This is my first ‘meet another blogger’ post, I have been a big fan of Paddy for some time now, his escapades bring a smile to my eye, and are a pleasure to share through his trip reports; they remind me that some of life’s best memories start out with a sense of adventure and that we shouldn’t lose sight of that in the travel hacking game.
An introduction to ‘Paddy in the Big Apple‘
I have the reputation among family and friends as a footloose wanderer. It was the economy (or lack of it) which persuaded me to leave my Irish homeland for foreign shores to earn my keep. This started with a job in Denmark during college Summer break to pay for tuition, or was it beer vouchers? (same thing really). Eventually after college graduation, it was my turn for the inevitable emigration to a foreign shore (in my case, London) to begin a career in finance.
I joined several college classmates / friends, in a crowded house in London. Perhaps this is where the well laid plans all went terribly wrong. Away from the watchful eye of guardians (strict parents), party time was all too easy to find. All of a sudden, we ‘the Irish lads/lassies’ could escape to Continental Europe on a weekend flight/ferry and experience a completely different (often more liberal) culture. The hole in the wallet from said activities meant paying the rent could be a problem, but “tomorrow” was one our favorite words and spoken often to our unfortunate landlord.
Once such trip was a weekend to Amsterdam, where it coincided with the Dutch Queens birthday.This was before the age of online reservations, so upon arrival, we headed for the central tourist info to secure our accommodation for the night. To our disappointment, the hostels and hotels within our budget range were entirely sold out.
We figured we would just party the night away and hopefully something would be available in the morning (the follies of youth!) Long story short, we ended up sleeping on the floor in the central train station but were evicted by the police at 6am. An 8am return visit to the central tourist info was no more fruitful than the previous visit. We were advised to head to the city of Haarlem approx 30 minutes by train, to seek lodgings for the night.
We were not the only people redirected there and it too, turned out to be fully booked. It was now 11am and we were sleep deprived, hungover and desperate, so we hatched the best plan we could. We rented a Volkswagen transit van and drove it to a quiet car park and there, in somewhat cramped conditions we (5 of us) were finally able to sleep. Central station in Amsterdam had showers, so we headed back that evening and while we were there went for a few more quiet drinks until 6am (as one does in Holland) – whereupon we returned to our trusty mobile hotel for another good ‘days’ sleep.
Traveling for me, is about taking yourself outside of your comfort zone (I have to admit this was a tad too far from comfort) but as you learn to adapt and gain insight into your new surroundings, it tends to open your mind. Sounds familiar? Congrats – you may have NOMAD potential!