In Life: 2016 According to My Instagram

Oh 2016, I didn’t like you very much. 2016 was a really horrible year for a lot of people all over the world. Too many mornings I woke up to horrible news and it was heart breaking. It’s also been a really hard year for people I care about and that sucks. This is going to be a bit different than the previous years. I am just going to show you my travel of this year. The personal bits aren’t mine to share. So here is where I went in 2016.


I took a trip to Clare, I had a bucket list item booked and I thought I would see a new county in the process. Seeing the Cliffs of Moher and roaming in the Burren was a great start to my adventures and then a helicopter flight over the area was the cherry on top. I absolutely loved every moment of that trip.


This was a fun month because I went away twice this month. I decided to go to Mayo and make some new memories and just drive around to clear my head. There is nothing better than driving around exploring and finding beautiful places. Mayo Triptych.jpgI then went on my first overseas flight of the year. I had been planning this since December of last year and I was not disappointed. I flew to Norway, hired a camper van and I drove around for three days and it was an incredible, awe inspiring experience. I didn’t sleep well or eat well and I drove for 14 hours at one point but it was incredible. I drove from one side of Norway to the other and I loved every second. Norway Triptych.jpg


I went to London to visit a friend, it was hot and familiar, beautiful and relaxing. I got to do lots of new things I’d never done before and it was great. London is a city I love and I will be back time and time again and to have such a lovely experience with friends was wonderful.London Triptych.jpg


I took a birthday trip to Donegal. Except I didn’t like it so you didn’t see anything about it on here. So here are some shots from Slieve League which was nice but very windy.Donegal.jpg


I went to Stockholm for TBex but I loved Stockholm so much that I didn’t go to the conference once and went all around the city, exploring and taking in as much as I could. I had such an amazing time I don’t regret it at all. It is such a beautiful city and I am desperate to see it in Winter, I will be back.Stockholm Triptych.jpg


I went to Kilkenny to visit a friend and be tourists for a bit. We went to Dunmore caves and they were absolutely amazing. Can’t recommend them enough!kk


I took a trip to Kerry to go back to Dingle, a place I had visited as a kid. I wanted to go back to the palces I used to go and see what’s changed or what hadn’t. I suppose it was quieter back then, not as many tourists but still as wondrously beautiful. Kerry Triptych.jpg


Now this month is very special but I can tell you right now, I didn’t take enough photos. You see I had again planned this trip since December of last year. I have wanted to go to this place for about nine years. I booked my flights and got everything together to experience somewhere so special, I went to Japan. Now I haven’t written a word about this trip yet but just wait because it’s coming. I have lots in the works and I will give you everything I experienced this coming year but for now have a sneak peak of somewhere so wonderful and that I miss very much. japan.jpg

I had a great year of travel and even personally it wasn’t a bad year but there was a lot of loss this year and it spilled over into my life. I am not going to go into detail but I am sad for the people who lost loved ones this year. I am hopeful for the new year and the potential for what it can bring. I am excited to see more and do more and I will bring you along with me.

So with all that said. Thank you my dear beans. Thank you for reading my ramblings and liking what I do. I hope you have the most wonderful 2017. Be good to each other and be kind to yourself. Cheers to a new year.

Happy Travels!

In Life: A Perfect Sunday

So for many reasons, most notably I am very grateful for the ability to move and the fact that I am reasonably healthy, I decided to go for a hike on Sunday. I have decided to get out and do more on the weekends since I sit at a desk all week.

I left the house at 7:30am to do the 45 minute drive to Glendalough, somewhere I love and go to an awful lot. I was the first person in the car park, I love being the first person in a car park. PhoebeGill160110052This hike is a part of the white route in Glendalough, there are a lot of rocks as the path winds up the hill. I see various outfits whenever I’ve walked up here. I’ve seen hiking poles, I’ve been waterproofs and thick coats, I’ve seen shorts and gym gear. My suggestion is you wear any shoe with good enough ankle support, bring gloves because the wind comes down this valley and it can get quite cold, especially in winter. Also wear something that is comfortable, I’ve done this hike in jeans in the height of summer…terrible terrible decision! Like awful! Just wear exercise clothes or sweatpants, be comfy! I also recommend water and a clementine. Clementines are fantastic! PhoebeGill160110061Take note, in this area there is lots of wildlife! I love looking at the side of the hill and spotting all the deer and the feral goats. I like the feral goats, I was hiking in a spot close to here and I heard a noise above me, I look up to see a line of goats wandering on the side of the hill. I then called the person I was with and they thought I was mad but believe me there are goats, look out for them they are pretty cool! PhoebeGill160110094The hike up is fun, there is a gorgeous waterfall that is now strong and thunderous, it’s pretty great! The view from the top is amazing and I love it. I have so many memories around this place! PhoebeGill160110088Once I reached the top I realised how much snow had fallen the night before. I knew that the fact I am like a new born giraffe on ice meant that I probably shouldn’t walk up the mountain ridge. I met two dogs and their human said that it was quite icy on the walk so that only confirmed that I should venture any further. PhoebeGill160110105Once I descended the hill I got back to my car and drove up to the top of Glendalough to see more snow. I got to see the most gorgeous view of the Wicklow gap. Snow makes me ridiculously happy! Ever since 2010 I have learnt that in Wicklow it snows and that if it’s not too bad I can drive around and go see it. I love snow, it makes all my memories happier and warm. PhoebeGill160110179Although I was giddy at the prospect of new powder hugging the ground, my heels at this point were on fire! I needed to break in those Mendel boots I bought for Iceland, I did walking in Iceland but I didn’t do any hiking, so this was their first proper outing…ouchy!PhoebeGill160110185I then drove home with a stupidly big smile on my face and donned some blister plasters and spent the rest of the day relaxing.

