Thursday, July 28, 2011

Explanations and Beginnings

Let me explain the premise behind this trip. It’s not just some after-college joyride (though there’s certainly an element of that). It’s a quest. If you’ve heard this first hand and want to skip to the itinerary, go ahead and scroll down. The explanation of how I got myself into this follows. Here goes:

I started college like any other poor delusional freshman: absolutely clueless and completely unprepared. My plan was based on the fact that I liked animals. If you want the best chance at getting into Texas A&M’s vet school, you go to Texas A&M. So I did. I decided to major in “Biomedical Sciences” to prepare, after which I would save all the little fuzzies of the world and live happily ever after among an exponentially increasing influx of newborn kittens. Little did I know that Pre-Vet students are Fucking Rabid. For some reason it’s way more difficult to get into vet school than it is to get into med school, and the die-hard animal saving lunatics are ready to study their hardest and volunteer their life away for those few chairs in that non-air conditioned auditorium. Sadly, I wasn’t that dedicated. Sure, I loved animals, but I wanted to party during school and actually have a life. I was free. I was young. I was newly single. Why the hell not?

Right. So after my freshman year was over I had my first “Oh, shit” epiphany after finals methodically raped me. I switched to Microbiology. I’d like to tell you that I had great reasons behind this decision. Sadly, I can’t. I still hadn’t woken up to the looming future. I looked at the majors in the biology department because it wouldn’t interrupt my plan of getting out of there in four years. Microbiology looked the coolest, so I chose that. Who doesn’t want to hear about flesh-eating bacteria and Ebola?

It wasn’t until the end of my sophomore year that I had that second glorious “Oh, shit” moment. I was graduating in two years, and it seemed like everyone had a plan but me. It also didn’t help that I hung out with ambitious, driven people. (In hindsight, I should have hung with the hippies). I was also still in the mindset that if you didn’t have a plan, you weren’t going to accomplish anything. So I tried to think. What did I like? What did I want to do? What would I be proud to be? I had no idea. I hadn’t really figured that out yet.

So I floated around, catching on ideas and briefly running with each for a time. The idea I got hooked on the longest was medical school, but after 100+ hours in the trenches of St. Joseph’s hierarchical medical society, I wanted to kill someone. I don’t think I can handle that kind of unending stress. I had found myself in yet another batch of Arrogant Fucking Lunatics. But I digress. Back to the subject at hand.

I realized that I didn’t have enough experience to figure out what I wanted to do yet. I hadn’t really been anywhere or seen anything. I wasn’t passionate about anything. I had no drive or purpose. How could I make decisions when I had no experiences to base those decisions off of? I should also note that I had been itching to escape College Station, TX ever since I came here eight years ago. I had lots of friends and family here, sure, but I was pretty tired of it already. Like I said, I wanted to see things. I had experienced both the non-collegiate and the collegiate side of C-stat. It was time to move on.

My Dad was the one who actually got me hooked on this idea. He showed me a website ( where families from around the world put up detailed ads about the help they need. There’s a general agreement that they will feed and house you in return for a few hours of indentured servitude each day. Details are worked out between the people involved. What better way for a broke-ass freshly-out-of-college kid to see the world? I was ecstatic.

For my first time abroad I wanted to be able to at least understand the people around me, so I decided to stick to the UK and Ireland. I began contacting all sorts of people in January of 2011 about helping out after I graduated. I got my first acceptance in March. A lot happened after that, but this is where I am now.

My life, as outlined from here until Christmas:

  • July 26th – August 2nd: Visit family in Colorado
  • August 5th – August 7th: Visit family in Indiana and hopefully absorb horse whisperer knowledge
  • August 8th – 10th: Try to sell all of my stuff. (Call me if you want something. Seriously. Please.)
  • August 10th: Move out of my apartment.
  • August 12th: Graduate from Texas A&M University (Whoop!), and go out for one last booze-tastic hurrah with my American buddies.
  • August 13th: Celebrate my Mother’s birthday and hopefully recover from earlier boozing.
  • August 14th, 8:35pm: Leave the country
  • August 15th: Arrive in Edinburgh, Scotland. Wait around 7 hours, and then take another flight to Cork, Ireland. Spend the night in Cork.
  • Aug 16th – Sept 1st: Work in Drinagh, Ireland. It’s a little town outside of Skibbereen, Ireland, which is a slightly larger town outside of Cork, Ireland. (Don’t worry; it took me a long time to find it too.) Mostly I’ll be working their horses.
  • Sept 1st – Sept 15th: Bath, England, working at a B&B.
  • Sept 15th – Sept 30th: Devon, England, working with an organic cheese maker.
  • Oct 1st – Oct 31st: Drinagh, Ireland again with the same family.
  • November 1st – November 15th: Croghan Mountain (nearabouts), about an hour south of Dublin, Ireland. Babysitting and more farm work.
  • Nov 15th – Dec 15th: Unaccounted for, but I’m sure I’ll have something. Maybe couch surfing.
  • Dec 15th – Dec 22nd: Stirling, Scotland. Partying with Alicia.
  • Dec 22nd: Flying home for Christmas.

So that’s the short of it. I cut out a bunch of steps where I vacillated like a jellyfish. I also spared you the emotional junk, so you better be thankful. Anyway, the purpose of this blog is primarily to document my trip in a way that won’t take forever and make my hand cramp, and secondly to let the people who are worried know that no, I haven’t been stolen.

I’ll update this as regularly as I can. Wish me luck. Thanks for reading!