Galway: A Few Photos

Bird Near the Water, Galway Empty Street, Galway Black Bird Near Water, Galway


Like these photos? Check out more on my Flickr photostream.


Be Good: Going Through Airport Security as a Woman

Airports usually aren’t that horrible. Typically, I go through a moderate amount of stress packing and getting to the airport but then it is smooth sailing. Cruising through check-in and security, I mainly think about whether or not there will be good food and lattes on the other side of the line. Rarely do I have experiences that are even remotely bad but they occasionally happen. Over the course of backpacking through Europe, I didn’t really reflect on my interactions with security until my final border crossing in Dublin. They have a great system set up where you can go through customs before boarding a plane to the US. This allows you to walk off the plane in the US and not have to wait in any lines. You just grab your bag and go home. It’s genius really considering so many people show up at airports early anyway. It maximizes time and I appreciate that. Needless to say, I was pumped about using the system. Until I walked up to the man who examined my documents and questioned me. Matt and I typically go through passport control together as we travel in tandem. You can’t go through customs together unless you live in the same household and we didn’t at the time. I walked up to the man with a smile on my face, documents in perfect order, and my hope that if I was positive with this man, he would be positive with me. This is my general strategy when interacting with literally anyone in my life. No such luck this time.


(Here’s an approximation of our conversation with some commentary. I really wish I had written it down immediately after it happened. I left out stuff that I couldn’t remember perfectly because I didn’t want there to be any embellishment.)

Security: “Are you traveling alone?”

Me: “No. I’m with my boyfriend.”

Security: “Did you check a bag?”

Me: “Yes.”

Security: (Accusingly) “It doesn’t look like you did. I guess he checked it for you.” (Pulls up picture of our bags.) “Which one is yours?”

Me: (I didn’t lie so don’t act like an asshole to me.) “The burnt orange.”

Security: “Do you have any [list of long things like produce and food] with you?”

Me: (Happily.) “No. Unless you count the sandwich I bought after the first security line.”

Security: (Look of annoyance with equally annoyed tone following.) “Just put it in your bag.”

Me: (At this point I’m wondering if he wanted me to lie or something.)

Security: “I guess I’ll clear you. Go stand at that corner and wait for your boyfriend. (And here’s the kicker, folks.) Be good.”


Sure, mister! Let me just skip over there in my school girl outfit and braids carrying my brown paper bag filled with lunch.  I promise I’ll be really good. Don’t worry, I’ll wait for my boyfriend. Then he’ll walk me to our gate and buckle me into my seat because I can’t figure out where to go or what to do without him. Now pat me on my head and send me on my way.

I’m sure you can read the sarcasm in the above paragraph but just in case you can’t, I was being sarcastic. You best believe I walked over to that friggin corner. And then I pushed that frowny face survey button immediately and with indignation. What I really wanted to say to that man was, “How dare you tell me to “be good”? I have given you zero reasons to believe that I’ve caused trouble abroad or will cause problems in the USA. I am a grown-ass woman who takes care of herself. Sure, I travel with my boyfriend but I am perfectly capable on my own. And for the record, I don’t appreciate you being unnecessarily abrasive towards me when I’m being kind to you and answering your questions honestly. Now put a smile on your face and treat me properly as I’m sure you would want to be treated.” But really I think, “I’m sorry I don’t have a penis,” might have been more effective. I say this because the only time I ended up being treated poorly by security during this trip was when I didn’t have Matt standing by my side. But I’ll give this man the benefit of the doubt. Maybe he was having a bad day. Maybe it was just a coincidence that this man treated me poorly when the other male security officers treated me properly. Maybe the person in front of me gave him a hard time.  But I ultimately finished the process feeling that he said those things to me because I’m a woman. I didn’t like the juxtaposition of being told to wait for my boyfriend and to be good. Once again, maybe it was just an unfortunate coincidence but the whole exchange didn’t make it feel that way. After all, you should treat people (all people) like you would want to be treated. Maybe I should have told him to be good.

19 Cities, 15 Countries, 3 Months, 2 People

Matt and I have been working on our travel route for about a month. Basically, we decided to do a loop through Europe, landing and departing from the very west of the continent in order to make our flights across the Atlantic cheaper. It will take us roughly three months. We’re starting in the northern areas and then traveling through the south so we don’t have to pack a really wide range of clothing. Some of the places were randomly selected while others were chosen for very specific reasons. Matt and I are currently working on a calendar of how long we will be spending in each place. At least we have our route for now.


Now presenting, the path we will be taking through Europe (with occasional reasons as to why we selected a particular place):


1. Glasgow, United Kingdom (Monique’s Reason: The Four – aka Art Nouveau in Scotland)

2. Edinburgh, United Kingdom (Due to a recommendation from a friend)

3. Brussels, Belgium

4. Amsterdam, The Netherlands

5. Oslo, Norway

6. Stockholm, Sweden

7. Helsinki, Finland (Where Matt’s ancestors are from)

8. Munich, Germany (Oktoberfest!!!!)

9. Berlin, Germany

10. Krakow, Poland

11. Prague, Czech Republic

12. Budapest, Hungary

13. Vienna, Austria

14. Rome, Italy

15. Venice, Italy (Because we weren’t able to go due to price last time we were in Europe.)

16. Nice, France

17. Barcelona, Spain (One time we got to Barcelona’s airport… that wasn’t enough.)

18. Dublin, Ireland

19. Galway, Ireland (Nostalgia for Matt’s and my study abroad adventure.)