Lifetime Adventurer

My name is Carly. I started this when I was student teaching in Bogota, Colombia to document my time there and mostly help me remember. Now I'm using this as a personal journal for my travels, so I can look back in 5 years and remember what I did.
  • Day7

    Day 3: doolin -> killarney

    June 2, 2017 in Ireland

    Today was a lot more chill. When we checked in to the Doolin Inn yesterday, the guy working there recommended for us to visit the Doolin Cave. We decided to go to the first tour at 10 am. First, we got free breakfast at the inn which was nice. The cave was cool, super far down and home to a 8m stalagtite, weighing about 10,000 tons. There's also a stream going through the cave, making it a live cave. Our tour guide, Jim, was super nice and funny and seriously loved his job. He is very knowledgeable of that cave. There was also a nature walk and a cafe so we did those. The lady at the cave place then told us an easier way to get to Killarney, which involved a ferry across the River Shannon. We drove to the ferry but stopped along the way to take pictures of the ocean. The past few days we have been driving down the Wild Atlantic Way, which has provided a lot of great views. The ferry was also cool, I drove the car onto the boat, parked it and we got to walk around while we crossed the river. Then we started driving to Killarney but stopped again at a cute town for a late lunch/dinner meal. From there we went to the B&B we are staying at. The host is super nice and told is how to get to the town and also there's a Killarney national park tour that picks us up from here and drops us off here so she's booking that for us for tomorrow. We went to town, got ice cream and walked around the town. This town is less cute and more touristy and urban. But they have a Gloria Jeans coffee place hiring full time so if I don't come back you know where I am.Read more

  • Explore, what other travelers do in:
  • Day7

    Sorry I'm a day late. Yesterday we woke up in Birr and drove to Dungaire Castle. From there we went to the Burren national park which was a nice little hike. The drive to the Burren was honestly terrifying though... those streets were so small. It was like super back country roads that were barely wide enough for one car, and it got super stressful when another car passed. It was also hilly which made it worse. Then we went to the Cliffs of Moher. Oh. My. Goodness. The unbievable beauty was breathtaking. The cliffs are so tall and the ocean is just so beautiful. Words and pictures can't even describe the feeling of being up there. I took at least 200 pictures. There's also a castle so that was pretty cool! Then we drove to Doolin Inn where we stayed. Everything here is the cutest. We checked in and then walked around the cute little town, got dinner at a pub, and saw more breathtaking views of the ocean.Read more

  • Day5

    Day 1 in Ireland: Dublin -> Birr

    May 31, 2017 in Ireland

    What a day. It has officially been at least 48 hours since I've slept. I'm not even going to talk about the stressful flight, we made it to Ireland! There's already so many stories, like the rental car dude, driving on the wrong side of the road, and getting lost multiple times in Dublin. We started at the Guinness factory and did the tour of how it's made, ending at the Gravity Bar with our free pints and a 360° view of the city. From there we made our way to our AirBnB in Birr. Since arriving in Birr we've all been pretty delirious but managed to stay awake until 10:30. We brought our bags in and took a walk around the cute little town. We saw the outside of Birr Castle, got fish and chips (It's national fish and chips day, they were half off), and wandered for a bit before returning to the beautiful house we're staying in. We talked about plans for tomorrow and the rest of our time and are now ready for bed. I would honestly go into more details but I cannot tell you the last time I've been this tired. So enjoy some pictures instead!

