Thursday, February 19th, 2004 – Day ZERO to Sunday, February 29th, 2004

Thursday, February 19th, 2004 – Day ZERO

As you see, there is no point in moving past 365 days on my RTW so today is Day Zero. i am home now and so another chapter begins. I did little today. Started unpacking my bags and taking to relatives on the phone. Very weird. I cooked some thing for the first time in a year. My sister came home a day early her work place (an my other sister is due early tomorrow morning) so nearly all the family is back this weekend to say hi and welcome back.

Friday, February 20th, 2004

Spent some time on the Net. found a site that allows the user mark the places in the world they have visited.



Above, is a representation of the palces and countries in the world I ahve visited in my life. You can create your own visited country map at World66

This site was mentioned at a Bray Town Forum.

According to the Match Personality Test, this lady is my perfect match.

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

My perfect Match- if you see her knocking about- tell her to give me a buzz 🙂 (19-02-2004)

The following is my summary. My full report is here.

Favorite Qualities

Your photo choices suggest a woman over 45 is probably getting a little old for your tastes. You seemed interested in dating a woman at least 25 or older

Very beautiful women So-called “Ecto-Mesomorphs,” with narrow chins and nicely angular faces. Dark brown hair. Straight hair

Favorite Looks

There’s a reason why you can’t keep your eyes off a beauty pageant. We describe a lot of the women you found attractive as “Beauty Queens,” because of their flawless beauty and winning smiles. These women usually have long, shiny hair setting off a face that is either rectangular or heart-shaped. They have very feminine features like thin noses, big eyes, and full lips, conveying a strong, confident look rather than looking delicate or fragile. Even though they look like the “Girl Next Door,” they tend to look mature for their age and lack the “cutesy” appearance of more “girlish” women. Although very popular to look at, most men are sort of intimidated by this type, which is probably why only 1 in 3 (31%) say they specifically seek out these women.

You might head to Europe for your next vacation to see more of the “Mediterranean Beauties” you also seemed to like in the photo test. These women, from a variety of ethnic groups, share dark hair and an olive complexion. Because of their flawless complexion and very full lips, they have to wear little makeup, which adds to a sense of natural beauty. About 1 in 3 men (30%) share your excellent taste!

Favorite Face Type

Faces known scientifically as “Ecto-Mesomorphs” repeatedly caught your eye. Women express this type in two ways. One version has a rectangular face shape that is long and narrow. The other type’s face shape is often compared to a diamond or a heart, because it is wide at the cheeks and then has a sharply angled jaw. Ecto-Mesomorph women have either delicate pointed chins or chins that are slightly squared-off or rounded at the base. This “classic” face type is one of the most idealized for women and can be found on most movie and music idols. These women also tend to have lean, but shapely, builds when they’re young. About 57% of other men especially prefer women with this face type.

http://images.match.com/attraction/physical/images/seekreport/face1/ft-f-30s-xm.jpg

Tell your friends to take the test and then compare your results, or for more details, visit http://attraction.match.com.

Saturday, February 21st, 2004

I went to Thurles to see the Club Championship hurling sem-Final replay between newtown and O’Loughlin Gaels. As a GAA fan, it was great to see a game and I enjoyed the match. I used my fake student ID (Im the pits) to get in for 5 Euro (normal entry is 15 Euro). Find a match report here.

Hurling is a game similar to hockey, in that it is played with a small ball and a curved wooden stick. It is Europe’s oldest field game. When the Celts came to Ireland as the last ice age was receding, they brought with them a unique culture, their own language, music, script and unique pastimes. One of these pastimes was a game now called hurling. It features in Irish folklore to illustrate the deeds of heroic mystical figures and it is chronicled as a distinct Irish pastime for at least 2,000 years.

The stick, or “hurley” (called cam?n in Irish) is curved outwards at the end, to provide the striking surface. The ball or “sliothar” is similar in size to a hockey ball but has raised ridges

It took about an hour and a half to get there and we had difficulty in finding a car parking space. It was a 2.30pm start and we were back around 5.30pm. If you have no idea what hirling is, check out the GAA website and more specifically here.

