When I journeyed to France and Belgium last year, it was knowing I would have a car. That allows such flexibility in where you go and what you see… but, of course, it is also so much more abrupt! Racing down highways, seeing only the briefest of glimpses along the way.
Backpacking is a more intimate journey, but it requires a respect of logistics.
Let’s start with that most basic principal. It is the corollary of what goes up must come down. It is the principal that where you end must have a way to return to your beginning.Think of it this way… you’ve just walked many days down roads and through boggy places. It’s probably rained at least a couple times during your journey. If you are in bear country, you’ve made a point of not showering (even curious bears stay away from humans who don’t smell like flowers or deodorant).You have come to your end! Hooray!
But your car is now somewhere far behind you. You could just reverse your steps and walk back… Yeah… screw that! It feels oddly like sloppy seconds and is my least favorite alternative.
If there is a bus or a train readily available that can get you reasonably close to where you stashed your vehicle, it’s a winning moment. At least for you. You are tired and having your fellow passengers on the train or bus move quickly away from you with that funny look on their faces feels like a bonus. Makes you want to use your last little bar of power to take pictures.
But, for the most part, finding providential alternate transportation doesn’t happen! So, you need to fall back on those twins of travel – compromise and logistics.
In my case, it was looking at all the national marked trails in Ireland, giving up my dream of the northwest part of Mayo (forested reserves, hills, seaside trails, but one way with a bus at the end that only went further north once a day) and landing on Dingle.
Dingle has all outward appearance of lending itself to this type of journey. It has a bus that runs more than once a day from the airport to Tralee with only one connection in Limerick. Granted, it’s not a lot of runs, and it does take two hours, provided you make all the connections, but it avoids the expense of renting a car and the sure disaster that would result from my lead foot and stubborn adherence to the wrong side of the road.
Most importantly, the trail that I will attempt starts and ends in Tralee. A Circle! In an inhabited place!
Looks like I’ve landed on my destination… next up – puzzling through the sudoku of staging and preparation…