    Sidenote: it crossed my mind this morning that I didn't clarify something about out the Guinness storehouse yesterday. I definitely did not finish my beer, nor did Becky or Sarah. It matters though cuz I am the one driving so I really just sipped on it for about 5 minutes and left it there.
    Read more

  • Day1

    Megabus

    May 27, 2017 in the United States

    It's me again! Currently in the middle of no where Indiana on a megabus. This adventure started in Chicago, as all of mine tend to. This time I'm going down to Nashville to fly out of the country though. This the the adventure of a lifetime for me; Ireland. I'm back in the blog so I can document my trip for myself, and of course any curious soil who happens to be interested. I've been dreaming of Ireland for at least 15 years, I honestly can't even remember how long I've wanted to go, and it's finally happened. I started this back in September/October. I was teaching third grade, going through a break up, and miserable. My first year of teaching was without a doubt the hardest year of my life so far. I can honestly say that being 22 has not been kind to me, tswift let me down. So I'm sitting in bed on a Saturday, depressed and watching PS I love you and decided that I was going to Ireland. I talked to lots of people actually throughout the months following and got a little group together. I wad committed, I was going to make it happen. I had signed up for the 12 month pay period so I was going to get paid over the summer and have the summers off so I had no excuses, it was happening. I got my tickets in December to spend two weeks in the emerald isle. Fast forward to February, even more miserable as a first year teacher, not doing well and having meetings with administration about what will help. I finally realized nothing would, at that point there was nothing I could do to make it work. I thought about it for a couple weeks and decided that I was going to quit and my students would get a new teacher after spring break. March 15th was my last day as a teacher and I moved back to Chicagoland with my parents. I still had my tickets though, so did my friend Becky and my cousin Sarah so I knew it was still happening. I got an easy and chill office job near home and they were so okay with me taking two weeks off! It also perfectly aligned with memorial day, so I get to spend memorial day weekend in Nashville and then Tuesday we fly out of Nashville to new york, then an overnight to Dublin! Sarah and me will be there 2 weeks, Becky and sarah's friend will be there 1 week. I have planned an almost impossibly full itinerary, knowing that it might not all happen. We will be hiking, kayaking, castle visiting, and general thrusting all over the country for the next two weeks. I plan on documenting those events. I know realistically I will not be able to write every night about that day, but I'm going to try. There will be lots of cities so I would like to document them here, but we'll see how that goes. As for now, I'm going to enjoy the 9 hour bus ride to Nashville and try to keep my excitement down until I'm actually on the plane.Read more

  • Day43

    Si se puede

    April 10, 2016 in Colombia

    Y'all keep them prayers coming.
    This week was exhausting. I'm half asleep as I type but I know if I don't write something now it won't happen. So here goes:
    Started the full course load last week. It was a lot and I'm tired but it was fun. I'm enjoying finding creative ways to teach them. My class is a challenge but I'm learning a lot! Like Thursday was rough, I felt kinda sick all day and super tired and my first lesson was not my favorite and then the class was kind of out of control but at the end of the day they learned something and that's what matters.
    Saturday was I went to the school play, it was hilarious! I know the script was funny but it was also funny because I know some of the students who were in it and they were phenomonal! Also pretty proud I took the public bus there AND back by myself. I haven't taken it back by myself yet so big step!
    Another big step today I took trans milenio home by myself. That's a bigger bus system that has scared me for a while but I did it! I also went to Parque Símon Bolivar with 2 girls from church after lunch and it was beautiful. It was also nice to get to know them and sit and enjoy the beautiful day with them. But we did SO much walking! My legs are jello right about now. Pictures attached!
    Also 3 more weeks, but two more weekends, where has the time gone? Still realizing how sad im going to be when I leave these people, but also this weekend missing my mom and dad (and whole family) a lot and can't wait to see them soon!
    Hasta luego
    Read more

  • Day36

    April fools!