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

Ah Yes, GAA – Thurles (21-02-2004)

Sunday, February 22nd, 2004 to Sunday, February 29th, 2004

Nothing strange. Taking it easy. I miss the traveling. going to palces, meeting new places, eating out, freedom and choice. I fell like a character sprouting rubbish in a Matrix film.

Well, post analysis time. I have been back since the 18th and its time to write a few words about the last year.

Summary:

Well, I loved my year of travelling. I wont say “off” traveling as essentially the year will stand to me as much as a year of work and it was no holiday. In essence it passed like a few weeks. I remember leaving Dublin airport last year like it was yesterday. I cant believe it passed so quickly and in hindsight my expectations of the trip were met if not surpassed.. A trip like that, well its something i will never forget, not now and not in twenty years. Have I got the travel bug. Well yes, I would love to have spend another six months away but monetary concern and the fact I couldn’t extend my ticket led me back. I would have no trouble taking another year out. Maybe the former Eastern Europe and the Middle East.

Worse than a job:

I was very busy travelling. This is especially true in the first six months when I moved from town to town every few days, visiting every museum, attraction, bar and monument that had to be seen. I saw too much and did too much not that I would agree at the time. It was just that i was very motivated to do so. Its the same with every traveller as they set off. Still, the longer you travel the less motivated you become and less things you want to see. by the time I left Beijing at the end of the trip, I could not be bothered to see the Summer Palace, Forbidden City etc. I also didn’t get as much time to relax during the trip as I wanted. No beaches or retreats. You might find it funny, but pure backpacking is more stressful than a 9-5 job. Its true. You get up early (many 5am-8.00am starts) travel from A to B to C using public transport, maybe walking up to 15km per day all in a foreign language. You may get back from a day of sightseeing at 8.00pm and fall asleep. Many of the bus journeys (and I took many) were long and hard over bad roads. Many were in the 15-25 hour bracket. You have to guard against theft, hustlers, accidents and misunderstandings. In many counties you have to bargain from everything from your transport to your food.

Travelling Alone

I didn’t use travel agents, taxis, tour companies during the year, so all transport decisions and tickets were up to me. I walked everywhere. Maybe I made it difficult for myself as i generally enjoyed travelling alone. I would not be a great person to travel with and I cant understand how people to it. I would find it hard to compromise. I changed my plans daily. They were as simple as what places I was visiting that day to changing my route totally.

I met a lot of people who had parted from friends and boy/girlfriends because of travelling. Its stressful. Everybody is different. people want to travel to different rules from where whey want to go, how fast they want to get there, how they want to get there.

Homesickness:

As for the year, I felt it pass like weeks. This is no boast. Time flew by. When you are busy and engrossed in what you are doing, time has no meaning. You don’t care what time it is , what day of the week it is – you just take it as it comes. There are no deadlines or restrictions. Its like having a job you love. The money, the time you work and minor problems are no obstacles. Did I fell homesick at any time. Well with the advent of email and because I had this website, they knew exactly where I was and how I was going. Its a weight off my mind, when i knew they were not so worried at home. I rang some only half a dozen times on important dates- i.e Christmas etc.

Disadvantages

Sure, a year is a long time and you have to put up with alot. For me the more serious downsides were pickpockets (and attempted ones), accidents (been hit by a firework, electrocuted in a shower), illness (chest infection, piles), lack of hygiene (waring the same clothes for a week, no showers or hot water, sitting on a bus for 35 hours), getting into trouble (Cusco Riots, getting lost on mountains, harsh words with locals etc.) and getting too drunk.

Advantages

I met some great people (foreign and packpackers) on my trips. You run into people by chance and because people are on the road, friendships and trust have to be formed very quickly. You might have met a person twelve hours earlier and my nightfall you might be sharing a room, minding each others stuff and by morning travelling together. I saw some great wonders of the world that I didn’t or would have though possible. I saw cultures at work and the cultures that preceded them like those in Peru, New Zealand, China etc. I defined my strengths and weaknesses. I got to appreciate my strengths like common sense, sense of direction, and stamina. too many weaknesses to mention.