My definition of a perfect Sunday!


What’s your perfect day? Tell me in the comments! 

Happy Travels!

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.


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: Changing

I watch a lot of YouTube and I make videos, I know people talk a lot of crap in the comments section and go out of their way to make rude comments. I once commented on a random video, one person didn’t like what I had to say, went over to my channel and called me ugly. People think they are invincible behind a keyboard most of it I can ignore but there is one comment I just can’t abide.

“You’ve changed, I want the old you back”

What a ridiculous statement to make! I find it absurd. I love changing and I have done it a lot. From the time I was able to pick out my own clothes and wear makeup I was able to change how I was at any given moment. I have changed styles, I have changed how much makeup I wear, I have changed what type of music I listen to, I have changed what I am interested in, I have changed my opinions and my beliefs.

It’s not that I am fake or that I am easily influenced, I am still me but I try new things that are around me. I will do it all so I can see where I fit. Changing is scary but it’s also amazing.

People are incredibly complex, they are products of what is around them. There are so many cultures to learn from, so much history to think about. The world is filled with incredible things to see and do, listen to, eat and understand. I feel if you stay the same your entire life you aren’t giving yourself your best chance. Be a mix of everything you encounter, everything you take in.

Don’t be afraid to change your mind, question things, try to understand something new, experience something new. Changing is inevitable and wonderful. Don’t just follow along or if you do want to follow along, don’t ridicule people who are changing or trying something new. They are trying to fit in to where they belong. That is their path to find.

I am changing all of the time and it’s nice to think I don’t have to be one kind of person or have one certain mindset for the rest of my life. Things are going to change and that’s ok.

Thanks for reading my beans!

Let me know your thoughts on this thing! 

*I do want to add that if your path leads you to really damaging, dangerous things maybe don’t try them, maybe sit back down and try knitting or something.

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.


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.

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!

In Life: #AnimalRightsInTourism

So I saw this hashtag on Twitter and I am glad I clicked on it, on my recent trip to Croatia I encountered two cases of terrible animal captivity and it is still affecting me since I have come home. This twitter movement was stirred up because of a new documentary Blood Lions, all about shooting lions for money in South Africa, it goes into the breeding of lions and the people who enjoy killing an animal. This prospect to me is very interesting and am very intrigued to see it!

Being conscious of how we interact with animals is something I am very passionate about. Especially when we travel. It sometimes feels like when we are abroad we forget about the ethical rights and focus on a cool experience. Holding a monkey or a bird on a string in the street, petting wild animals, elephant rides or swimming with dolphins. They are all things I struggle with. I don’t intend to shame anyone who has had or wants to do these experiences. I want to make that very clear. Having this conversation is not a threat but a sharing of an idea that you can agree or disagree with.

My own personal stance is I would rather save up all of my money, every cent, to go back to Kruger National Park and experience wild animals in that way. I don’t want to go to a sanctuary and pet them, I even had the chance to go to a sanctuary and didn’t feel comfortable with it. I want to drive for hours and experience something so utterly amazing, an animal in the wild. Similarly with whale watching, I would also have the same stance with whales, dolphins and sharks. Seeing these creatures with all of that space and freedom is what I would prefer to experience.

Animals in Captivity

Now some zoos are good and I will support their dedication to protecting and educating the public about the creatures of the world. Some are terrible and unfortunately you may not know which is which until you enter the gates. I still struggle with zoos sometimes because yes there isn’t enough space for these animals but outside of these spaces, they are being poached or pushed out of their habitats with no where to go. Nothing is simple in the world we have created. Nothing. I am still trying to figure out how I can live in the world with minimal impact.

I understand the reality that experiencing an animal up close is what people want, they are incredible believe me there is nothing more I want to do than snuggle a red panda or feed a slow loris some mango and hold it’s tiny hand but there is always something that stops me and that is what goes on after all the people go home. When members of the public own these animals, when they are on the streets at night time or on a beach what happens when they go home.

My point is that supporting breeding programs and educating yourself or younger generations is incredibly important. I want to start being more engaged with the information I take in. I don’t want to be a spectator and I have had this feeling for a while now and this hashtag has inspired me a bit.

I am going to try something starting this Sunday and I hope that this is going to be received well. I have been feeling like I need to talk about this for a while so I hope it is welcomed.

So my Beans, will you look up #AnimalRightsInTourism ? Do you like knowing about different animals in the world and what best way to see them or help them?

Happy Travels!