“I’m tired. I’m so tired. Please someone help me, I’m writing an article for a bunch of 20-somethings in Rhode Island who don’t appreciate my work, humor, or the recounting of my experiences.”
That is what people would say if they were burnt out from their trip to England. But guess what gang, I’m not just burnt out from my travels through England. I’m tired from all of my travels. Last week, I traveled to Amsterdam and backpacked across the country of Ireland.
I now take you back to Oct. 18, my birthday. I went to a taping of The Graham Norton Show; he is basically the Jimmy Fallon of England. I got two tickets to this show and decided that I would have this girl I met from Norway come with me. Not only did I get tickets to the number one chat show in the United Kingdom and was accompanied by a Norwegian girl, but I was invited to do the red chair segment on the show (look up “Graham Norton Red Chair” on YouTube and you’ll understand how serious this was).
This gave me, Alex Bowden, a chance to speak to Eddie Redmayne, Jude Law, Emma Stone, Melissa McCarthy, and Rick Astley. Well, it wasn’t just a chance, because I actually spoke to all of them in this segment. After the show, the Norwegian girl invited me to a party on the other side of London that she was having on Oct. 20. I said yes, forgetting that at 7 a.m. on Oct. 21, I had a flight to Amsterdam, on the other side of London.
Fast forward to Oct. 20 and I attend this party across town. As is tradition with most girls I have a rapport with, I ended up being friend-zoned. Classic. I left the party at 1 a.m., and it was officially Oct. 21. The Norwegian girl made it clear that I was her “cool American friend” and I hitched a ride on several double decker buses, attempting to get back to my res hall by memory with a dead phone. Once I got to the hall, I packed a backpack of clothes I would be wearing for the next week and then hopped on another bus to Victoria Station to get a ride all the way to Gatwick Airport.
With little time to spare, I arrived at the airport, jumped on the plane, and a little over an hour later, I was in the Netherlands. I finally arrived at my hostel in Amsterdam at 2 p.m., marking a full 24 hours of me being awake. So I fell asleep and woke up at 8 p.m. on a Sunday night in Amsterdam. Amsterdam is a beautiful city because it is extremely busy yet it’s so quiet. This is because everyone uses a bike and every time you hear a car, it’s a surprise.
The canals and old cobblestone streets are gorgeous and the food is incredible. I only stayed for a few days and everything fun that I did should most likely be left out of this article, because the United States legal system and most likely the RWU academic system would not approve of me discussing it. So I’ll just kindly move on to my trip to Ireland.
I was alone in Ireland. I had no plans except that I needed to get to one little town on the other side of the country called Ballynahown, placed conveniently in the swamp lands of Ireland. I needed to get to Ballynahown to find distant relatives, who have no idea I exist, so that they can show me where my family comes from. Unfortunately, I was in Dublin with no clue where to go. Oh, did I mention my phone died there too?
After a horrid night in a Dublin hostel with a man behind me snoring like a tiger ripping through an antelope carcass, I found a bus that would take me across the country to Galway for only 12 euros. This is an Ireland tip for all of you future travelers: Dublin is overrated, Galway is where it’s at… just watch Ed Sheeran’s video for “Galway Girl.” I literally went everywhere he and Saiorse Ronan went. Galway was touristy but everything was central and right near the coast line so if I were to start swimming, eventually I’d end up back in Rhode Island or eaten by a shark.
But only 40 minutes from Galway was the little town of Ballynahown, so I woke up one morning, bought a bus ticket and eventually ended up there. I asked around to find my family member and eventually I was led to his home where I told him we were related. We talked, took pictures, and then I hopped on a bus back to Galway.
On my final day, I had a bus trip from Galway to Dublin, then a flight from Dublin to London Luton Airport, and then a train ride from Luton Airport to London Central at King’s Cross. I finally got back to my place at 2 a.m. and crashed on my bed. Homework undone and clothes completely unwashed, I checked my phone to watch the new episode of Graham Norton.
My bit was cut from the show. The Norwegian girl friend-zoned me. I spent too much cash on traveling. I’m so tired. But I couldn’t be any happier. I’m so happy to share all of this with those of you reading, and I will never forget these experiences for the rest of my life.