Travel guilt

For some reason in Irish society travelling for long periods of time is often seen as a selfish act. It’s met with an attitude that the traveller is unable to commit to an occupation, a place, a lifestyle. That that person is somewhat lost in life and has no stability, no sense of the real world. I doubt this is a view held by Irish society alone but in my experience many of my friends from other parts of the world are told to keep travelling as long as they can. Their families and communities often tend to be more supportive of their nomadic way of life.

Ireland boasts the most amount of passport holders in the world yet when you travel abroad you often find that the Irish that have escaped the confines of their native homeland tend to then settle in the first place they land. They get full time jobs and build a home from home, often surrounded by other Irish natives. Immigrating rather than travelling, some stay for years then venture home, others stay forever.

However if you are like me, someone jumping between countries, cities and jobs, you are likely viewed as someone running away from commitment. You are often meet with the thought provoking question of what are your plans? What are you doing with your life?

Well, I’m travelling. This is my life. I’ll work dead end jobs for next to nothing in order to take in views from mountain tops and lie in the sun on beaches in far off places. And what’s wrong with that?

We humans have a tendency to believe that a life well lived is one that conforms to age old rituals of settling down, finding careers and starting families. That travelling is healthy for a while but not for forever. I know as much as my parents love me they don’t approve of my lifestyle. They think my heads in the clouds. Communication is hard, keeping touch is hard because as much as I miss them I can’t bring myself to go home or settle somewhere permanently. And I can see in their eyes and hear in their voices that I’m once again letting them down.

I am plagued with Irish guilt. The guilt that my family miss me. The guilt that the people I love are another year older, another year without me there to watch them growing old. To hear of their aches and pains and hatred for their nine to five while I live in a fantasy land in my head on the other side of the world. It’s always a case of, ‘when are you coming home?’, ‘why are you still out there anyway?’ The guilt rises like bile in your stomach and I’m forced to try and rewire my brain to consider the prospect of going home when my heart searches for travel. Where my soul searches for unfamiliar streets and secluded lands where life is light and fun and free. And once you’ve had a taste of that it’s hard to let it go.

Truth is I’m not running but I’m seeking, I’m looking for my place in the world but staying in one spot has never made any sense to me. And I keep on moving because I haven’t found somewhere where I’ve felt like I’ve needed to stay. Where I’ve found contentment or happiness more than my nomadic life grants me. I don’t yearn for my own house or a career more than I yearn for that feeling of when a plane touches ground, or for more than new sights, new smells, new sounds and new places. New prospects, new jobs, new skills and new friends. So I push that guilt from the forefront of my mind and I quell it in my heart for a time and I set off again trying to find my place in this world. But maybe I never will. Maybe it’s the journey that’s right for me.

Sorry Mum, I love you all but I won’t be home just yet.

Instagram: bronagh_doc


Ending the year in a blaze of glory…

Until the last few months in New Zealand I figured that, although my life was somewhat out of the ordinary considering I’m still travelling at nearly twenty-seven, that I’d lead a fairly normal existence up until then.

That went up in flames though.


I’ve always been a fairly substandard human being. Enjoy a night out. A good book. Pretending to be an adult and that I have a plan, when in reality I’m grasping around and trying to make the pieces of my puzzle fit. Sometimes with force.

Like a toddler who doesn’t quite understand the concept of puzzles.

But as I said the last few months have turned a fairly mediocre mortal into someone with stories to tell and a shred of life experience.

So it all started when I travelled the South Island of New Zealand before travelling home…. which didn’t happen because weeks later I’m now in Australia! I know! Wtf am I doing?!

Upon deciding not to fly home I then spent Christmas around a table in Wellington eating sweet potato gnocchi. Who the fuck do I think I am? Gnocchi?! On Christmas Day?

Then all of a sudden on New Year’s Eve eve I was stood outside the front of my shared house casually watching it’s roof erupt in a gulf of flames while six fire trucks battled to distinguish it!


Not one!!

Fucking six!!

As a woman, your first thoughts upon leaving the shower are usually, ‘oh my skins bad today’, or ‘I feel wonderful because I’ve shaved for the first time in six weeks.’ It’s not… ‘I really need to put some clothes on and get out of this burning building.’ Running round like a freshly plucked goose looking for a t-shirt to wear so the general public don’t see my freshly trimmed pubic hair.

But that’s exactly what I was doing on the 30th of December 2017. What a nice way to end the year!!

Some friendly neighbours, the ones we hadn’t alienated by throwing parties in their otherwise quiet neighbourhood, alerted us to the fire. The other non friendly neighbours probably wished they hadn’t, because we had plenty of time to get valuables out, which included my housemates DJ decks!! So suck on that fuckers!!!

Now when I say ‘we’ I use that term loosely, because in reality all I done was panic and shout for my boyfriend to, ‘get the fuck out of the burning building Matthew.’ While he and our neighbour, now christened barefoot Toby Jenkins by the NZ media, scrambled around the house and removed all the valuables from the blaze. Cheers Tobs!

I was no help, at all! I can barely function in general never mind in a crisis.

When the fire trucks showed up we kindly stepped aside and let the professionals deal with it. Then the news crews rolled in… and I wanted to die!! Standing bare foot in a pair of trackies and Matthews t-shirt I looked like a homeless wharf…. I was a homeless wharf!

