A Travellerspoint blog

One Year Later

Where Are We Now?

semi-overcast 6 °C

Hi to everyone who has logged onto this blog for the past year. We hope you enjoy the photographs and some of our rantings! This time last year we were in Sedona and enjoying our adventure. If you ever get the chance to travel - do.
Talk later,

Posted by bwoods 11:12 Archived in Ireland Tagged armchair_travel Comments (0)

Where are we now?


rain 6 °C

Hey, thanks for logging onto the blog this morning, afternoon, or night, depending on where you might be in the world. I haven't written for a while because I felt all confussed about what I am doing with my life, the usual, am I fulfilling my ability. That was just for a little bit when I watched Oprah today. Now feel a tad sad. Why? This summer we went on the roadtrip, and it was amazing, but for whatever reason, and I have only got to assume it is something to do with me, nobody is all the much interested. Lesson for me - don't think you are all that and more. This is not meant to be a depressing piece, but if you like to wallow a bit then read on...
Today I stood by the graveside of a my uncle-in-law, Fr. Eddie Kieran, who died two years ago. The graveyard was freezing, noone around and the wind whipped in at lashes and sways from over the snow-capped whitened Cooley Mountains. (Making a great job of getting past the massive concreate Xerox factory to the foreground!). Fr. Eddie was a very special man, a spiritual person who was I think looking back now, something like a saint. (Now don't get all holy Joe on me, says you, ok). But I felt so cold and sad standing there looking at where he was laid to rest, and thinking of the warm Texan sunshine he lived under for over 40 years. I thought how we had been in Bovina, his little parish in Texas - in summer, when I watched my children run from his parish house, across the dry earth into the nearby Church where he said Mass every morning. The feeling I got just sitting in there, that hot afternoon was overwhelming. It was the most unexpected surprise of the trip for me. And I wondered how he lived there - in that place, which was isolated - flat, brittle and humanly challenging. And it made me feel the power of what we can only do in this life, with what we are given. How small and how mundane - we trace a path of somesort over the earth, and we hope that whatever spirit we give out, will live there when we are gone. And that's what I felt, his spirit, it was living in Bovina - but his memory was still alive in that cold graveyard. It's a very surreal experience, to feel blessed - to have known such a person - and to see him still living on through various mannerism in our children. Not sure why I am writing this today, but just thought it was worth a line or two.

Posted by bwoods 10:50 Archived in Ireland Tagged armchair_travel Comments (0)

We're not in Kansas?

It's not Oz

semi-overcast 9 °C

From L.A. to New York. From New York, to L.A. There I am, in a shoulder-padded cream blouse and red rah-rah skirt, pirouetting around on the spot in my gold lame Manolos, clicking my heels together on a sunny Manhattan sidewalk.

The Park Avenue pampered pooches whizz by with their Gucci doggie coats, the yellow taxis honking their horns float up in the air, the passports flitter open, the rental car twists at a ninety-degrees angle.
The Californicated hills and beach side melt up into a heatstroke haze against the dry brittle earth on the prairies, as a gun tootin’ Billy The Kid smiles and saddles off into the distance.

There’s Ali sparing with Tom Cruise, shaking his cocktails, with a jump-suited million dollar jewelled Elvis crooning his hunka hunka Burning Love inside a wooden barrel about to tip over the top of a white ghosted Niagra Falls. And all the while the slot machines ding out their noise-less tunes into my ears.

Everything’s a blurred memory, dollars, kids asking for ice-cream, sunglasses, an aeroplane speeded up flying from the top of the Rockefeller Centre across the white picket fences of Rhode Island, to the lush Irish green fields of a misty, sodden new-born wet morning in Dublin’s fair city.

And all the while, I mutter: “there’s no place like home – there’s no place like home.” The disco lights and the glitter ball fade and I am Cinderelled into jeans, t-shirt and pullover, sitting at the computer in my weak-morning-watered-sun front room in Dundalk.

I’m tapping my finger on the mouse. There’s an e-mail from Auntie Attie in sun-drenched Long Beach, California. She wants to know when the flight got in? I note – just two exclamation marks today – she’s only half-excited from the entire goings on. “Keep your sanity!” she signs off. But I’ve already lost that, gone in the tornado of a self-induced mid-life crisis.

I look over at the worn AA Roadmap of the US and feel lost, for the first time in a long time. We’re only home a wet week from the US, having driven 5,474 miles across country from West to East.

We did this in 6 weeks in a seven seater RV, and took our two children – Aoise (8) and Edward (4) along for the ride. Why did we do it? One reason was to go to a family wedding in L.A. but the real one? Because it was there, the recession was here, and despite my nervous approach to most things, I like to think that you only get one life, and you should see as much of the world as possible.

