Then & Now

Arthur Frommer’s Europe on Five Dollars a Day was the first travel guidebook I purchased. Fresh out of high school, a friend and I set off to spend the summer hitchhiking around Europe.  Four hundred dollars in travelers checks and a new passport were stashed in a secret compartment that I had sown into my corduroy shoulder satchel.  No credit card, no cell phone, no safety net.  My duffel bag, wearing a Canadian flag, was stuffed with a sweater, five tops, two shorts, two mini skirts, bellbottom jeans and a long evening dress for the just-in-case special occasion.

Europe was teaming with like-minded travelers that year.  When tired of a city, we’d stand on a street corner holding a sign, ‘ Two Passengers Will Share Gas’.  We fearlessly, or would that be, shamelessly, donned our mini-skirts when looking for a ride. Youth can have a wonderful  smugness that nothing bad could ever happen. It’s all part of the adventure.  Lucky for us, nothing bad did happen. There were some minor scares that once back home got embellished. We  puffed ourselves up to be seasoned travelers,  capable of handling any bump in the travel road.

Fifty years later a little wiser and with a few more dollars, a credit card, a smart phone tucked into a thief proof travel purse, Johnny and I are headed out for a three month trip. One thing that hasn’t changed is still traveling with carry on luggage only. And, the stories I’ll be telling may be less exaggerated than in my youth but a few embellishments may creep in here and there.

Back Home & Happy Holidays

How did it get so late so soon? Its night before its afternoon. December is here before its June. My goodness how the time has flewn. How did it get so late so soon? Dr. Seuss We have been home almost a month and a half. I’m not going to lie, the adjustment to getting…

Tale of Three Cities

“Time is a brisk wind, for each hour it brings something new.” Paracelsus  Have you ever gone on a vacation anticipating loads of time to catch up on your reading, do some writing if so inclined, only to find you didn’t squeeze much of this in? Well that’s me. The intention was there to fit…

Galway Girl

My father grew up on Galway Road. In Canada. It was a farming community north of Toronto, where many Irish immigrants settled. They named their road as a reminder of home. One of six boys and two girls, the Allen boys lived up to their Irish roots. They worked hard, liked their drink, and family…

This & That & Not So Much

Random thoughts my minds-eye has taken note of during this trip that remind me I’m not at home. In no particular order: ~ Where are all the homeless people? We saw maybe one street person in Barcelona, a handful in London and Wales and of the six places we have visited so far in Ireland…

Churches, Castles, Donkeys and Beer

  You can’t visit Ireland without bumping into a church. These impressive buildings dominate the skyline in cities and small towns and beg to be visited.  You can’t enter a city or town that doesn’t have its very own castle. Ross Castle, 15th century in Killarney. Doonagore Castle 16th century, in Doolin. We see this…


Some of my best and often surprising experiences have resulted by taking a detour. Waterford, Ireland wasn’t top of the list to visit. Johnny joked I shouldn’t be anywhere near a crystal factory with my history of breaking things. Our travels tend to revolve around nature. Which is why we booked Killarney – Ring of…

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