Lookout, Ireland. I’m Heading Your Way in 2016

Mystical Wicklow Mountains, Ireland
Mystical Wicklow Mountains, Ireland

Look out, Ireland. I’m heading your way in 2016, at least that’s the plan. What started out as half a joke is another step toward reality.
A few weeks ago on a Friday, my car broke down and long story short, on Saturday I ended up walking from my home to the Sears Automotive shop to deal with my beloved Saturn. As I was walking along the sidewalk-free road in grass that probably had not been cut in a month (and during this time of year in Florida grass needs to be cut on a weekly basis), I kinda felt as though I was in training for a multi-day walk. Specifically, I felt as though I was training to walk Ireland’s Wicklow Way.

How the heck did I think of that? Random, right?

If A Chicken Can Do It…
When I visited Ireland a couple of years ago to attend opens in a new windowTBEX Europe, I sat next to one of the conference organizers who was planning on walking the Wicklow Way through the Wicklow Mountains following the conference. He told me it would take him about six days and it was the type of trail where you don’t need to camp but can stay in B&Bs along the way.

I had no idea where or what the Wicklow Mountains were but he sold me on the idea of doing it in the future. During that trip, I ended up opens in a new windowvisiting the Wicklow Mountains and fell in love with the scenery and history. I also saw some hikers walking the trail.

“I can do this,” I thought.

But why?

Well, just like the chicken’s answer for crossing the road, the only reason I want to walk this trail is simply because I want to. It also fits the amount of vacation time I have with my day job because I don’t have time for a month or longer thru-hike.

As for the timing, if not now – or if not planning now – then when?

My dear, uber-cool friend Jen (who owns opens in a new window8 Arms Community Bakery in Washington) has hiked the Pacific Crest Trail and Continental Divide Trail, which took her months for both. Bill Bryson partially walked the Appalachian Trail (and wrote about it in A Walk in the Woods) because the cool kids were doing. Cheryl Strayed hiked the Pacific Crest Trail to deal with her past. (And wrote about it in Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail.) My friend Janet will be opens in a new windowwalking across America next year to raise awareness about obesity. (Check out her blog opens in a new windowRoam for Improvement.)

Friends, writers, adventurers have hiked to accomplish, prove or raise awareness for something. I want to embark on a multi-day hike in Ireland simply because I can. It’s not to blog about. It’s not promote Ireland. It’s not to make a statement other than I can set a goal and make it happen.

Which Way Do I Choose in Ireland?
The question is, do I stick with the Wicklow Way? After doing a little bit of research, it opens in a new windowmay not be as easy to hike as I first heard. That’s alright, there seem to be dozens of hikes in Ireland to choose from and I’m currently eyeing the opens in a new windowWestern Way in Mayo because that’s where my great-great-great grandparents were from.

My target date for this trip is September 2016 and although this trip is mine, anyone interested in joining me is welcome to do so. opens in a new windowDrop me a line or message in the comments.

Have you hiked any of Ireland’s trails? If so, which do you recommend or what tips do you have for me?

My social media hashtag for this experience is: #STGTrekinIE



Jennifer A. Huber is an award-winning travel and outdoor blogger and writer in Southwest Florida. Originally from Buffalo, N.Y., a hiking trail led her to a career path in the tourism industry for more than 30 years. She spent a decade with a park management company in Yellowstone, Death Valley, and Everglades National Parks. She founded the travel blog, SoloTravelGirl.com with the goal of inspiring others to travel alone, not lonely. The unexpected death of her former husband in 2008 reminded her how short life is. His passing was a catalyst for sharing her experiences with the goal of inspiring and empowering others to travel solo. Jennifer holds a Travel Marketing Professional certification from the Southeast Tourism Society, is a certified food judge, member of the NASA Social community, and alum of the FBI Citizens Academy. When not traveling, she is either in the kitchen, practicing her photography skills, or road tripping with her dog, Radcliff.

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