
  • There is a statue of a famed Irish priest in Cork who was head of the prohibition of alcohol. He is depicted with his hand out (see picture) and supposedly to be saying, “This where it [the drinking] stops.” But on the tour, they said the town joke is that it looks more like he is saying, “I’ve been drinking since I was this tall.”
  • The Silver Sands hostel in Waterville was right next to someone’s house and the sign was awkwardly placed between the two…and guess who walked into this woman’s house asking for a room. Ha! She was really nice about it at least.
  • Dee had a stack of healing angels cards which she let me handle while she did some beach yoga. You take the stack in your left hand, tap with your right 3 times on top of the deck while thinking of a question to ask the angels. Then shuffle until you feel compelled to stop and pick the top card (past), the next card (present) and the next (future). I picked meditation, romance and focus. Beautiful.

10 Comments Add yours

  1. Stella says:

    Hello Dear Shanny girl,
    Once again you make my heart smile. I have no doubts that you would find your way and follow the path that is right for you. A heart full of love such as yours is something mighty good to follow and tap into for answers.You are learning to feel what is okay for you. The advice from your sister Danielle is something I whole heartedly agree with. The following is simply something for you to ponder.
    Cinderella a.k.a. CinderStella LMAO…..anyway…..
    Cinderella said it best when she sang this song….
    Yes, true.. this is from a fairytale…but I believe fairytales are written by people who have dreams who follow their hearts which are so full of
    love and goodness just like you! No one will ever be hurt by what makes you happy!
    Now just forgettaboudit! who said that? lol
    On another note…to know that I am thought of each day by you is worth more than anyone could ever pay me. Priceless just like you! I am truely blessed to have you in my life…soooo…live laugh and love as much as you are able and continue to take in all the beauty God intended for you to see and feel!
    P.S. Thanks for the post card I received it today 10/29/10 Friday. Lots of love always “me” Mrs.Cap (Stella) Oh yeah…love reading all the great stories can’t wait to sit and talk and see pictures …. luv luv luv ya


    1. Shannon says:

      Thank you for all the love and support, Stella! Love you too and miss you and can’t wait to sit down and have a good chat when I get back! Luv luvaluvaluva


  2. Therese says:

    Your travels sound amazing! So happy for you to have this time to live, learn and reflect. Thanks for sharing your experiences….you are becoming the “Little Young Wise One!!!
    Love you and miss you!
    Therese (Trezball)


    1. Shannon says:

      Thanks Therese(Trezball) !

      It has been a seriously amazing time for me and I’m so grateful for it all and all the lessons that I’ve learned and continue to learn. Love you and miss you too!


  3. eileen webb says:

    You are inspiring!
    Mrs. Webb


    1. Shannon says:

      Thanks Mrs. Webb! 🙂


  4. caitlin says:

    dannnnngggg you’ve seen some pretty sights! sorry you went through some hard times but it sounds like you’re better for it… beautiful pictures – keep em comin! how much longer do you have abroad?


    1. Shannon says:

      thanks Caitlin! It’s always a learning experience and it’s lovely 🙂 I return on Nov. 10th…:( It’s gone tooooo fast


  5. Danielle says:

    Love your post, your pictures and YOU!!! Keep following your heart sister:) You’re the best!!!
    love, Danielle


    1. Shannon says:

      Thanks for the encouragement and support sister! 🙂


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