When travelling, you really have to pay it forward.
I have learned throughout my travels that if you open yourself up to new meeting people, your experiences can change drastically. This is very much the case as to when I first landed in Cork, Ireland. Once I arrived in Cork, I was waiting for the bus to Clonakilty with my partner, when a couple asked us which route the bus was taking. Obviously, we had no idea, but we knew our stop. This seemed helpful to them and from that they knew they were on the right track. From there we talked and found out they have a son and grandchildren that live in Canada. Once we arrived at our destination they helped to wake us, ensuring we didn’t miss our stop after a long day of travelling. A few days passed and by mere coincidence we bumped in to the man once more. This is when he invited us to stay at his and his wife’s home in Union Hall for an evening of sightseeing, drinks and a delicious home cooked meal.
The couple, who is now retired, picked us up from Clonakilty and drove us back to the beautiful small fishing village of Union Hall (not to be confused with a city, as I was corrected!) We took a nice walk down to the Pier and around the sea bank.
We went looking for shamrocks, as it was Paddy’s day the following morning. We arrived at their lovely home and had some amazing smoked salmon. It was flaky and not at all slimy like the stuff I am used to back home! It was a gorgeous meal, that I may or may not have had 5 or 6 helpings of.
We then exchanged more words over some tea and biscuits before heading down to the water closer to their home. We brought their dog along for the walk. We watched the boats change direction with the tide and enjoyed skipping rocks with our host. The dog couldn’t complain either, as she was in her element, running wild and splashing into the sea!
We then headed to Boatman’s Inn down in the village, where we had a pint…or two or three. My partner enjoyed playing a few matches of pool with our host and it was a great time for me to chat up our hostess.
We lost track of time, and had to hurry back for a 10:30 dinner. Our hostess made such a succulent chicken which she had browned in butter before popping it into the oven. We paired it with mashed potatoes, some homemade bread, carrots, turnip and cranberry sauce (which iss good on chicken too!)
The next day they drove us back to Clonakilty, but not before taking us to the Drombeg Stone circle, perhaps Irelands most famous stone circle.
My partner and I had a wonderful time with this kind couple, who opened their hearts and home to us. I am a traveller, and without experiences like these, travelling the world would not mean so much to me. This is why when I meet other travellers I try and pay it forward any way I can. Whether I’m in my hometown or across the pond. I am constantly amazed by the generosity and warmth I have received while tip-toeing around the world, this holds especially true in Ireland. I can only try to be as giving and thoughtful throughout my journey in life as others have been to me.