    April 3, 2016 in Colombia

    Before I talk about the past week I just gotta say I'm gonna need some serious prayers this week as I start taking on all the responsibility of the classroom. The first week is always the worst!
    Okay so last week was pretty good. I felt super refreshed and ready to get back in the swing of things after break which was nice. Wednesday I introduced to the 5th graders how I was going to start doing classroom management and we started it Thursday, it went SO well!! I walked out of that class amazed at how much teaching I got done and how quiet they were. But of course we all know what Friday was....
    April fools! Either they all decided it would be a fun prank to be good one day and not the next, or they were just a little cray from the day. It was really funny, Thursday night Rachel and I switched all the desks from 6th and 5th grade so they were in the same position but a different classroom. Friday when the kids went to walk into the room and stopped in their tracks confused it was priceless! But the 5th graders didn't think it was funny, they kept asking why we did it and saying it wasn't funny. But it lasted all day, after lunch I had kids trying to walk back into 5th grade and then would remember and have to go next door to 6th.
    It was fun but then they started pulling pranks on each other. And of course it's more of a thing in the states so they're not used to it and don't really know what kind of pranks to play. One kid ended up crying because someone else hid her backpack. By the end of the day I was exhausted and so done with April fools!
    My weekend life was pretty boring. I finished some lipscomb assignments and planned this week. I accidentally stayed up til 1am Friday night (I guess technically Saturday morning) reading. After break I've been obsessed with Google Play books. Some of them are really cheap too so I bought a book for $3 Friday night and finished it Saturday. I didn't get much sleep though, or as much as I would have liked. So here I am at 8:45 pm ready for bed, and an alarm set for 4:50 am. Do I know how to live or what?
    Read more

  • Day32

    All the feelings

    March 30, 2016 in Colombia

    It's officially been 1 month since I've been here (as of yesterday), and today exactly a month until I go back. Being halfway through is bringing lots of feelings. The first month has flown by it seems! I'm obviously excited to go home and see everyone I've been missing so badly; but I'm also not ready to go yet. I'm scared I won't get to do everything I wanted to do while I'm here. From now on I'm going to try to get everything done for the week on fridays, that way Saturdays and Sundays I can explore and adventure. We'll see how that goes though... I get pretty lazy on fridays and generally just want to watch Netflix. BUT I'm going to be diligent and do my work so I can see things and not regret the time I spent here.
    Other general feelings: I'm feeling a lot more comfortable getting places by myself. The other day I missed the teacher van by 15 seconds so I had to take public transportation, and I made it to school! And I'm starting to take different ways to places and home to see which is the fastest. I switched up my walk home to make it faster. Last week I had to go to the store and I knew I had time to get lost so I took a way I had never taken by myself and figured it out, I didn't even get lost! Little triumphs like that are always fun. I'm also getting more comfortable with the language. Spending those 3 days at Prado with people who don't speak English helped a lot! And I went to both spanish classes this week, I haven't been since my first week cuz I forgot and had parent meetings the other weeks. So that will continue improving. Also getting more comfortable at school. I've been teaching 5th and 6th social studies for a couple weeks now and next week will start teaching 5th LA as well, taking on Rachel's full load of classes. Outside of teaching I'm getting more comfortable with the teachers as well. I feel like I'm generally acclimated now. Still obviously learning a lot of the culture but feel generally less overwhelmed with everything. It's a pretty good feeling!

    Random fact: on every radio station at 6 am and 6pm they play the Colombian national anthem. The radio is on right outside my room so I just got to listen to it. Pretty cool actually but I would probably get sick of it fast.

    Oh and I forgot to say, I think I'm falling in love with the family I live with. They are just so cute and loving and I'm so grateful they're letting me be a part of it for the time I'm here.
    Read more

