Travel Jottings

Celebrating the best bits and bobs to be found while exploring Europe and North America. Much is inspired by real outings, whether they were walking, cycling or photographic in nature, while virtual blundering in the name of planning them has turned up some gems too. Regardless of how they were found, I hope that they keep coming so I can continue to share new things with you here.

Learning on the Go, Planning as One Learns, Telling of One's Goings

El Teide, Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain

Life is one overarching journey that is laden with side trips. Some are dead ends while others lead onto something bigger and what you find here comes from those roots.

My venturing into web publishing is part of that narrative but that is not a story for here even if there is an ever-present danger that I could lapse into that rut because it is the story of how this and other websites of mine came to be.

That is a story that explains the existence of a photo gallery and the development of an outdoors blog but there are other complimentary things to share. One of those is how and why I go travelling to other places in the first case.

Until the second half of the last decade, those wanderings did not have much of an international feel. Much of that was for family reasons so I more than contented myself with destinations around Ireland, England, Scotland, Wales and the Isle of Man. It helps that I have a great appreciation for rural scenery, self-powered travel and photographic images that never fails to keep me exploring old and new.

A major life event internationalised things for me and that meant that places in Scandinavia, the Alps or North America came within scope. The list of countries came to include Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Austria, Switzerland, Spain and Canada. The ongoing pandemic has throttled things on me but there are others like the U.S.A. or Portugal that are on my radar and countries always can be revisited. As if that were not enough of a collection, daydreams take me to Australia, New Zealand, Argentina and Chile as well.

Those more domestic wanderings are more important at the moment but they would continue anyway. Thus, there is a two-track process in action: more organic learning about countries that I already know well together with more concerted efforts for countries that are very new to me. The latter was ongoing when the pandemic hit so a possible trip to Colorado during the summer of 2020 did not happen but the research remains valuable.

It is the research and things picked up on the fly from magazines and online reading that supplies the bedrock for this part of the website. It may have started out as a selection of destination directories but it has come a long way from those. The idea is that the selection of content thickens over time.

What may help with that is that I cannot add tales of solo urban explorations to an outdoors blog so this is a place for those. After all, it feels mean to go away somewhere and not tell anyone about it afterwards. That it then acts as a record of one's travels adds extra motivation as well.

All in all, what you find here is a work in progress. There is so much more to learn about our wonderful world so logging that for others to find is even better. Of course, there are many travel blogs and other sources of online travel content so it will be the personal touch that offers something a little different. All of our journeys differ so my hope is that something unique is to be found here.

Ireland

It might be the land of my birth and upbringing but Ireland has much that I have yet to explore. It is the south-west of the island that I know best though other parts have seen my passage too. Western and north-western parts of what is billed the Wild Atlantic Way remain unseen and the newer Ireland's Ancient East contains more that I yet to savour. Whenever I go to Ireland, other things always eat up the available time so a bit more planning is needed to address my oversights.

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England

After living in Scotland, I moved to England for work and it really got my wanderings going. It is its northern and midland counties that I know best for many a walking trip has taken me around those parts. Indeed, such has been my interest in exploring hill country that the country's southern reaches have not be explored as much. What you find here is gathered not only from my own trips but also whatever has come my way in magazines and other periodicals too.

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Scotland

Scotland still charms me throughout these uncertain times. My time at university in Edinburgh was the making of me and its very special countryside has drawn me back many a time. Though other places now attract me, I have intention of giving up on the place yet. Places can be revisited and places can be seen anew. Many are stilly too and those are much prized in this unsteady age of ours.

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Scandinavia

For many years, going north during the summer meant a trip to Scotland's highlands and islands. Now, Scandinavian shores call for much the same reasons. Business trips to Denmark and Sweden have been followed by leisure excursions to Iceland and Norway. A return to Sweden's capital city is in mind and there is more of the others to explore. Only the surface has been scratched so far…

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Wales & Isle of Man

To anyone who knows more, this might seem a very odd pairing. There are differences of history, physical geography and current political arrangements so there are other reasons why I am bundling Wales together with the Isle of Man in this section.

After all, both are small places that offer much to explore. From an outdoor enthusiasts point of view, each has dramatic coastal scenery to go with wilder stretches of hill country and that combination has been enough of a lure to keep me returning to them on walking trips over the years. There have not been enough of those to stop me making a return when such an opportunity arises.

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More Places to Visit

It is not just Europe's north-western reaches that have got my attention for parts of central Europe beckon too. Here, it is the Alps that stand out for me. There have been trips to Switzerland and Austria and more may follow. The French Alps have not seen me yet though Brittany once did during my schooldays. At the same time, there was an excursion to Jersey and, since then, I been to the Isle of Man a few times. A business trip took me to Delaware but it is the wilder parts of North America that look more appealing. If I really get adventurous, New Zealand or Tasmania could take my fancy but I may just consolidate for now.

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Destination Directories

In many ways, these are nascent travel articles that have yet to be turned into something better than a listing of places on the web to go looking. There was a time when this part of the website only appeared like this. The collections have been distilled from travel reading about North America and I needed to keep them somewhere until plans turn into escapades. Given contemporary global events at the time of writing such as an ongoing pandemic, that return to overseas travel is delayed but hopes of a restart are not lost yet. Until those windows of opportunity reopen, there is little harm in daydreaming a little to keep up one's spirits.

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Practicalities & Inspiration

This is what was the United Kingdom section and I am changing what you find here to have a more general scope. There remain references to the U.K. and these will be softened. Recent political events mean that my feelings about the conglomerate of nations are not what they were (it has been home for more than twenty years and I am Irish) and the constituent counties have a bigger identity in any case. After the changeover, some hangovers from the current state of affairs may remain but they will be repackaged to fit the new intent. It will become somewhere for more general articles on travel, both domestic and overseas.

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