Goals for 2016

So I didn’t complete any of the goals I made last year but to be honest it doesn’t really matter. I completed 5 things off my bucket list last year which I love and I am already planning on so many more things for this year. So here are my goals for 2016.

Keep my job.

I really want to keep my job, I want to help more and work harder. It’s an amazing opportunity and I don’t want to waste a minute.

Do something new every month.

So I think this is pretty attainable and I already have two adventures planned. I cannot wait to share them with you. There is so much of Ireland I haven’t seen so I am very excited to see more of my own country!

Complete a pretentious monthly scrapbook.

This is where you vlog your month and make it into a video. I failed last year because I got really down during the year but I am determined to make it this year. I’m also determined to not give a crap talking to a camera in public.

Read 20 books, no really this time.

I put this on my list last year and I completely failed but I got so many books to go through and books I have borrowed so I need to read them and give them back!

Meet new people.

During the really difficult times this year I looked around and didn’t really have anyone to turn to (who was close to me) although I have people moving back, closer to me, yay, I think meeting new people is really really important, especially since I don’t work with people own age.

Keep going.

I have a habit of stopping when things get difficult or when I’m not perfect at something and that is the worst thing you could do so I want to keep going. Even if what I’m doing isn’t earth shatteringly good doesn’t mean I don’t have the potential to make great things.

Skydive.

I hope this goals stops rolling over every year and I am able to do it soon!

What do you have planned for your year? What are your goals?

Happy Travels!

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2015 According To My Instagram

It’s that time again where we go through the year and see the ups and downs of the last 12 months. Check out my 2014 wrap up!  2015 was a great year, lets take a look. Jan

My first trip to Iceland. Words cannot describe how amazing this trip was. I went with my father, this meant I have now travelled with every member of my family alone and it’s pretty cool. Although we have travelled together for years it’s really interesting to see each member as an individual. Iceland in snow is one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen. This trip sparked a complete infatuation with Iceland and I vouched that I would be back sooner rather than later.

FebI went to a Google, Irish YouTube event. This really inspired me to create more content on YouTube and my channel. I wanted to make travel videos to go along with this blog. I have watched YouTube since 2007 and love the community and love watching content.

March April MaySo something very exciting happened in March, I gained new family members which was an amazing feeling and I am so so happy I got to be a part of it. In April, we lost a member of our family. It was a hard time but am so appreciative of peoples help and kindness. We also adopted Tiffin, the Beagle pup, we started out puppy training at the DSPCA in April and most of the month was training the pup and making her new life as wonderful as possible. In May something very wonderful happened in Ireland. We became the first country to pass same sex marriage by popular vote. I was so so proud of my country, amazing day. JuneJune is my birthday month. I had planned a trip away to Croatia with a couple of friends. I actually was travelling over my birthday. Plitvice was a place that had been on the bucket list for a long long time and I built the trip around this amazing park. Croatia was beautiful but I don’t think I want to spend another birthday away from the people that love me. I loved travelling around Croatia and I will be back one day to do one epic roadtrip.

July

I got to use my christmas present from my sister and have a falconry experience which was so so much fun! When I got back from Croatia I decided to do something that turned out to be a bad decision. I thought I could help, I thought I could do something but it’s not up to me to make a change. It basically went how it always did but this time I was strong enough to make the decision I should have made a long long time ago. Although this was a bad month I can look back now and see the good and I can see the bad but most importantly, I can see my worth and if someone can’t see that, then they don’t deserve me.augustAn amazing thing happened in August. I won a trip to Iceland!!! I was crying I was so happy. I decided to take my wonderful friend with me and we had such a good time! We walked around the city, we went to a Kings of Leon concert, we went puffin watching, we went on the golden circle tour, we debated about veganism. It was just awesome! I am so so glad I went with her. That is now two trips we have been on in two years! Woo! sepMy third time in Iceland! This month marked something very exciting, I was ticking off two things on my bucket list. Driving in another country and travelling solo. Iceland on my own time was incredible! I couldn’t recommend it enough, no tour busses, no set times, no limits to where you can stay.  It was such a good experience. I would do it over and over again. octnovBefore I left for Iceland, my parents said when I was back I needed to get a job, that was fine and I had been looking previously. Well it turns out luck was on my side because the day after I got back from Iceland I got myself a job. It’s really interesting and I am so excited for the business to succeed. It also means I get to work in the centre of the city which is really handy and will be great when one of my friends moves back into the city.   decDecember was a lot of fun but there was also a big shock to my household. It was scary and truly showed me what to be thankful for and what not to waste energy on. With that I booked my next adventure. Thinking that money can’t give you much sitting in an account, they adventure is priceless. Christmas was lovely, I got to spend it with my family and it was so relaxing. I got lovely things and was so happy to give people I care about the gifts they had wanted. I also spoiled myself a lot this month most notably in this shop so now I have to calm down and save for more adventures.