  • Day29

    Prado, Colombia

    March 27, 2016 in Colombia

    What a way to end spring break. I was basically at Shady Shores except in Colombia.
    Wednesday night I spent the night at Beth (the director of ECA)'s mother-in-law's house so Beth and her husband, Rafa could pick us up at the same place at 5am. We got picked up Thursday and went to go pick up another girl, probably at least 2 years older than me named Anya. She's friends of Beth and Rafa and a Russian missionary here to work for a church as a Russian/Spanish translator. We drove 4 hours to Prado, which is south of Bogotá in what's considered "hot country", and for a good reason too. We parked at a dock to load our stuff into a boat and as soon as the car turned off I was sweating, and don't think I stopped sweating til I got home. We loaded our stuff on the pontoon and waited for Rafa's brother, Francisco and family (wife Carry, kids Sebastian 10, Silvia 7, and Cecelia 5) to arrive. Once all on the boat we took the 45 minute boat ride to the house. This lake was hand made in the 70s, it's a dam surrounded by mountains and it's HUGE. And gorgeous. The house has 4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, a straw roof, a pool, 5 hammocks, a pontoon, and 2 jet skis. Talk about living the life. Thursday consisted of lunch, then a nap and swimming at 3:30. We jumped off the dock and just kept swimming (Dory would be proud). While Beth, Carry, and I swam, the others were learning how to drive the jet skis. They periodically drove to where we swam to see if we wanted a ride, so at one point I got on one. Now the first time was somewhat awkward seeing as I did not know Francisco or Sebastian yet and here I am behind them on a jet ski, and I've never been on one before so I was absolutely terrified but as soon as he started driving I was in heaven. It's like as close to flying as I'll ever get, unless I decide to go skydiving. It was magical. The mountains were gorgeous and the sun was setting behind them. At some point we were going so fast and the wind was in my face it almost made me want to close my eyes but I couldn't miss out on seeing anything. We ate dinner and played games and went to bed fairly early, as we had all been up early to travel. Friday morning the pool is clean! We decided to take a pre-breakfast swim to cool off and work up an appetite. After breakfast the 3 kids end up becoming my best friends. They wanted to play games with me all morning and afternoon. It was fun honestly! And the cool thing was I hadn't had coffee yet. Until after lunch at 4pm I did not have coffee. Breakfast and lunch on Friday were very typical colombian meals that I already forgot the names of but breakfast was a soup and chocolate (hot chocolate), and lunch was rice, beans, ground beef, chorizo and avacado. I've had that meal so many times at this point. It's good but getting old. And the breakfast soup with hot chocolate is very common on the coast which doesnt make sense to me. It was so darn hot I could barely move and the typical things to eat are hot foods? I couldn't do it but I'm not from there so I'm not one to judge, it was still good food! After lunch we waited again for the sun to be less strong before going out into the lake again. This time we all got on the pontoon and went further out into the lake before jumping off (the kids and most adults had life jackets on). This way abuela Victoria could sit in the boat and watch so she wasn't alone in the house. We swam around for a while and there was 1 jet ski taking people out and back, which I naturally went on! Dinner was leftovers I think. Let me say one more thing about the food though: 1st I can't get enough of the juice! You literally take th fruit, put it in a blender with water and some sugar and that's your juice. And the types of fruit we used to make them were amazing! Passion fruit, guava, orange for breakfast, and some others I don't even know! And 2nd, the fruit!!! It's 10,000 times better than in the states. I ate mango and loved it and didn't even realizing I was eating mango! It's a while new world of fruits that is going to change what I eat when I go back! But back to the trip. Friday night we played more games (I'm bringing Dutch Blitz to Shady Shores!), I read some more and went to bed. Saturday breakfast was french toast with juice, salchicha (sausage), mango and mini bananas. Played more games with the kids and read some more before lunch. It was actually funny cuz they kept wanting to play games with me but I kind of wanted t read so I suggested we go to the hammocks and read/talk. These girls are so cute they talked the entire time! It was like one of those where they were mostly talking to themselves and I was just reading and saying yeah every few sentences. Before lunch we swam in the pool again when it was Shady and Beth, Carry, Sebastian and Silvia created a cute water show to perform before lunch (Cecelia was hanging onto me in the shallow section but we made 1 apearance in the show). After lunch again we took the pontoon to the lake to swim and go on our last jet ski rides before heading out. We ended up leaving super late considering the 45 minute boat ride to shore and the 4 hour drive home. The boat ride was in the dark which was pretty scary and cool at the same time. There was traffic though so we didn't get back til almost 1am. Also we made the obligatory stop on a place called Espinal for a smoothie thing called avena. It's like an oatmeal smoothie with cinnamon and milk. It was super refreshing on the way there but it made me a little carsick on the way back because the road back was super windy and we were going pretty fast, I could feel it moving around my stomach and it didn't feel good. But I made it back and went to bed around 1:30. Leaving me exhausted now at 9pm and about to go to bed cuz school starts again tomorrw. Ready for a week of learning and teaching!Read more

