Manchester onto Dublin

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So in writing this post, I was in the Wed Wose Cafe, which seemed to have closed down in the mid-2000s but this map gives you an idea of where it was in Dublin. Pretty central…I don’t recall this specific spot but I can certainly romanticize what it was like!

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But this post was really more about Manchester than Dublin and covered the 24th & 25th. A little bit tricky when trying to honour the anniversary…should it be the anniversary of the event – I’d think so – or when the entry was created? Maybe I have to read ahead a little after all. Guess I’ll have to work that out.

I find it interesting that I tried to go out alone and was told not to. I’m glad I asked. I’m not much of an asker these days, I like to try to figure things out myself. But I’m guessing my Spidey sense was probably tingling…but nice that Nick guy was a good dude. He was just a guy who wanted to go for a beer. Probably a little unfair of me to refer to him as “goofy” as he did me a favour in hanging out when I had no one else.

I’ve never been a clubbing type – it’s just not bred into us North Americans the same way it is for the Europeans. I remember wanting to check out the Haçienda because of its legendary status but I knew right away it wasn’t my scene. But what I didn’t realize at the time is that it closed a month later, nearly to the day. I had no idea.  And now gone for good. As a music fan, it’s cool I got to visit one of those legendary venues.

Can’t find evidence of the music festival but I found a little history on Toss the Feathers. Still have a love for Celtic music. It was exciting to find a few small music festivals. I love seeing live music whenever I can and this is something that’s been with me for years. Especially a festival like this which seems like it reflects the Winnipeg Folk Festival which is of course, so near and dear to my heart.

Especially as a new traveler I loved meeting other single women on the road. They all seemed to be something so cool, which was both inspiring and motivating. Most of the time I loved the freedom to move, to meet and hang with different people learning about different cultures along the way. I tried to steer away from Canadians, whom I felt I could meet at home, and Americans, because they felt too much like Canadians. I was enamoured of the Australians, New Zealanders, South Africans and other Europeans. They were all so exotic, with their accents and their slang, many of them on their gap years or lengthy overseas stays with their parents’ heritage leading them to work visas…

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That’s what I did and where I stayed. Feels like not much yet…I know it took a while to ease into it all, to have my Canadian life melt away. I don’t think I quite had a sense of how free I was then. I was so uncertain of where I was going to go in life. This seemed like a justification. I did feel supported by my family when I left, which was good. They believed in travel as a form of education, so it felt like I was extending my learning before really starting in the working world and I didn’t feel like I was copping out or escaping. OK maybe I was escaping a little. But I needed to do something different. My dreams of working in Advertising (which I thought I would do from when I was about 14) were shattered after actually taking an advertising course and learning what it was really about. I was single, I had no debt (huge thanks to my parents for saving for my education all those years) and more than that, no plan. So it really was the best time to go.

When I was with my mom last weekend in Sonoma we talked about this blog. She asked me why I was doing it. Why was I sharing this online with the world to see. My first answer is that I felt the need to commemorate this trip somehow. I needed the impetus to read the journals again, and I needed a framework to put it all in. She knew it was a hard time for me back then. She said the trip changed me. I hope she meant for the good…but maybe not entirely, I didn’t ask her to elaborate because I don’t know if I want to know.

But I am at peace with my life now. And I’m really proud I made this all happen for myself. It would have been really very easy NOT to make the journey, NOT to take the risk. But with all risk comes results one way or the other – and I can say in this case, rewards.


Two Days in Manchester

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Girl leaves boy to move on with travel. I really liked Greg but am glad I had my wits about me to carry on. That way it was way more fun. Gotta leave wanting more…

So this is where I saw my pals from home again…I’d forgotten. Here’s the evidence of Stratford-on-Avon:

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Dig that I was into the “indie” hostels that were less clean and nice. HA! They definitely did have more character. I really liked the group cooks as well. It was a really fun way to meet people, one of the other things I liked about hostels in general.

Planning for Ireland was fun. I had wanted to go hiking in Wales (hiking is still my jam) but it was too difficult and expensive in the little time I had, especially with the holiday. It was £33 to get the overnight bus/ferry to Dublin in 1997 – which is $57.39 in today’s Canadian dollars. It’s now about $70CAD to take the same trip, and you have the options of comparative shopping online. Always good to travel overnight when you can as you save yourself a night’s accommodation – that was something I learned early on.

I remember not being very taken with Manchester. It was a stop along the way, not a destination for me. That said, I had only just discovered what “football” meant in Europe  but it was fun to see the other girls excited about seeing the team practice. Knowing later what Man U actually meant in the late 90’s…I mean, David Beckham was playing then!

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I’d forgotten about Poor Superman – it was cool to see a Canadian playwright’s work performed in the UK. It was funny to hear them try to say “about”.

These are the bands I checked out…cannot find evidence of a band called “Alone”  but I have the photo as promised along with an Australian performer:

I could see myself being a bit lonely after leaving the friends and fun I’d had in Bath. And I remember being excited about meeting someone foreign but not wanting to ruin my trip by following someone around instead of making my own trip what I wanted it to be. That was the important thing about going it alone. Not so sure why I was so worried about trust at that time…seems like that was probably something about where I was at during that time.

See you in Dublin on the 26th.

Manchester – 20 years on 

So strangely enough, on this date 20 years ago, I was in Manchester, England. I actually arrived on the 22nd…yesterday…the same night as this newest tragedy…not the way I wanted to be reflecting on this anniversary at all.

For some reason I still thought today was May 22, even though I was flying all day yesterday. I don’t have any of my photos or diary scans with me now. My laptop is at the office and I’m at home, so I’m writing on my iPhone in lieu. Bummer…but I will catch up tomorrow.

Maybe this is a way of giving myself a bit of a break so I don’t have to be as militant as I had planned to be…that’s my Type A behaviour, which I can’t seem to escape. You’ll see more of that over time undoubtedly.

But I still can’t believe we have to worry about these kinds of things in this day and age. Terrorist threats did not exist in this way twenty years ago. No one knew the term ISIS or IS. There had been no 9/11.

I don’t know what to make of this day and age. What would I do as a traveler now? Would this affect me? Would I feel scared on a whole different level than just being out in the world on my own? It’s so hard to know.