2015 had no where near as many downs as last year and that is so nice to say. I have learnt quite a lot about myself and others and it’s invaluable. I completed 5 things off my bucket list this year which is wonderful! I cannot wait for 2016 and to see where it takes me. There are a few goals I have for 2016 so they will be coming soon!

Lastly, thank you so much for reading my blog. I just want The Start and The Bean to be a resource for like minded people. Thank you! I hope your 2016 is fantastic!

Happy Travels!

In Life: I Miss You

I have been to 22 countries and most of them I have really loved seeing and am so happy I went but there are two that make my heart ache because I am not there constantly.

I have visited these in the past two years and I miss them so much.

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I was ridiculously excited to go to South Africa because I had wanted to see animals in the wild since I was 6. I didn’t think that this country would have such an impact on me but for the past year I have thought about South Africa every single day.

I miss the landscapes, the wildlife, the ocean, the mountains, the food (I really liked the food, my family are more fancy than me) I miss PicknPay and Woolworths, I miss the oranges, I miss seeing bakkies with a braai on the back. I miss the dry heat. I miss how blue the sky and sea were, sometimes split by green mountains.

I just miss it. A tiny piece of me was left there, I will be back to get it soon.

South Africa (1)

I have been to Iceland three times this year, have I mentioned that? Maybe just a little. I have completely fallen head over heels for this island. I love everything about this country (bar the tourists) It is small enough to drive around within a week but has so much to see and do that you’ll want to stay forever!

I miss the waterfalls and the mountains, I miss the glaciers and the snow. Driving for hours and hours, finding more and more beautiful things. Seeing black sand for the first time, watching the icebergs shift and move. Hearing a glacier creek. Sitting behind a waterfall for ages looking at how amazing it is. I even miss the small amount of food I ate in my crappy van, grape Appelsín, Floridana juice, donuts in every garage, hotdogs, bacon wrapped hotdogs! I ate very well on my travels!

I miss Iceland completely, utterly, totally. I will never be done exploring this incredible country!

It’s odd to feel this way about places but it’s also really nice to know I have found places that I will go back to over and over and still love them as much as the first time I went.

Is there a place that makes you feel like this? Let me know in the comments!

Happy Travels!

In Outdoor Gear: Hiking Boots

I decided to get my first pair of hiking boots after I took a trip to Mayo and I walked in the rain, on some cliffs, in a pair of Converse. Understandably, it wasn’t a good time, I slipped and fell down countless times. It was from that point I knew I needed to get a pair of boots.

Now my parents aren’t the hiking type, they also deem most of my purchases a waste, I will use that engraver tool one day, just you wait and see. I found The North Face Berkley boots in the shoe shop Office on Carnaby street, London and I needed them! You see my favourite colour is blue and every other colour on the blue spectrum. So when I saw the teal laces I knew they had to be mine!

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The Berkley boot is a really comfortable shoe, it is a great boot for walking on a trail in some maintained forests…you see where I am going. They aren’t really a hiking boot. Although it’s comfortable and has ankle support. It is lacking in the waterproof department. Going through any Irish terrain just floods these beauties, which is such a shame. I think if you are a very light hiker then these are the ones for you.

I needed some more durable boots because I was going to Iceland. I have talked way too much about Iceland but still. I needed something that would keep my feet dry and warm. Living in the back of a van with pneumonia, is no bueno!

In With The New

DSC_5616Enter the Meindl boot! Aren’t they pretty. There aren’t many places (I can think of) that caters to outdoor wear. I know of 53 Degrees North, The Great Outdoors and Snow and Rock but other than that I don’t know where is a good place in Dublin to try on a pair of boots. I went to the Great Outdoors as their selection is a lot bigger that other shops.