  • Day23

    Villa de Leyva

    March 21, 2016 in Colombia

    I'm writing this as I sit in a beautiful park in a place called Villa de Leyva. It's a beautiful colonial town about 3m5 hours north of Bogotá. I came with my host and another woman from school who are currently at a wedding. My host invited me to come with them so I could see the city  (it's a very touristy thing to do). We woke up at 4am to leave the house at 4:30, which naturally we didn't leave until 4:45, picked up Jenn at 5 and headed north. Their wedding was supposed to start at 10, which naturally it didn't  (another cultural tidbit: nothing ever starts on time and parties apparently last forever). The place we're staying is a house that is a hotel owed by friends of the brides family. It's a lot further from the center area than we thought and by the time we got there they had abut 20 minutes to get ready for the wedding and go. So Angela very nicely asked the owners if they could take me to the center, or the plaza. He agreed and when they left for the wedding we left for downtown. The first thing I did when I got here was walk into the middle of the plaza and take pictures, some of which I'll include. Then I did a loop around the plaza, the markets and restaurants, finding my first coffee stop. I found it all right and ordered a frozen coffee drink cuz I was already hot. I sat there and drank my coffee and read a sample of a book I downloaded on my phone specifically for today (I downloaded like 6 samples and already read 4). After the coffee I walked around for a bit, finding the park I am currently at (I just keep coming back cuz there's benches). Next to the park is a nice little store that sells bottles of water so I bought one and continued walking around the streets that go out from the plaza. I was looking at all the little shops and restaurants there are, and hotels and gardens and houses. There is so much to see here! Around lunch time I was planning on getting pizza but the places looked weird so I found a breakfast garden place where I could sit outside in the shade and eat. I got waffles with eggs that came with juice and café con leche. It was also playing mostly Beatles songs. I was clearly in love with the place. After lunch I didn't want to walk around too much right after eating so I came back to the park to read. Then I remembered a souveniers store where I had thought about buying stuff for people back home and set out to find it. On my way I found another one with great souveniers that I bought I still looked for the other one but didn't get anything. I kept taking new streets and seeing new things, taking pictures of everything along the way. I started getting tired again so I set back out for the park to read some more. On my way, at about 1:40 Angela called to say the wedding was over and they were headed to the reception for lunch and should be done by 5. So I figured I'd stay on the bench for a while and read, seeing as I had time. I finished yet another sample (they only give you like 5 chapters before making you buy the book). I decided to start walking around again, maybe find this coffee and pastry shop with a table at a window with a bunch of books on the window sill. I've walked passed this place at least 7 times and every time there is someone sitting there. So I went away from the busy center and went for a prayer walk along the less busy streets. I found an ice cream store, got me some ice cream and sat, yet again, at the park to eat it. Got more water and here I am, sitting on a bench at 4:30 waiting. I had a few more things written down to do, like find this terracotta house and go to this art museum, but when I walked passed the museum it was closed. And I have a feeling the house is a bit of a walk away from the plaza, so I'm not going to find it. I decided instead to use this time to write this post, because we all know I won't do it when I get home, life is just too busy for that, or I'm too lazy, whichever you choose to believe ;) I might go walk passed that coffee place one more time to see if that table is free, or another lap to waste time.
    Update: I walked a big loop around the plaza again and returned to find 4 guys performing really cool music in the middle of the square. I stopped to video them, naturally. I stepped inside the church to take some pictures and then looked across and finally found that window seat open! It was just as amazing as I expected it to be. I went straight to the tabel, ordered a macchiato (definitely putting a picture), found a book in English and started reading and dining my coffee. It was wonderful. Then angela and Jenn called that they were on their way and not even 15 minutes later they were standing outside the window calling me. It was actually really funny cuz she was saying where they were and I kept looking out the window for the car  (I should also add that the window had no glass) and finally she said, "wait! I see you in the window, look to the left, i mean the right!" And I looked up and there they were! They thought it was super cute too and joined me inside where we sat and talked for a little while before deciding we didn't want dinner, we had leftover breakfast and they had a late lunch so we walked to the car. Also, this house hotel is beautiful!
    Read more