What made it worse was our housemate Sina returning from the beach in a bikini looking like a Victoria’s Secret model on her day off. Fuming! (No pun intended)

We sat there for five hours. One thing I can’t fault is the generosity of the people of Wellington and New Zealand in general. We are also so lucky to have the most amazing friends. Everyone offered us places to stay. And even offered me clothes, which I can’t thank them enough for. Because the later it got the more apparent it became that the majority of my meagre possessions were now a mix of ash and charred debris… great!

I guess that’s what I get for panicking and not helping Matt and Bare foot Toby get as much stuff out of the room as possible.

None of this is the worst thing though…

Because barefoot Toby in his post fire interview was depicted as the new messiah. ‘The people wept as he parted the fires of doom and saved the TV from the wreckage.’ Pslams34:12 (Not a direct quote from the bible)

The worst part about this whole thing, isn’t the house burning down, nor is it losing everything I own, or that for the whole of January I was sleeping on an air bed. Nope not even that. The worst thing is that Toby, the hero, the champion, the messiah, the bare foot wonder, in his post fire interview had the bloody audacity to call me, ‘British.’

After the fire we did what any self respecting British (even though most of us aren’t British) tourists would do and got really pissed.

Photo credits

News Article link below;

The Kiwi Experience: The best way around New Zealand. 

A  dull day in Auckland has the capacity for any hearty soul to seek out action and adventure. Known as someone who often finds that in a bar, when the cost of a drink is almost equivalent to an hours wage, I personally couldn’t find the heart to drown my boredom in booze. For a change I found myself in Peterpans adventure travel store instead. 
Greeted by the lovely Ben I immediately informed him that I wanted a kiwi experience pass, one that was heading straight out of Auckland ASAP. You see, its not just Aucklands weather that was pretty dull that day but honestly, Auckland as a whole failed to capture my imagination that other cities like New York, Sydney and even London had always managed to inspire in me. The joy of fitting all your belongings into a rather large suitcase means that when you don’t like somewhere you can simply leave. The beauty of pikey life eh? 

Now the lovely Ben was a fountain of knowledge in advising me on the most sought our destinations in New Zealand and the adventure activities that both the North and South Islands have to offer. Telling me about the best deals of the week Ben set out on planning my trip with immediate effect. When we worked out the pass I needed at a great price,  he asked me when I would like to leave. 


When I assured Ben that I was, n fact, deadly serious, he set about seeing if I could get on the bus heading North out of Auckland for first thing in the morning. And I could. Great Success!

Super Funky Bus pass bought and paid for. 

Ben, the absolute travel genius that he was, showed me leaflet after leaflet of the exciting adventure available to me when I travelled with kiwi. Not only that but he animatedly went through each destination recounting his own experiences and I was sold. 

With a mountain of activities booked and my bus booked for the morning I left Pererpans Auckland with adventure on my mind and my credit card on fire. Good job Ben. 

The major advantage of having my activities prepaid was obvious when I first got on the bus. With many of my fellow travellers worrying if they would have to miss some activities to be able to afford to eat I was at a major advantage. 

The beauty of The Kiwi Experience is that if you aren’t on limited time and find a spot that you like you simply have to call the bus office and tell them that you’re staying somewhere for a few more days. To get back on, give them a ring and they’ll put you on the next available bus out of there. As the Kiwi expression goes, sweet as! 

Most of the buses also have wifi on board, albeit a very minimal amount. The bus drivers are also incrediably helpful and informative. They pass around clipboards allowing travellers to sign up for that days activities and also help you arrange your accommodation with their partner hostels which are often Base and Nomads or smaller hostels when you visit the more remote parts of New Zealand. The beauty of Kiwi means that you are guaranteed limited accommodation in each destination, unless you would like to stay for more than the minimum timeframe. That means when places like Taupo and Queenstown are super busy you know you’re guaranteed a bed for the night. 

If you really want to make the most of your trip to New Zealand, you want to meet other open and friendly backpackers keen for a beer and a good time, then Kiwi is the way to travel. Regardless of whether your trip is long or short term they have so many options that let you experience the best that New Zealand has to offer. 

Sweet as! 

That ‘oh shit’ moment when you’re travelling. 

Everyone gets them, everyone who has travelled for an extended period of time. Jumping from city to city. Job to job. Bunk bed to bunk bed. Its the day you wake up and question everything you are doing. It’s the day you wake up with the prospect of  another basic breakfast, a cheap meal. Where you’re paying over the odds for accommodation just so you can stay away from home a little longer. 

It’s the day where you wake up and think, where is this taking me? Where am I going? What have I gained? 

So on days like that what do you do? 

1) Get out and about. Walk around the city, a lake, a park, a mountain. Visit friends. Look for a job. Keep busy. 

2) Plan your next route. Get excited about a new adventure. Another road. Another journey. 

3) Call home and talk about it. Ask your family or your friends and get their opinions. 

4) Write a list. I know (rolls eyes) a list? But really… write list. Weigh up the pro’s and con’s of where you are and where you want to be. 

5) Do something you don’t normally do. Go for a night out with new people. Sit with someone else at dinner. Talk to a few locals. 

6) Is this where you want to be? Would you settle here? 

Yes? Look for work and a place and stabilise yourself for a while! 

No? See what there is to see and then leave. Silly. 

Travel bug can turn to travel blues very quickly when your on your own and feeling down. If you’ve exhausted every option and home seems like the place to be then maybe it’s time! Think of everything you’ve accomplished. Of everywhere you have been and remember that admitting that it’s time to go home isn’t a bad thing at all. It’s just another step on your journey.