I wanted them to be waterproof, durable, leather and nice looking because practicality and style are a wonderful combination. So here they are. They are the Meindl Bhutan Lady MFS and although they were expensive, they were €250. Gasp, I know, they are an investment.

I wore these all around Iceland and they are really a great boot. They kept my feet dry and warm and made me feel a lot more grounded when I was scaling rocks and walking on slippery mud.

One thing I always worry about is getting sore feet with new shoes, especially boots! I wore these in my house for about a week leading up to my trip and went for a walk in them and then it was my adventures in Iceland and the initial breaking in of the boot was really great. No lesions or blisters, ew I know, but there was none of that! Although they are not fully broken in at all really, I think I can say that it’s not going to be torture and that they will be really very comfortable! *Nope, I think the boots heard me, I don’t have heels anymore.

So if you have any questions about this boot let me know!

Happy Hiking!

In Life: My First Solo Travel Experience

Smith & SonsStory Time

I never get stressed before I fly I have been flying for years and I know what to do, it’s all good. This was not the case right before my first solo trip. I didn’t know where my passport was, I was dealing with a suitcase, weight restrictions and no online check-in and I got very angry.

Before I went my wonderful friend Jess, The Gap Year Guru, told me that problem solving was going to be the thing that made all the difference and if a problem did occur, being by yourself is going to be a much bigger challenge. I nodded and didn’t think much more about it. Don’t worry Jess, your words would come to fruition!

Day 1

As in most cases there was no need to be stressed at all. I got to the airport, sent my case away and got on my plane. Had a row to myself, I got to nap. All fine.

So as I stepped off the plane in Iceland, My laces got caught in my hiking boot eyelets and I fell over and grazed my knee, hilarious, if only I could have a gif of my falling over, it would actually make any situation a million times better. I am laughing thinking about it now but yes, I was in a lot of pain but I got my bag and changed my shoes and everything was fine!

I got picked up by my rental company and I got given my camper. I went to the shops and then I drove all day to the glacial lagoon. Wonderful, productive first day. Hurray!

Day 2

What a glorious morning, I wake up, go to the black sand iceberg beach at sunrise, take some photos, get annoyed by an ignorant german guy who kept standing right in front of me when I was taking photos. Swine! I then go back to the glacial lagoon, spot a seal, take some pictures, go for a walk. I then go back to the beach to take more shots. When I get back to my car to go off on my adventures, I can’t find my phone…I lost my black phone on a black sand beach. Well the profanities that were coming from me at this time was unnatural and I started to cry, then I started to problem solve.

I thought to myself, do I have to drive the 6 hours back to Reykjavik to buy a new phone? Do I go to a petrol station and ask to call home? How am I supposed to navigate anywhere? At this point I realised just how handy the damn things are!

Thankfully after two rounds of retracing my steps, two lovely girls held up my phone, I thank them profusely and I then went to hug an iceberg with happiness. Thank you kind strangers, I would have been lost without you!

Day 3 + 4

So these two days were fine, I drove, I explored, I went for walks, ate hotdogs, grand stuff. Apart from cooking, that really did suck. I can’t cook and I gave up pretty quickly. Also I did have to sleep in a petrol station car park because I was exhausted and the campsite in town was closed. Kind of felt like a tramp but gave up feeling anything once I was watching Firefly snuggled up in my sleeping bag.

Day 5

My final day, I had gone over my miles in the car so I decided to stay in Reykjavik and explore more, walk the entire length and breath of the city centre. I get quite weird on my own in a city, I feel like I should rush through things, I have no idea why I do this. It was getting pretty exhausting trying to find things to do and I had eaten everything I could. I now had to find a petrol station close to the airport that I could sleep in.

Luckily my parents rang me and said that they had booked me a cheap hotel room really close to the airport. I cried with happiness because living out of a van and walking/driving all day is extremely tiring. I drove to the hotel, got lost, had a cry, got into my room and at 7pm I fell asleep. Woke up at half 2 in the morning, watched some YouTube, ate some breakfast and left for the airport. Nothing could stop me…

Oh wait, everything can.

Getting to the airport

You see, I wrote an entire blog post about my rental. It sucked and at this point I hated it, like with a fiery passion!

It was really dark on the roads and the road I needed to take to get to the airport was closed, so I cried, I was driving around trying to find an exit and I go down a dead end.

