Time for my birthday.
I know some people hate their birthdays, but I personally love mine. It falls in springtime, but one can never tell if the weather will be winter or spring.
When I was in my 20′s I started something called the Random Birthday trip tradition. Basically, it entails putting a map up on the wall and closing my eyes, and picking a spot on the map to go no matter how obscure. Over the years, I’ve modified it slightly to fit in with budget, days off, or what have you but I’m still doing it and absolutely recommend some version of the tradition to others. For me, celebrating with the random trip does a few things. I get to travel, see the sites, and meet new people – AND (most importantly) reminds me I am still young enough to enjoy life and all the new experiences another year brings.
Helping set a Guinness World Record for Birthday #35 – the most people dressed as Leprechauns in one place (Rainbow Bar in Dublin, Ireland)
And the best thing? Somehow, the trip always ends up with a good time (even the bad things that happen) and a great story/ memory. One year, I was in an Ossuary (bone church) near Prague contemplating my own mortality…. and then met some people on the train back. We ended up in an Irish Pub in Prague (my birthday is day before St.Pad’s) laughing it up with a bunch of exPats who ended up Irish dancing on the tables as a bet….even the bouncers had a laugh and tried to learn a few steps themselves.
Another year, I ended up in Strasbourg, France for the carnival (surprise! it’s Carnival!) and covered in confetti (which I still find bits in the folds of the backpack years later) before getting lost on a 9 hour drive from France to Switzerland (seriously – after the first one detour signs didn’t exist!)… And yet another travelling up the canals in Amsterdam, Netherlands before heading on to Glasgow and Edinburgh, Scotland.
I’ve also been in Egypt (Sunrise in hot air balloon over the Valley of Kings & Queen Hathsheput’s tomb) for my birthday, and that’s just the more exotic ones.
Last year – I was in Turkey, walking my way up the Pammukkale waterfall watching an electrical storm move in.
This year, I’m going to be heading up to Northern Ireland to Londonderry and staying in a castle tower suite. I splurged a bit because the place looks really fabulous – and I’ve never stayed in a tower before. If I feel up to it, (I’m fighting off bronchitis right now) I’m hoping to get over to Donegal and maybe catch the Northern Lights… but as with all birthday trips – playing it by ear is the key. So, bring on the helpful suggestions from random strangers…. and the best stories / random happenings money can’t buy.