The Journey Begins

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“Nothin’s gonna get’ch you there! Not your little compass, not the size of your penis- nothin’!”

– was the response I got while asking for directions to Glendelough, Ireland’s National Park.

Fortunately, this was the only bump in my road, in regards to interacting with other people. Besides this, honestly humorous conversation, I have been met with nothing but kindness from the people here. Ah, except at the border control where the man wasn’t convinced that I didn’t want to live here. I was only given two weeks to explore this stunning country.

Dublin, very similar to Philadelphia, was loaded with old architecture, and it came with a certain feeling of openness. Every town I have walked through has at least 4 bars, all proud to serve Guinness. After landing, I walked to my couchsurfing host, Vijay, and we spent the night cooking, discussing religions, and more. He gave me traditional Indian food for dinner and breakfast the next morning, and was an excellent introduction to the community of CS.

I waltzed down and spent the night fairly cold as I got lost in the town of Enniskerry. I slept in a wheat field, fighting off rats, and in the morning I had learned my lesson: Don’t wait until nightfall to find a place to sleep. I found myself in Bray, and was invited by a Couchsurfing group to hike the mountain there. After the hike, they told me that if I had dinner with them, they would pay for my meal. I have my new acquaintance, Namig, to thank for a chicpea burger with “Chips,” (A.K.A. Fries).


Life here has been fun. Often times by accident, I’ve seen so many unbelievable panoramic views that  finally taught me the value of experiencing something so massive first hand. I took some photos of certain areas but they simply do not convey the feeling in your soul that you get when you see them with your own two eyes. Here for example is a picture taken on the top of Luggala, above the owner of Guinness’ home-



You can see it and say, “Yeah, that look’s pretty grand,” but you can’t feel the mist soaking your clothes, the wind almost blowing you over (Seriously, the wind here does NOT joke around), or the incredible height at which I am standing. Maybe it’s because my camera is a simple ‘Point-and-shoot,’ but to stand above that was simple breathtaking. I wish I could have shown this to the man I had quoted at the start, because boom, baby, that was taken after walking over 100 Miles to the sight. I have learned that I can do whatever it is I want, that where there is a will, there is a way, and often times, the way is quirky, unpredictable, but undeniably more pleasant that the easier, more modern mode of travel.

It was here that I ran into a group of French folk that here hiking The Wicklow Way. Since I was going the same direction, we joined up and a wonderful time. By the time we got to the village of Roundwood, they offered to buy me a drink with them at the local bar- my very first Guinness in the land of the Irish at a table of French men. Afterwards, we hopped a fence behind a lake to camp out, wash our clothing, and clean out otherwise smelly bodies. I definitely needed that =P

Right-Left: Me, Leo, Manu, Adam, Pierre
Drying out our clothes.

We split ways in the morning after they berated Irish cheese for being pretty much worthless, I headed down to the sea fairing town of Wicklow where, when scoping the area for a place to stay, I bumped into an old man named Sean Cleary. After talking for a bit, he said, “Well, how would you like to stay indoors tonight?” And just like that, I had a bed, dinner and breakfast, and I learned all about this man’s life. Turns out he was a big humanitarian who worked with a woman named Kay Barry in Bosnia, and the former Yugoslavia. He, like every other religious person I have met, is a devout Catholic, although as he says, many young people are turning away from the belief. It’s not often that I am invited to stay in someones home, however, mainly, I believe, because of my  suspicious physical appearance and the fact that I probably smell weird (I definitely do miss hot showers every day). But Jane and Emily Murphey were two very kind souls who also gave me a couch to sleep on and food to eat. They were part of a church that was, I think, “Full Latin Mass as ordained by Christ Himself,” which you can take or leave. No matter the case, the people there were as kind as I’ve met and the women were amazing cooks.

Speaking of Catholicism, this group has been the kindest I have met so far. I always stop in at the large church buildings, if only for the complete silence within their walls, but in most cases, someone comes over offering me food. And so far, they always allow me to camp out on their property.

As for everyone else Fate had cross my path, they have all been pleasant. The two women from a coffee shop in the town of Dalkey, the man in the photography display preparing his Siberian trip, the former Irish boxing champion who plays the accordion after Sunday mass, the dog who peed on my backpack, the girl in the camping store, Americans hiking the Wicklow Way, all the above mentioned persons, and more. I truly feel so blessed, so alive, and so full of potential experience that I frequently feel as if my life is not real.

