Preparing For Ireland

Preparing For Ireland

I should probably think of a ‘series title’ to append to the title of all my posts about my trip to Ireland this year, because there are going to be a lot of them. It’s a substantial trip (even if 16 days doesn’t sound long to those accustomed to major holidays), and there’s a lot to say about it. It’s also the first time I’ve gone on holiday completely on my own, so it’s going to be a learning curve of juggling the independence with the solitude and lack of help.

My preparation is far from complete, but I’ve made some progress.

Over the last couple of days I have:

  • Finally booked the last two nights of accommodation that I procrastinated doing until now. I don’t know why I did that. I just suck at getting on with things.
  • Started calculating costs to figure out how many euros I need to convert to avoid using my card abroad and incurring major bank fees.
  • Ordered a new lightweight suitcase. (Travelling alone means I need to be able to lift my own case on and off the buses I’m taking between cities. I am not strong. New suitcase was required.)
  • Looked up opening times for some of the visitor centres and exhibitions I’m going to.
    • Although I’ve lost where I wrote down some of them, so I’m going to need to research where I’m going all over again. Sigh.
  • Looked up bus timetables, realised they don’t all work for me, and started researching taxis.
    • This involved contacting one of the hostels I’m staying in for information, because it’s not easy to find direct info about taxis on the internet. They haven’t got back to me yet but I still feel like an adult for getting around to emailing them and not overthinking it for hours.

A bit longer ago, I also bought a new, supportive and lightweight rucksack to carry around, which is large enough that hopefully I can arrange my luggage to contain what I need for the hostels where I’m only staying a night or two, in order to avoid opening up my suitcase every time and then having to repack it.

In the next week I still need to:

  • Find my passport and EHIC card (though the latter might have expired, whoops).
  • Convert the appropriate amount of euros and then find places to put them where they won’t all be gone if I lose part of my luggage.
  • Print out bus timetables and maps in case internet access fails me.
  • Figure out what leaked in my toiletries bag and wash it out so that it’s actually possible to use it.
  • Make a packing list.
    • Obviously I’ll have to actually pack, but knowing me I’ll leave that until the night before. Making a list ought to mean it doesn’t take long and the stuff I need isn’t in the wash.
  • Schedule blog posts and do other internet maintenancy things. (Like finally getting through all my emails.)
  • Try to avoid freaking out because I’m taking a plane on my own and I hate doing that.
  • Figure out how I’m going to get to the airport because I’ve never been to London City Airport before.
  • Empty my camera memory card and make sure it’s fully charged. Find my video camera and do the same thing to that.

I feel like I’ve made good progress, but there’s still a lot to do. The problem with preparing for holidays is that I tend to get extremely anxious about everything (about going away generally, about the specifics of going away on my own, about coping with being coeliac away from home, etc etc), and when I’m anxious I don’t think properly and then I forget important things. I managed to forget some pills when we went to Cornwall and had to go to the pharmacy and ask for an emergency supply to tide me over, because I’m useless like that. I won’t be able to do that in Ireland, since I won’t be covered by the NHS, so I need to make sure I actually pack them.

I’m also currently trying to figure out the logistics of musical instruments. I’ll probably just be taking my whistles and maybe an egg shaker or two, because I don’t think I can take my violin on the plane without making special arrangements, but maybe I should practice a bit before I go? I’m very rusty on the whistle; I’ve barely played recently. I don’t want to embarrass myself in front of actual folk musicians, on the chance that I encounter any, but I would really like to join in a session somewhere if it’s at all possible. I’ve always been too shy in the past, staying on the edges unless I know the group, but like… I’m in Ireland, on my own, trying to immerse myself. I should at the very least get a couple of tunes in, right?

So that’s all happening in my brain, even if it’s not particularly visible to the outside world.

Anyway, as I continue getting ready for this trip, I’ll also continue boring you all to death with it. I guess if nothing else, it makes up for my weeks of silence where I failed at blogging — if you’ve ever wished that I’d post more, this is your fault. I am granting your wishes and you will regret them.

If anyone here has experience of Dublin, I’d love to know a few things, like how much food tends to cost in supermarkets (particularly gluten-free food), and whether there are any lesser-known things I should make sure to visit, even if they’re off the beaten track for tourists. Likewise for Donegal, because I’m there for a couple of days and I have no idea what I’m going to do in that time, haha.

In the meantime, I still have 90-something emails to get through before I leave. I should get started on that.

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