The first of many

This morning I got out and had the first European coffee in a while and it was mighty tasty. Maybe it’s because I started to develop my taste for coffe in Europe that I like it so much more than in the US, or maybe it’s flat-out better. It’s different in the way that chili can be different in one state or another: whether or not it’s served with pasta, for example.

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An AerLingus flight sails across a rainbow over Dublin

My flight into Dublin arrived yesterday a week ago just before 3:00pm local time. It was a particularly long day of travel because three flights were involved and I had started my journey in Tucson at 11:00am local time. That’s a total of twenty hours if I do the math correctly. There was no power or internet access on board the transatlantic flight and a small selection of movies, which made it rough for me since I couldn’t sleep and since my laptop didn’t have enough charge left to make it very far. Thankfully, despite being in the middle of the middle of the middle of the aircraft (the 777-200 had a 3-5-3 arrangement of seats in the economy sections), I was surrounded by a couple of polite women and we all had sufficient room.

Although known for its green, sometimes Ireland’s most vibrant color is rainstorm gray.

Of course, I came to Dublin to work. It had been over a year since my team at Automattic came together in person (excluding our all-company meetup) and we were due for it. Since our team’s focus was recently changed and since we will be working hand-in-hand with another team, it was a joint meetup. The first part of the week was fairly exhausting as we brainstormed and planned for our next year’s worth of work, but as we actually started the work it became a bit more pleasant.

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We had a joint meetup between my team and another team – working together on new goals.

Yesterday we took a tour into the mountains south of Dublin. Ireland is a very beautiful and calm country. There are mountains (literally) of peat and turf that used to be harvested to burn for heating. These hills are bogs-on-mountains and are not only protected now, but some of the most efficient and effective carbon sinks in the world. From nothing more than the carbon-dioxide that the grasses and shrubs suck in, they supposedly accumulate peat at a rate of approximately an inch every thirty years. That figure is really quite incredible.

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Billions of little prisms paint all of the colors across the sky above Dublin.

Back in Europe means back to cheap travel. My friend Donncha is flying to London (from Cork, Ireland) today to walk around the city and take pictures. He told me that his flight cost about 35€, or about $40.

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Some of my tentative plans for the next month.

I’ll be nomadding over the next month. Instead of flying home and then flying right back, I’m staying over here while Mandi finishes her semester. She’ll be joining me in May and until then I plan on doing some solo adventuring – hopefully to provide some interesting stories here.

Stragely, though I’m “more settled” in Tucson, I seem to have more time when travelling to do things like write on this blog. Right now it’s my short flight which gives me this opportunity; the first of many.


Another journey, another airport. This time I’m leaving Orlando and headed to Dublin where I’ll meet a friend or two in Cork.

In an effort to save a few hundred dollars for my team in car rental, I chose to return our van near where we stayed instead of at the airport (it worked, by the way). The guy at the return office really wanted me to ride an Uber back to the airport, but that was going to take at least thirty minutes and cost around $15. My other option was to catch a bus a few blocks away for an hour ride at $2. After failing to persuade me, he wished me luck and commented that I could have some interesting covnersations with the bus people, as if I were embarking on a deep sea dive into the low class.

The joke was on him because I did end up having a couple of lovely chats: one at the bus station with a woman whose daughter is vacationing in Paris; and one with a woman who recently lost her daughter to cancer. “No one should have to burry their own children, but the big man upstairs has her now.” It was a tragedy for this half-centry-old grandmother and I felt her grief while she worried about her six grandchildren who are missing their mother.

We did all worry for a minute if we would make it to the airport because the driver pulled over inexplicably alongside the road beside the runway. She never did tell, but after shutting down the bus completely, radioing, figeting with some kind of tool around the front, then hopping back in, we were on our way as if nothing happened. I suspect this is a common occurrance, the kind that the bus drivers half-joke half-complain about in the breakroom. “Oh yeah, that there number eleven. She always breaks down by the landing strip. I think she’s jealous of the planes as they sail across the sky.”

You don’t fabricate experiences. They grow over time and get passed down through the generations. There’s hardly a way to put a dollar value on their worth, but I ended up saving a few bucks to listen to these women and we all benefited from the sharing of these stories. Not persuaded and less persuaded on every encounter.