headshot2I’m Sandra, short for Alexandra (means for defender of men).  Addresses to date 47 or so, I’ve actually lost count and I’ve had 3 in the last year and in 2 weeks Ill have another, yes I am always on the move.  My mother has been writing my address in pencil for 2 decades now.   If you wanted to mail me a gift I couldn’t tell you where to send it so if I must get something in the mail I have it sent to a cafe I frequent and they hold it for me.  September 2012 my son started college and I was in a small Irish town with high unemployment and no decent single men and depressing prospects for the future.  You could say that I have been traveling aimlessly since then but really since June 1986.

Milano Italy June 2013(26)My son started college and I thought “What do I do now” so I answered an ad, and spent a month sailing for free in Croatia.  I saw an ad online from a stranger who wanted to find a crew to help pay for the costs of sailing his yacht around the Croatian Islands, and as luck would have it, I was chosen along with 3 other strangers.  A 23 year old from Germany, a 30 year old from Bulgaria via Iceland and a 62 year old owner from Croatia.


Donegal Airport


Los Angeles January 2013


Los Angeles Jan 2013


San Diego Jan 2013

IMAG0817-2The trip was amazing and the final cost was 11.00 Euro a day which included everything, food, wine, accommodation, fuel for the boat.  It also included the best tan I’ve ever had.  I’ve been on the move since.  November Ireland and the UK, December the UK and Donegal, January Donegal and California, February Los Angeles, San Diego, Big Bear, Mexico, Atlanta, and Texas.  Falcarragh Donegal 2013 (21) Houston Tx Feb 2013 (8)February back to a different part of Donegal for a training course as I’ve now decided to try to get employment offshore in the oil and gas industry.  I spent the last 3 weeks training to be a rigger, a slinger a banksman, being submerged underwater upside-down in a helicopter and escaping several times.  Fire Safety etc. Falcarragh Donegal 2013 (14) I returned to Dublin last week to see my son and as of next Wednesday the 20th of March.   I’ve no idea where I’m going next.  I’ve nowhere to stay in Ireland so I need to go somewhere.  I think I’m waiting for divine inspiration.  My family think I’ve flipped but really they are not used to women who just pack up and go searching for the life they want. I just know I only have one life and I don’t want to say what if I’d have, or I wish I had, or what if  ……………I wrote on  my childhood schoolbooks.  “when I’m old I never want to say what if”

I did my first transatlantic trip alone at 11 years old, I went to Des Moines Iowa USA from Dublin alone.  Then when I was 12 I did it again this time to Boston and I was addicted.  I traveled a lot as a kid but the trips alone were the best.  The Flight attendants took you under their wings so to speak and you were one with the crew.  It was no surprise that I was hooked on travel and that I focused on working for the airlines as a career.

Gulf Air Days 2

Thats me on the right

I graduated high school at 18 and the next day moved to the United States, I stayed there for 8 months, lived in 2 states, worked and studied Spanish for a while before returning to Ireland for love, ah yes I gave it all up for the burning love only a teenager feels.  Of course it will last forever I thought – and in my own dramatic style I returned to Ireland to surprise everyone on Valentine’s Day 1987.  I worked for a brief moment as an assistant nurse in Dun Laoghaire before becoming one of the first medical cut backs in the eighties.  But that was OK, although I loved the patients; I had Germany in my sights, Munich to be precise.  For no other reason than a young person told me he had a great summer working in a beer garden there,  So with boyfriend in tow we bought a tent and headed for Munich or to be really correct Munchen.  This was the first place I actually loved.  I took to it like a bee to honey. But wasn’t really strong enough at 19 to keep me, that would come later, when I hit 40 if that makes any sense.  After 4 fabulous months of which the said boyfriend hated but I embraced, I began a lifelong affair or addiction to travel.  I love being new in town, I love knowing what’s not coming next, I love knowing that I don’t know, and believe me I don’t know the answers to anything.  I love being the small fish in a big pond and I love sitting in a cafe in a strange country listening to a foreign language that I cannot understand.  I can’t express how much I love it.

SeaHaus Beer Garden my former employer.

SeaHaus Beer Garden my former employer.

The German dream came to an abrupt halt as the Germans would say, when my mother dragged me out of there, well blackmailed me out of there.  Suddenly the girl with an aversion for nuns and school was suddenly back in a navy school uniform complete with ankle socks and attending Loreto on the Green, secretarial school for young ladies under the firm control of Sr. Columbiere Doyle.  I was in hell.  I cried so much my mother took me to a bar on the corner of St. Stephens’s Green where the bartender convinced her I needed a stiff drink.  Obviously he’d seen this before.  On the plus side, if I was still in the states Id have been 2 years away from having that drink.