We didn’t have much money, some savings came in handy and we had worked hard for this trip. But once the decision was made, that is, I said ok - hubbie had gone to the library and got the AA Road Map of America – The Lonely Planet Guide to the US – an assortment of books about LA, Las Vegas and New York.
He'd made a little home for them under his side of the bed, and there they stayed – regularly coming out, pock marking the house – sometimes opened up in a flurry of excitement – like little pills of happy pages – rays of sunshine into our half-decorated and mad-cap home.

Needless to say – my face during all of this had turned nasty shades of yellow – then back to white. Before this I was never one of life’s adventurers - barely mustering up the excitement of going to the shop for milk. Usually that ritual involved getting the make-up on, running a comb through my hair, finding the car keys and so on. I was not known for my drop-everything-at-a-moment persona. The thoughts of doing a running jump into the car sort of thing like Starsky and Hutch, would not have be me.

In fact I rarely adventured past the imaginary electric fencing of County Louth, unless it was an emergency. Stress here on the word was. Eddie is the opposite. His claim to fame is that he "got me out of myself." Whatever that means. Possibly something to do with his insistence on our first holiday (Kos) all those years ago, that there was a life away from the pool.

I have become more adventurous as I approached the big 40. No reason why though. Possibly due to more time and that the children are past the toddler stage where I spent many days bent over, like a Neanderthal, holding their tiny hands – walking them past the neighbours hedges, the top of my head the only visible sign of life.

We have thrown aside the cosy lying down by the pool and beach holidays – it rained on the last one in Alvor, Portugal. Instead we have plumped for the bright lights and big cities. Rome was a change of scenery last November. At the time the scream went up from all and sundry: “You can’t take the children with you!” Reasons being, Rome was a mad place. Then by our reasoning, so was Dublin – Cork even, but people still brought children there!

Rome was fantastic – we saw the sights and inbetween made unforgettable memories. The trick was to have breakfast early, get out, home and dinner. And it worked.

This summer was to drive from LA to New York. And we started our journey off in Long Beach, going to explore the delights of Hollywood. Then it was on to Yosemite National Park, with its: “second highest waterfall in the world”. Eddie’s quote. And then on to Las Vegas, where Elvis aka Brendan Duffy, with Irish roots – from Cork, helped us to “renew our vowels”. (Not a note of My Own Lovely Lee in ear-shot) Aoise’s quote. “And then we went to the slots!” Attie’s quote.

And from there – just the four of us drove to Yosemite to the wonderful forest of a spectacular valley, then onto Las Vegas, the Grand Canyon, Route 66, Memphis, Nashville, Louisville, and onto Niagara Falls and then into New York state to visit my life-long pen pal and her nine children. “It’s God’s will”, her quote. We stayed with cousins in Rhode Island and then onto Manhattan.

Next entry I will have the "hilarious japes" (my sodden Fr. Ted reference put in at humourous attempts to bring relief to life-threatening situations on the road). Otherwise know as the moments we wanted to really go home -FOR GOOD. Not just the mildly serious, but the major serious times. Also the times we took the "incorrect exits" (my wording) as opposed to the "wrong exits" that left us 10 miles out of our destination at times. (But this only happened once or twice - so they are boring to recall).

Posted by bwoods 03:27 Archived in USA Tagged family_travel Comments (0)


Have landed

storm 18 °C

Yes, have well and truly felt for the past few weeks that I had been walking in the land that time forgot. Back in old Ireland and the favourite music tracks in all the supermarkets seems to be anything Eighties. There was a time, not that long ago, when I thought this was the best music in the world. Yeah! Reason being this was a time in my life when I was free - no money, no commitments, lots of fun. But raking through the States with Woodstock celebrating 35 hippy years of an anniversary, I felt the flip-flops returning. Joy To The World - we danced to it under the neon light show on a Vegas night, and watched the shy congo line move off down Fremont Street, with the middle aged teachers, civil servants and long-haired moms tipping their fingers up tentatively into the stuffy desert air with the V sign. Sometimes you don't realise just what you are, until you hear it.

Posted by bwoods 14:51 Archived in Ireland Tagged family_travel Comments (0)

When the dog bites...


all seasons in one day 2 °C

Hi all,

Putting some more photos onto the blog later. So far have found ten photo files and that's not so bad. Only missing 2. God knows where they are. The tiredness is seeping in slowly. I am looking at pictures of Buffalo Bill Cody, Billy the Kid and Pat F. Garrett, all for inspiration as I try to decide how best to tackle the front room/office/reception area for special visitors/piano room. It's been neglected for over 6 weeks - but it's difficult to focus. I keep looking at my AA road map of the United States, and wishing I was sitting in the Ford Flex with my morning coffee in hand and the newness of an American road stretching out infront of me. To fill the void I took to a jaunt earlier, down to Gyles Quay along our seaside coast. Was whipped in to reality with the waves and the fantastic views over Dundalk Bay, with the fresh sand mudding out infront of the dog and the wooden steaks, breaking against a rockpool of boulders all looking like new shiny seal skin.


Posted by bwoods 04:33 Archived in Ireland Tagged events Comments (1)

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