  • Day21

    Random Things

    March 19, 2016 in Colombia

    I've mainly only been talking about school and my days there, but I haven't really talked about Colombia yet and what I've experienced in this country. So here goes my random cultural findings:
    First I should say it's definitely a third world country. The proof is in everywhere I look. The streets are worse than any Chicago street (sorry to say). One day I took the public bus to school, and they get super busy like I have mentioned before, so you're standing right in front of someone sitting down holding on to the bar on the ceiling for dear life. There is one exceptionally bad street on the way to school and I promise, it took all of me to keep my feet on the ground as we drove down the street. It was like a really cheep roller coaster.
    But besides that, as you drive down the street you see little shops and things that I can't explain and one day might take a picture of that show where the economy is at here.
    Another thing, everything is 10x smaller. In the States one store could turn into 3 stores here. It's insane to me and my first day was a huge shock. Even the restaurants are unbelievable small. The problem is, I'm going to come back and be weirded out about how big everything is.
    I need to correct my first post. I called it the AutoVista, it's actually the AutoPista (not technically capitalized, that's just for effect). But they pronounce it like a v so I got confused. Let me explain this autopista to you. Its 3-4 lanes each way, separated by a 5-lane-wide median of grass and trees (sometimes so thick you can't even see the other side). The way it works is one side goes north, the other goes south. BUT, there's no turning left. Si like on the way to school we take it north, and technically the street to get to school is on the left side. To get there, you take a u-turn called a Returno to start going south and then turn right into the street. That's just how it is. So you need to go north passed the street, take the next returno, start going south for a bit before you can turn into the street. And all along the autopista there are bridges over it for people to walk across. Which is helpful because after school the van drops us off on the other side from where I live, so I cross the bridge and walk along the sidewalk along the autopista until I get to my street. Something I've seen in the median is little tents where homeless people live. I've also noticed some construction or something involving digging in the middle but I haven't figured out what it is yet.
    Another cultural thing is the way people speak. I don't want to generalize it but the Colombians I talk to in Spanish speak so fast and so quietly. I have to ask them to repeat themselves so many times its crazy because I really can't hear them and they are so fast.
    I'm learning some of their customs though. When my host drove 2 boys home who live in our complex, that night one of their moms brought arepa (a bread type thing they eat for breakfast he was telling me about as he walked me home) as a thank you. This week, my host lent a student (possibly the same one) stuff he needed for his mission trip, so his mom brought a pound cake as a thanks.
    Now I'm going to say something really fast about the food. Cakes are not good here, from what I've experienced. The pound cake was super dry. When my student's parents threw him a party, the parents served wine cake, which is a super common thing here. People like cook their cake in wine, but it was soggy. Almost like tres leches cake but such a weird flavor because its wine. I took two bites and could not finish. I guess they think the wine makes it more moist, but it's just weird. Otherwise, I've eaten lots of beans and rise and fruit. The juice is literally blended fruit, it's incredible. And obviously a lot of strong coffee.
    There's probably more but that's all I got for now. The random things I've learned about Colombia so far.
    Read more

Never miss updates of Lifetime Adventurer with our app:

FindPenguins for iOS FindPenguins for Android