Back in the UK

Trip Start Dec 26, 2005
Trip End Jan 25, 2009

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Flag of Ireland  ,
Wednesday, June 7, 2006

Northern Ireland is part of the UK for those of you that didn't know (including me before coming here), hence the title! I'm learning heaps on this trip!

It's kind of weird going from Euros back to British Pounds, especially when I was starting to get use to them. I crossed the border into Northern Ireland earlier this afternoon... I drove for about 9 hours from Galway to Belfast, stopping at some unreal places. Ireland's coast is probably the best I've come across. It was refreshing stopping along some remote stretches of coast. I enjoyed my drive through scenery that is getting better by the day.

Everything is reminiscent of my time in the UK... street signs in miles, prices in , UK radio, English style houses etc. I'm still trying to come to grips with how the north and south of Ireland are so different.

Given the glut of accommodation in major cities, I'm staying in a small village called Ballycarry, about 8km north of Carrickfergus, which is 9km north of Belfast. The B&B I'm staying at is very comfortable, set in a remote, country setting with lots of hills and sheep. I'll post a photo soon. The owners are ever so friendly... but it would be a lot more fun sharing it with someone... I will travel in and out of Belfast each day. I kind of feel like relaxing and partying over the next 4 days... and maybe see a sight or two.

Belfast's city centre is quite deserted which kind of concerns me (I was expecting more)... I don't like walking around deserted cities, especially ones with Belfast's past! I've found a couple of streets with what seems to be some kind of night scene, but it is nowhere like the buzz of cities like KL, Bangkok, HK, London etc. Maybe the weekend will see the streets get busier. I'm glad it gets dark late.

As I've mentioned to a few people, I'm starting to feel the effects of travelling alone... maybe I'm reaching my limit? For the first 4 months, I was definitely in 'honeymoon' mentality because I rarely had the time to think about it... but as I continue to travel, I'm kind of changing gear and looking for more out of my trip. I'm getting sick of moving from hostel to hostel, without consolidating relationships or doing anything of substance. The enthusiasm that I had on the 26th Dec has practically gone... I have a contact (fellow travelpodder) who did volunteer work in South America (Peru) with orphaned kids which has inspired me. An option that I'm considering is that, if I return after my trip to Perth, I expedite my time in Europe and get to South America faster for the purpose of settling in Quito, Lima, La Paz, Santiago or Buenos Aires (or a remote area) and do something of substance... volunteer, go to school for an extended period of time (Spanish) etc. I don't know too much about this so if any of my readers knows more, I would be interested in hearing from you. My current thinking... but constantly changing as I have so many options in front of me. But one thing is for sure... I don't think I want to continue hostelling and continue to move from place to place at a dizzying pace.
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