I suffered the secretarial course for 8 months and left for the airport immediately, taking time only to set fire to the uniform.  London was a shock even for someone who had survived 3 countries by now.  I went with a school mate, her sister was living there with her boyfriend and we were invited to stay for as long as we wanted.  When we arrived, we realized she was living in a squat.  Yep, I was now a squatter; still I suppose it gave me time to save.  I was scared to death the entire time I was there and coming home in the evening was the worst.  I ran through the tenements of Clapham Common flats and looked so out of place in my secretarial clothes that one reason I probably survived could well be the muggers thought I was nuts.

Clapham Common in the eighties was not the trendy sought after yuppie heaven it is today.  Needless to say I got out of there ASAP and found some people from my home town to share a house with – in the very safe, not, Seven Sisters Tottenham.  We were fine though, thanks to our landlord Eddie, who just happened to be hot and young and in a gang.  I think we were the only house in the neighbourhood that was never broken into.  In fairness we had nothing to steal.  Some rubbish secretarial clothes and Tampax perhaps, hardly anything worth selling on the black market.  We could have left the bloody door open for God’s sake.  Within 2 months the a fore mentioned boyfriend had quit college in Dublin and turned up on our doorstep in London.  London turned out to be great, I worked hard, had 2 jobs, lots of holidays moved house 3 times in 18 months but I was only 20 and I had become restless with itchy feet.  One day on my way to work on the tube, the smelly, dirty, overcrowded London Tube when I nearly mounted a fellow passenger while trying to read his freebie magazine, it read “ARE YOU A HIGH FLYER” Yes I wanted to scream, yes, yes, bloody yes.  This is what I was waiting for since I was eleven.   In order to stop me breathing over him my fellow passenger handed over the magazine and I read, no language need, thank God, I was shite at French, and well, they just weren’t interested in Irish, and even if they were, my feeble attempts of can I go to the bathroom wouldn’t suffice.  You had to be 21, of which I was 6 months shy, no panic, and lastly, I’d be based in Bahrain.  Hang on, where? I had to pull out the map for that.  Hmmm near Saudi Arabia.  Well the boyfriend wasn’t too pleased but I applied anyway, and hey presto I got the dream job, Flight Attendant for Gulf Air and they even waited for me to go on holidays and turn 21 before whisking me off to the Persian Gulf.  This was to be my home for the next 3 and half years.  Most people ask me why I never worked for Aer Lingus and the answer is simple, they don’t go to enough destinations.

Cabin crew water survival training test, thats me on the left

Cabin crew water survival training test, that’s me on the left

The Persian Gulf September 1989 until 1992, Well Holy God, prepare yourself for culture shock the add should have read.   It was here I learned to be homesick, I loved it though in a strange way, a dream come true in every way but as Oprah said “you can have everything you want in life, just not at the same time” I got to travel to so many places and be part of the crew for the first time in my life.  We had layovers of 5 days regularly in places like Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, India, and Sydney etc.  But of course we all know what happened in the early 90’s, the first Gulf War, AKA Desert Storm.  It was an amazing time for a 21 year old but still I was seeing the world from 5 star hotels and not staying long enough in the locations.  That and the war and my evacuation from Abu Dhabi airport by the British Embassy when I was sitting on the floor surrounded by men with machine guns, I decided I’d keep my part of the bargain with the boyfriend, so I packed my bags and the US Navy shipped them to the good ole US of A.  During my time in the Middle East I had lived it up to the fullest and drank for Ireland, too much in fact, like a lot of expats out there in the tax free heaven, and this was my reason to leave eventually.   We even had scud missile parties from the roof tops of Bahrain watching scuds land in Saudi Arabia.  Now that I’m older I know that’s shameful.   That’s how innocent I was, I didn’t quite understand the word war.  That was only something you studied in school.  The faces of soldiers returning to Bahrain from Kuwait still stick with me especially when we learned what they had seen and we knew the severity of the war.


I left Gulf air when I flew to my last new destination, 5 day layover in Kenya; we flew to Mombasa for a safari.  The boyfriend had been offered a transfer to Houston Texas, and I had promised that when he left London Id move with him.  By this time we had become engaged.  Oh for the innocence of youth.   During my time in Bahrain I had 4 addresses.

I stayed in Houston Texas for the next 5 years.  Again I joined the airlines, this time America West, and then Delta Air Lines, a great company to work for.  Here I worked ticketing, gates, baggage service and was then transferred to Atlanta Georgia to work in Flight Control.  Lucky me………………………. the hardest department to get into, but I called it the black hole of Calcutta, also the hardest one to get out of.  I had great benefits especially the free travel but really American Companies are so restricted with their vacation time and I couldn’t travel enough.  I always say Americans live to work, and us Europeans work to live.  Certainly I do anyway.  By now I had a young child and that boyfriend who had followed me everywhere bailed on me when I was 5 weeks pregnant.  At this point I was a single mom so cabin crew was no longer an option.  So I did what all young Irish girls needing more flexibility do, I bought a pub:) yep in my mind it made perfect sense, to be fair, I could now make my own schedule.  I was sad leaving the airlines but I’m a single parent I really had no choice but to resign, I didn’t have any family back up and the industry and the American work ethic really gave me no choice.  Some people aren’t cut out for 30 years in the same job dreaming of tenure, I guess I’m one of those people.  During my time in Houston I had 7 addresses.

