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Got Ready to Go: Ireland!

A note from Tasha: The title is because my cousin, Sarah, wrote me this back in July, and I totally dropped the ball on getting it up. I hate to admit that, but honesty is, as always, the best policy. There’s a lot of good suggestions in here, particularly for you KNITTERS, so check it out for your next trip overseas! (And definitely read to the post script.)

First, a brief introduction: I am Tasha’s cousin. Err, well, my husband is her second cousin once removed. Turns out we are kindred spirits and I’m happy to call her family, so when she buttered me up and asked me to write a guest post I said yes. It just so happens that I am going to Ireland with my family for 12 days (with 11 family members in total, yikes!) so no better time than the present!

I am an obsessive list maker and packer. My dad taught me to pack a bag in a very precise manner which maximizes space, a skill the rest of my family do not possess, which we have termed “Tetris brain.” If I go on a short trip where we won’t be moving around much I don’t worry too much, but these big trips “require” obsessive thought and planning on my part.

For my many lists I love the Word “Notebook Layout” templates because I can create tabs for different aspects of the trip (one for me, one for my husband, and one for the dog/house sitter) and I can add boxes that can be checked as we go. This fancy list goes into Dropbox so we can both look at it as we please.

A computerized packing and to-do list.

We will arrive in Dublin on July 15 and will leave for our tour around the coast on July 19. During the course of this tour we will be doing a lot of hiking and exploring various cliffs, islands, and castles. The tour company has suggested that we travel light and that each person can have a suitcase that is no bigger than 30 inches at the longest side. Additional recommendations from the travel company include “walking trousers” and “face cloths” as apparently they use something called wire-wool. I love any excuse to go to REI, so we went out and got some fancy light-weight travel towels and a folding duffle for any extra goodies we might pick up along the way.

Two small, lightweight washcloths, two lightweight towels, and a collapsible duffle bag.

My plan of attack is to take everything I think I might need and put it in a laundry basket. I can (and do) always edit from there, but it is easier to take things out than forget things that might be important.

Two backpacks full of travel gear in front of a laundry basket also full of travel gear.

The business of what to bring on the plane is a serious one for me. We will both be checking a bag and bringing a backpack on with us. After having my luggage lost on a trip to London about 15 years ago, I have a few (okay maybe a lot) things that I carry on with me for an international flight. This list includes: any medication, toothbrush, toothpaste, collapsible water bottle, sweater, snacks, book, headphones, phone, tiny pillow, camera, and something to knit.

A travel pillow, ginger chews, medicine, water bottle, and more. Carry-on goodies.

What to bring for knitting was probably the most difficult choice I had to make when planning this trip. I have a busy brain and must do something with my hands at nearly all times. It is a meditative practice and serves not only to keep me busy on the plane, but also to calm myself when certain relatives might get on my nerves. Several variables contributed to my choice of what to bring. It needed to be something fairly small, interesting but not too difficult, and it also had to be something that would last the whole trip. I finally settled on a pattern I had my eye on for a while, The Bee Keepers Quilt from Tiny Owl Knits, which is made up of hundreds of “hexipuffs.” These adorable puffs are fun, relatively quick to make, and can be made with scrap yarn I have from other projects. I made a few practice puffs so I wouldn’t get frustrated trying to figure out the pattern, and I was ready to go.

A knitting project containing 2 yarn balls, some needles, and a knitting bag that has a robot on it. The robot, adorably, is saying,

Two hexagonal pieces knitted from beige fiber.

Now that I’m all ready I will dream of Guinness. Possibly on the plane.

Post Script: This post was written before I left for Ireland on July 14. On July 19 I stepped between two cobble stones (totally sober) and managed to break my foot. Needless to say, the trip went a little differently than I had imagined. I’m really glad I brought the knitting project I did because I was able to knit myself a little sock (more like a cast hat) to keep my toes warm, as they stuck out of the cast. I’m also very happy I took a whole bottle of Advil.

Center Foreground: Sarah's broken foot with cute knit cap. Background, the Land Rover she had to hop in & out of with a broken foot.

Other than the whole broken foot thing, the beer really was fabulous and I can’t recommend our tour company enough. I’m already saving up to go back so I can get the full experience.

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