With that being said, my entire time hasn’t been great. I got a bad fever a few days ago but have since recovered, and let me tell you that hiking 15-20 miles a day sucks sooooo bad when you’re sick. Yeah, screw that.

As I said earlier, I only had two weeks for Ireland because the immigration officers thought that I wanted to live here forever. But, I suppose this is the beauty of the way I am going: I have no plan set in stone, and I can work with this life however it comes to me. Tomorrow, I am catching a flight to France, and I have a strong feeling that I might soon walk El Camino De Santiago, if not now, then certainly when I come back through France next year.

Until next time, here are some more photos. Thanks for following, share this post if you want, and don’t forget that you can always pop in and say hello in person where ever I am =] I’m going to France to get some cheese and wine on the recommendation of my French Pals- so until then!!


Oh, and P.S. Fresh Blackberries, like, EVERYWHERE!!!



11 thoughts on “The Journey Begins

    Steve b said:
    August 16, 2016 at 8:08 pm

    Good to see your well, Molly and I were just talking about you on Sunday. Keep your self safe and well. P.S. Damn the man, next time they give you grief and only two weeks, smile, politely thank them and stay four weeks. Their only gonna kick you out if they catch you any way. Keep on keeping on my brother.


      Samuel Barger responded:
      September 20, 2016 at 11:27 am

      Steve!! The fleece you have me has saved my ass so many times!!!! I wear it often and everytime I say a small “thank you” to you.


    Mike M. said:
    August 16, 2016 at 9:33 pm

    You’re my hero right now!! Absolutely living the dream!! I would certainly take advantage of the cheese in wine in France. Some of the best in the world. Continue to stay safe, take it all in and have fun!! Good journey!!


    Noah D Barger said:
    August 17, 2016 at 12:05 am

    Hey buddy, It was very exiting reading your first post. It was filled with so many interesting stories! I’m glad you are meeting kind people along your journey. Fighting of the rats must’ve been gnarly😳 I hate rats!!! I just keep thinking how perfect you are for this adventure! Can’t wait to see what happens next! Be well. Love you brother! ✌️


    Sharon Johnson said:
    August 17, 2016 at 12:18 am

    Keep the stories & updates coming Sam! What a neat experience! Love from Uncle Tim & Aunt Sharon


    Tina Fugill said:
    August 17, 2016 at 1:10 am

    I am so thrilled for you to be taking this trip. Traveling is some of the best nourishment for the soul we can find on this planet. I doubt you remember me, I think the last time I saw you you were probably seven or eight, but my family used to attend Calvary Chapel and I remember often coming to your house in Manahawkin and spending plenty of time out back with you all and the animals.
    Anyway. When I was eighteen I lived in southern Switzerland, in Sorengo, just up the mountain side from Lugano. I still keep in touch with a few of the locals all of which were amazing, and a handful of friends from school that live in Lugano, or elsewhere in switzerland. That being said, if you happen to pass through Ticino/Tessin and the city of Lugano in Switzerland I can definitely put you in touch with a handful of amazing game people who are kind, and generous, and full of life.


    Tina Fugill said:
    August 17, 2016 at 1:13 am

    …a handful of amazing people who are kind, generous, and full of life.*
    Not sure where my phone got “game” in the midst of all that but I had to correct it.


      Samuel Barger responded:
      September 20, 2016 at 11:28 am

      Hahaha, yeah I figured that’s what you meant 😛

      I should be near Switzerland sometime in 2017, when I get nearer ask you 😀


    Kate Gunn said:
    August 17, 2016 at 2:17 am

    This is amazing! Thank you so much for posting highlights from your journey. I can’t wait to hear more stories of your fantastic adventures. Maybe one day you’ll write a book about your travels. I love you, stay safe! XOXO


    Melissa Albright said:
    August 26, 2016 at 1:46 pm

    Sam! This has been awesome to read! What experiences you are having! So proud of you to just go do what you felt was on your heart! Safety and prayers sent your way, dear cousin!
    Love, Melissa


    Mom said:
    August 27, 2016 at 7:14 am

    Many of us find it thrilling to be “cyber-travelers’. Your stories are exciting, your writing is articulate, and your sense of humor adds great ‘seasoning’ to the whole experience. Keep feeding us portions of your journey, Sam, and thanks for the opportunity to tag along. ❤


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