Let me tell you my story about doing something out of the ordinary.Thinking back now, it was something quite courageous to do, something I wouldn’t have done unless I would have been in a certain age, enough carefree, curious and open minded to put myself in such a situation.
I can’t remember the exact moment when I made the decision to “stretch my legs again”, but one evening I decided to book a ticket to Ireland, and flew there the next day. The only reason for the choice of country was simply that I found a cheap last minute ticket to Dublin, and that they spoke English which would make it easier for me to find a job.
So I flew in to Dublin, not knowing anybody, not having a particular plan, just me and my suitcase. The following day I saw a note on a hostel notice board from a lady looking for help with her Bed and Breakfast. I called her immediately, and after the phone call I was already on the bus across Ireland, to County Claire on the west cost.
I ended up in Doolin, a town, well, Im not sure it’s even allowed to called it a village, as it had one shop, ehm maybe rather a kiosk, a pub and a golf field. However, what I did not know was that it was just a stones throw away from Ireland’s most popular tourist attraction the cliffs of Moher.The family I worked for was nothing but eccentric. The owner of the B&B was a loud and talkative lady. She also owned the local pub. The father of the family was a mountain climber. He was most of the time away climbing mountains in France. The younger one of the two daughters was an opera singer, the elder daughter a bank investor. Included in the family was also the demented grand mum with a memory span of five minutes (I still recall how she every five minutes asked me where I came from and how surprised she looked every time she heard I came from Finland!) and last but not least, the sympathetic dog called George.
Naturally, there wasn’t much to do in Doolin. It didn’t really bother me as I was mostly working anyway. I became quite acquainted with the chef in the B&B, a middle aged woman with a really good spirit. We used to take a pint at the local pub after work and listen to live music played by the locals. The guest coming to the B&B were quite amusing as well. On my days off I took a bus to one of the nearest towns or cities like Lisdoonvarna, Ennis, or even Limerick and Galway. There was exactly one bus leaving from Doolin 8 am in the morning, and one bus at 8 pm coming back. If I went further I had to change bus in Ennis. No buses on Sundays. Other challenges of living in such a small place were that I had to walk five kilometers one way to do my grocery shopping, unless the family wasn’t on their way to the nearest town. Nevertheless, I loved it there.
I had bought a bus ticket to Galway and booked a hostel. My plan was to stay there and look for jobs. However, it didn’t quite work out the way I had planed. I had made it to Ennis and changed to a bus which I thought was going to Galway. With my natural instinct of getting lost, this was of course not the case. It wasn’t before I got off the bus when I realized that I had arrived in Cork. It was late evening and I had accommodation booked in a hostel 200 km north from where I was.
After the first minute panic, I decided to ask passer-bys for directions to any hostel. I was pointed up the hill across the river Lee. The first hostel I arrived at was fully booked, but the staff kindly called another hostel and confirmed there was some space for me.
The hostel was basic to say the least, but the owner was the coolest lady in town. I ended up living there for four months until I moved in to an apartment. It turned out there were 15 other people in my situation staying at that hostel. People from all around the world, in my age, traveling alone, looking for jobs or wanting to learn English or just there to do something different. I’m sure I will never again be in a situation where I have 15 room mates, doing everything together, cooking, eating, going to the pub and traveling around Ireland.
I never ended up putting that job in Doolin on my CV. However, I guess the story is evidence that making mistakes may actually lead you to new exciting situations you never would have experienced if things would have gone according to plan.
* the tile refers to the popular song Galway girl that was played in the pubs in Doolin and Cork.