Since I have returned, people have asked me for my favourite countries, but in reality I have none. Each country had its high and low lights. You will see my highlights and lowlights in rhe relevant website section (see the menu), country by country.

Well thats about it regarding the Round the World trip. I will be adding to the site (as I have no job) over the next 6 months. I will be adding more detail to the individual web pages, the stats, my hightlights etc. so Its will be worth checking back to this site now and again. I am sure more travels await me. If all else fails, ifts Saint Patrick’s Day on march 17th 2004. Anyway, CU soon.

i see if I buy a camera phone, I can blog pictures directly to this site. Interesting.

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

Taking a picture from over my hedge at home in ireland – Cork (29-02-2004)

I see Guinness is enjoying new fund success in Africa.

The secret “essence of Guinness” has been the subject of more bar room speculation than possibly of any other beer in the history of brewing.

For centuries, a mysterious ingredient has been used to make Ireland’s famous creamy black stout. Until now, the undisclosed component has been a closely guarded secret behind the imposing walls of the drink giant’s St. James’s Gate headquarters in Dublin.

But soaring demand from Africa, where Guinness is seen as a macho drink and nicknamed “Viagra” after the virility drug, has led to severe capacity constraints.

That in turn has forced the company for the first time to let the secret slip away from Dublin, and into a $50 million modern plant in Waterford in the southeast.

Like me after one year away, backpackers have trouble readjusting to life back home after spending time travelling? Here’s a few handy hints that should help them settle back in 🙂

1) Replace your bed with two or more bunk beds, and every night invite random people in to sleep there. This will make things seem more hostel like, and will also boost your karma. Ensure at least once a week a couple gets drunk and shags on one of the top bunks all night. Remove beds one by one as symptoms improve.

2) Sleep in your sleeping bag, and forget to wash it for months.

3) Sleep in a different room each day, varying it by setting the air conditioning either too hot or too cold. Sleep behind a pot plant for that jungle effect. Cats also double as pumas with a little imagination. Put up a mosquito net, ensuring that there are plenty of holes, and it falls down at least twice during the night.

4) Enlist help of a family member to set your radio alarm randomly to go off at some time during the night, filling your room with loud talking. Works best if you can find a radio station in Hebrew.

5) Slowly remove items of clothing etc from your backpack, until you are completey using your wardrobe instead. Maybe only one item a day, but remember its one step at a time kids, one step at a time. Don’t forget to smell your clothes before wearing them, and re-introduce the use of the iron SLOWLY.

6) Buy your favourite foodstuffs, and despite living at home, write your name and when you might next be leaving the house on them. This should be the backpackers staple diet of mainly pasta, potatoes and beer.

7) Ask family member to every now or again to steal one of the above foodstuffs, preferably the one you’ve most been looking forward to, or the most expensive.

8) Keep at least one item of food far too long or in a bag out in the sun, so you have to spend at least 24 hours within sprinting distance of the toilet.

9) Even if it’s a Sunday, make sure you’re out of the house by 10am, and then stand on the corner looking lost. Ask first passer-by of similar ethnic background if they’ve found anywhere good to go yet.

10) Once decided to possibly get a job, take a fully packed rucksack to work with you every day. Although it’s perfectly safe next to the coffee machine, watch it like a hawk.

11) Buy your bus, train ticket or order a taxi in a foreign language. The fact the person behind the counter won’t understand you simply adds to the authenticity. Remember to barter for everything, if the bus driver says 70p, offer 30p.

12) When sitting on public trasport (the tube in London is the best) introduce yourself to the person sitting next to you, say which stop you got on, where you’re going to, how long you have been travelling and what university you went to. If they say they are going to Morden, say you met a guy on the central line who said it was terrible, you’ve heard Parsons Green is better, and cheaper.

13) When possible travel everywhere at break neck speeds on a moped carrying as much luggage as possible, without protection

14) Shower infrequently, ensuring that you continue to apply Deet for that true travel aroma.

These simple but effective instructions should help you fall back into normal society with the minimum of effort.

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