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 a very last minute decision I decided to go to the first ever BloggerConf event. Held in the very pretty Marker Hotel in Grand Canal Square on a very cold Sunday, bloggers gathered together to listen and engage in every aspect of the blogging world.

One thing that I thought was fantastic, was that the conference was very inclusive. It wasn’t just the big bloggers or all beauty bloggers, it was lots of different people of all ages coming together to share their stories. Although I think there was a lack of travel bloggers, to be fair I just want a room of us all together sharing stories and showing off our photos from our travels, it was a great event!

Each speaker brought something different to the table. Joan Mulvihill, the CEO Irish Internet Association, gave a really important talk emphasising  that we need to be responsible when making online content, this is something that I think is crucial when making any blog posts, Youtube videos, tweets, Instagrams, all of them. Not to say you can’t speak your mind or you have to completely sensor yourself but it is the way in which you communicate, the way in which you use the internet is very important, especially if you have an audience.

Samantha Kelly, TweetingGoddess, spoke about the wonders of twitter and  how being kind online is really important. I completely agree, I have had multiple people online respect the fact that I don’t name call or get defensive in an online debate. Talking to people like you would if they were face to face is something that a lot of people forget about when they are behind a keyboard.

Simeon Quarrie is a wonderful speaker, he is funny and engaging. He talked about cameras, one of my favourite things, as a photographer they are essential, he gave loads of vlogging advise and camera kit recommendations.

Anouska Proetta Brandon gave a talk about her photography. I remember back when flickr was used, I saw her photography and that led me to her blog. She has an incredible eye for imagery and design. Her content is always high quality and consistent.

There were other panels and talks that gave lots of information and advice. I went to this conference because I really wanted to start upping my game in the blogging world and there was one thing that everyone said to do and that is ‘find you niche.’

I know that having a niche focuses the attention but to be honest, no one is one thing or another. We are all multifaceted with so many opinions and interests and if I want to talk about science or nature or food, I will because thats what I like, that’s what I am interested in and my blog is mine.

Perhaps one day I will have a niche but the BloggerConf made me realise that I don’t want to fill my blog with ads, I don’t want to make lots of money off this blog or my YouTube and I don’t really want to be a brand. What I want is for this blog, like when I started it, to document my time, for it to be a resource for travel and to maybe start a conversation with people from all around the globe.

I will definitely go to the next one and I will probably go to lots of other conferences in the future but right now there is no pressure to make this my carer or make money. My goal is to make useful content, get better at whatever I do, be it blogging, vlogging or general digital media and to meet like minded people.

The conference gave lots of really useful information and tips. It started great conversations and was incredibly interactive, also there was goodie bag so I definitely recommend going next year!

Have you been to a blogging or vlogging event? Do you recommend it? 

Happy Travels!

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!

My Thoughts on Things: Food

I don’t really know how to start this post but I suppose I should make myself as clear as possible. I don’t want your opinion. I am sure you are a wonderful person with lots of feelings and opinions on a myriad of different topics but to be quite frank, I just don’t care.

We are constantly surrounded by opinions. Most people look at Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, Facebook and YouTube as a way to show what you are eating, doing, buying etc. In other words, pics or it didn’t happen. The way I see it is that all of the posts we make, are our opinions on what the world has to offer and one thing that is so prevalent is commenting and posting about food.

Veganism, vegetarianism, paleo, raw, raw till 4, pescetarian, high carb, low carb. There are so many ways of eating, the list is endless. Now I have no problem with how people eat, if you want to go vegan, go you, that is great but when you start telling people everyone should be vegan and you are an idiot if you aren’t. That’s when I have a problem.

You have no idea what someones relationship with food is. We know more now than ever, there are so many articles and books and videos about the food industry but sometimes it can get so exhausting and overwhelming. A while back I just broke down because food and weight seemed to be everywhere and I couldn’t just process all the information in my own time.

I want to reiterate, my own time, you may have found the way you want to eat but not everyone is there, give people the information and then shut up. I have a friend, who I do love dearly but she condemns you if you know they information about the food industry and you aren’t vegan and I have said this to her face, that I hate the way she discusses veganism.

I decided I was only going to listen to people who approached their way of eating with informed decisions and the ability to share without shaming. Look at Manda Louise on YouTube, she has inspired me.   

Saying ‘well if everyone just’…

This gets to me, I think it is such an uneducated response. Yes if you live in Australia you can have every fruit and vegetable you could ever want but now compare Australia to Iceland. Iceland cannot grow most fruit and vegetables. They are trying to grow their own with greenhouses but before that there wasn’t an option.

When people say ‘but if everyone in America could just be vegan there would be no problem’ sure, the wealthy parts of America. There are loads of kids in America that go to school hungry because their families can’t afford breakfast.

People need to stop looking at rich California and assuming that everything is great and we should all follow the Cali vegan lifestyle where everyone eats kale and can eat out in vegan restaurants every night. It’s just not real.

Education is what the world needs. Not the education that involves vegans shaming other people, one YouTuber giving one link to Peta’s website or watching the Kardashians eat salads. We need transparency within the food industry with how our food is grown, reared, cultivated and killed. We need mandatory culinary/nutritional education in schools. We need a bottle of water to be cheaper than a can of coke.

Basically, everyone is on their own path, if you have information, share it round but don’t get angry if the people around you don’t want to know, talk about how you eat and share delicious food, because sooner or later people may cut down their consumption, make sure they are using locally grown food, trying to get as natural products as possible, use alternatives where they can.

I hope this makes sense, it’s been on my mind so long that sometimes it can come out like the rapids. Thanks for reading beans!

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.