I ran my pub for 5 years and with a toddler in tow still managed to have a life and travel. Ireland, Bermuda, America, the UK, Switzerland.  Then after 5 years of serious hard work I received an offer too good to refuse, so I took the money and ran.  I took my son out of 4th grade to the dismay and disgust of the school we traveled to Europe and around Australia.  When we returned six months later the school made him test to see if he could re-join his class or would be forced to repeat.  They had made him to a test when we left also and he actually scored higher than he did leaving, allowing him to return to the same class with his friends.  Imagine he left school for almost a year and he scored higher J who says travel isn’t the best education?  We stayed in Atlanta for one more year, I attended college and Ryan finished elementary school.   But my heart was aching for a change.  During our time in Atlanta we had 12 addresses.



At this point I was really lost and in my heart Ireland was calling. I was missing weddings and funerals and family.  I was under the illusion that many emigrants are that if I came back Id still have friends, and they would be happy to see me, and that my family would welcome me back with open arms and be delighted that the prodigal daughter had returned bringing with her the only grandchild.  Sure surely they would be delighted to have us home?.   So that was it, we packed up again and landed in Dublin in June 2005.  We based ourselves in Ireland and in the last eight years have traveled the UK, France, Poland, Spain, Italy, Lithuania, Slovenia, Portugal, Croatia, Bosnia Herzegovina, Germany, Canary Islands, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Monaco, Montenegro, Albania, Macedonia.

  1. Since I started my travels I’ve been to Australia, Austria, Bermuda, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Czech Republic, Croatia, Canada, Canary Islands, Ireland, England, Scotland, Wales, Germany, Spain, Italy, Monaco, United States, Mexico, Greece, Poland, Hungary, Isle of Man, France, Turkey, Bangladesh, India, Lithuania, Indonesia, Philippines, Pakistan, China, Bahrain, Egypt, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Kenya, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Qatar, Oman, Jordan, Iran, Syria, Iraq, Guam, Jamaica, Montenegro, Albania, Macedonia,.  I’ve forgotten some I’m sure …:)
Madrid, Spain

Madrid, Spain

I’ve never really understood people who say they saw Europe in 7 days with a tour group.  One guy recently told me he was in Salzburg but really he was in the train station for an hour, when I asked why, he said “so I could say I was there”.  I laughed and said he wasn’t in Salzburg and his facial expressions of disgust said the rest.
I’ve already mentioned I’ve no plan at this moment at this time.  My son just started college and I have a little more freedom.   Travel does not have to hugely expensive and everyone can do it.  That’s what I hope to achieve with my blog.  I don’t have the answers to everything, but I do have a lot of experience traveling solo and travelling as a single mother with a young child and then a teenager, and as airline crew.  I’ve worked ticketing and I understand the system.  I’m not the bravest person in the world but I do want to travel everywhere.  I don’t specialize in luxury travel but I don’t do hostels.  I’ve grown out of that stage.  I do have a knack for finding bargains and will try different types of accommodation.  I love reading travel blogs.  There are some amazing ones out there.  I’m entering into a world of travelling again this time alone and long term and hoping to be able to support myself doing so.  I’ll have no fixed abode for who knows how long.  I’ll write, finish my screenplay, publish my book and feel the wind beneath my wings……………… yeah, yeah, well I’ll do my best.

10732263_10154774413640014_1406207805_oSo to cap it off.  My name is Sandra, I’m 4o something years old.  I’ve been travelling for a long time, One the way I’ve had a baby in a strange country with no family or support.  I swore allegiance to another flag and got another passport, I signed up for the US navy, I joined the Garda Reserve.  I’ve buried my best friend and a boyfriend.  I’ve had more disastrous relationships than Liz Taylor; I’ve survived car wrecks, 2 crash landings on planes, a war in the Middle East, riots in India, and was lost on a boat in Iranian waters and rescued by the coast guard after being found by the US military on their radar.   I bought my own boat and I bought and sold my own pub, won a best actress award, wrote and toured with a play, appeared on stage in Ireland and the USA, but most important I’ve raised an amazing son.  Along the way I’ve been to 82 countries, not everywhere but I’m going there soon.


For the first time in a long time I can change my life and choose one based on what I need.  My son is in college now and I don’t need to be home every night. In fact there’s no point as he isn’t there.  I turned 40 and I am learning to deal with my age phobia which is huge.  I’ve only just learned to write my age down.  I still can’t say it out loud.  I love my son more than anything but its OK saying that I need more.  I’m quite shocked with the amount of people who’ve been telling me I’m a bad person by wanting a life.  Suggesting perhaps that as I’m over 40 my life is over and dreams and changes are not for spinsters of that age.    So I tell you what I tell them, find your own life, the world is amazing or watch me live mine.

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