This is where it gets fun; there was a giant patch of water in the middle of the road, that I didn’t see and of course I drive into it, I quickly get out of it and try to turn around but it’s too late. The wheels sort of lock up and I am in a lane behind a Subway and I can’t turn my wheels. I thought, I am 5km away from the airport, how am I going to get there, am I going to have to abandon the camper, there are no taxis anywhere. I cry more and I am just so done with this camper, it is a piece of shit. Thankfully I get out of this situation. Park at the airport. Run far far away from the camper and go stand in line for a hour to get on my flight. Then home.

What I learned:

  1. I am a stress cryer. I don’t mind a good cry to cleanse you of woes but good god I cried a lot! When I was in a tight spot I just started to weep. Damn it tear ducts!
  2. I do things very quickly. When you are with people you saunter places, you stop and chat and take pictures but when you are on your own, there is nothing left to do. I am Speedy Gonzales. In theory I could have driven the entire island in my 5 days but I didn’t know how quickly I could tick stuff off my list.
  3. I don’t need to talk to people. I think some people may have gone insane with the lack of human interaction I found myself in. I think some days I talked to one person. That is ok to me.
  4. Despite all this, I really do want someone or a small group of people who I can travel with. I like being by myself and doing my own thing but I’d like to have the option. I just haven’t found them.
  5. I am very capable. I have always known this but it’s nice to have confirmation. I can book, travel, explore, everything, by myself. Although I do ring home to talk things out, I can do it. It’s a nice feeling.
  6. I have a great relationship with my family. They may drive me mad at times but they get me, I am a product of their madness and it’s always nice to know that I can call and they will listen. Most people see this as a weakness and think that I get home sick because I call them. Thats not the case. It’s because I feel comfortable talking to them, I trust them when I may not be comfortable or trust talking to others.
  7. Taking pictures of yourself is such an ordeal! I know I could have asked people but I don’t like doing that. Also setting up a tripod is annoying. I saw a solo traveller take some photos of herself and I just wanted to give her props for not caring and doing her thing. I am not there yet.
  8. 5 days was a little long for what I had planned. This is something that will always be hit or miss. Maybe I should be the type that doesn’t plan too much and just go off and come back whenever.

Would I solo travel again? Hell yes! I love doing things my way, answering to no one and not worrying what my travel party thinks of me. It’s so refreshing.

Would I drive solo again? Yes! There is nothing better than being independent. I love driving and the freedom it gives. I will happily rent a car all around the globe if I can.

I think if you are like me and are socially capable but just not forward, start small and work your way up. Get comfortable with yourself in solo situations. That does sound strange but what I mean is, I didn’t know I would cry so much, I didn’t know how quickly I would get stuff done. Start small and see what happens, then go on to bigger and better projects.

Or just jump right in, who am I to tell you anything!

If you are taking your first solo trip I wish you all the luck and hope your tear ducts don’t explode like mine!

Happy Travels!

In Life: I Won A Competition!!

So I won the most amazing opportunity to go see Kings Of Leon in Iceland! WOW Air posted the giveaway on their Facebook and I commented not thinking anything of it. When they posted that I won I was ecstatic! Not only go I get to see a band I was obsessed with in secondary school, I get free flights to see them in one of my favourite places!

I collected the tickets in the WOW Air offices and noticed that there was just an A+ on the tickets and didn’t know what that meant but was happy anyway. Turns out they are tickets into the A+ section of the hall, right at the top. So I got to stand at the barrier a stones throw away from them.

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Supporting The Kings were Kaleo, an Icelandic band who I had never heard of but I really enjoyed their music, every song sounded slightly different and were all full of energy and Jökull, the vocalist’s voice is beautiful!

PhoebeGill150813002-1The venue was pretty small but that made the experience really quite nice, the noise level was no different than that of a bigger gig. PhoebeGill150813008-1I only have these shots from the video I took. I find video is way better for depicting a concert so I will be uploading the footage onto youtube soon!  PhoebeGill150813008-2Many many moons ago I would have stood on Jared’s side of the stage but I am happy I stood at Matts. He is so wonderfully smiley and is a fantastic guitarist.
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I loved this concert. After so many years of loving their music and seeing them back in 2008, they are still so fun to go and see. I am so thankful to WOW Air for the chance to go see them again.

I got two full days in Reykjavik so there will be more blog posts coming very very soon!

Happy Travels!