You have been in Ireland for more than two weeks and you have spent less than $20.
“That’s Amazing! You should blog about that!’ One of your friends encouraged you.
Sure. You suppose that is pretty amazing, but that was the whole point anyway. Simply preparing for this trip seriously changed how you think about and manage your money.
It is easy not spending money at Sli Na Bande. Firstly, you got a lift from the airport by a friend of the family. While you are here, you are working to earn your room and food, and essentially, that is all you require. There is always food when you need it and anything additional can usually be scrounged up somewhere. Because you are a good worker and Marlene and Doug seem happy with your effect on the property, anything you need is simply a request away.
That leaves personal adventuring…What about when you leave Sli Na Bande to go exploring beyond your 6-acre paradise?
You had your first hitch-hiking experience while trying to find your way into Glendalough. You live in BFE, so you needed to scramble up a dirt road for a while until you would run into some cars. You were cold but buzzing. It was time to get your feet wet hitch-hiking. How was this going to go anyway? Like most people, you hate judgement and try to avoid it. This seemed like a competing interest.
You found the highway and it was flanked tightly by high grass and dirt. There was literally no place to stand outside the pavement and the road was barely wide enough for one car, let alone two to pass. Not to mention you were on a curve. Oh boy.
The second car to see you stopped. They were two guys wearing mechanic-type jump-suits. You suspected this was a good Samaritan effort to get you out of the goddamn street you crazy wanker! (good strategy). Oh, they drove a utility van with no windows that only opened from the outside. You thanked them for stopping, told them where you were headed, and hopped right in.
It was bumpy, and you and Maria joked to each other about the scenario. She seemed completely at ease, aside from this photo.
The two men let you out up the road and you emerged, like a newborn doe entering the world for the first time. Carsick and disoriented. That wasn’t so bad! Alright, let’s have another.
You picked up a second lift from a couple in a very warm SUV. The term SUV is used lightly here, as no car in Ireland is much bigger than a Smart car. Anyway, they chatted with you pleasantly and asked where you were from etc. They were also going near your destination and ended up dropping you to the front door of the information center. Amazing. Thank you, Tom and Jan.
Alright so you two had a lovely walk in the park. But at some point you needed to go home. There was still a slight pang on your radar. This was not quite comfy to you yet. You let Maria do all of the talking, and most of the thumbing, although you joined in when the mood suit you. You didn’t want to put people off, of course. The amazing thing is that you didn’t need to wait very long at all. This was not what you had expected. Not by a long shot.
When you have ideas of hitch hiking, you think about sitting for hours on a corner with a cardboard sign. This wasn’t like that at all. You waited for 5-10 minutes max for someone to pluck you from the highway and that was that.
Of course, it works in your favor to be two women traveling, and you hate to say it, but it also works in your favor to be white. It is just the law-of-the-land that anywhere you go, the more you look like the people, the easier time you have doing this.
You caught a lift in about 5 minutes just outside the entrance to Glendalough from someone with an almost packed car who happened to know your WWOOFing host, Marlene. Small world eh? They took you up the road where you tried unsuccessfully to hitch further. This was attributed entirely to the fact that exactly 3 cars passed you in 40 minutes. Bad road.
Finally, you caught a lift out by a wonderful couple from Belfast. They had a back seat full of Kit Kats and Crisps, and they offered you snacks. Best. Lift. Ever. (well, maybe not ever, but certainly the best lift of the day). They were talkative and engaging and brought you right back to the top of the dirt road that you started on. You were hit with an odd sensation of Deja Vu as you hopped out of their warm car. The fellow at the wheel shouted after you to make sure you enjoy those crisps, they’re the best in Ireland.
That entire outing: 0 euro
The next day, you were actually determined to break some of your bills (this was getting ridiculous). You and Maria decided to walk to Graystones (about 5 miles) for some fish and chips.
Fish & Chips: 7.50 euro
Unfortunately, it started pissing rain while you were in the shop, so it became imperative that you hitch hike home. Once again, two lifts got you there, completely free of charge.
Travel: 0 euro
Even more unfortunately, is that because you had to spend some time thumbing your way in the rain and the cold, you caught a nasty bit of strep throat that day. You were desperate for cough drops. You would have kicked a baby for some cough drops. You threw Neil 20 Euro (the smallest denomination you had) and told him to get you cough drops and oranges. He brought you back an entire pharmacy (mostly Maria’s add-on orders) along with 10 euro in change. Maria threw you another 5 for her items.
Sick Supplies – cough drops and Manuka Honey: 5 euro
That puts you at $12.50 so far since you stepped off the plane. Not bad.
Update: Since writing this you have spent another 49 cents on an entire BAG of tangerines (good find).