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July 22, 2008

Ireland or Bust

Nick Diaz

          My wife and I are leaving for Dublin tomorrow. No, not Dublin, Virginia, nor Dublin, Ohio. Not even Dublin, California.


            We’re going to Dublin, Ireland – THE Dublin.


            Neither of us is Irish. I’m Cuban by birth and American by choice. She’s American by birth, Swedish by direct descent. We have nothing to do with Ireland. We’ve never been there, nor do we have any relatives there.


            So, why Ireland? Because we’ve never been there. We enjoy European travel, having visited our Swedish relatives several times, dropping by the United Kingdom, Norway, Finland, and Denmark, with a couple of unusual stops in Iceland and Estonia.


            In the meantime, Marianne’s Swedish cousin Yvonne, with husband Magnus, are flying to Dublin from Stockholm. The four of us will meet in Dublin, rent a car, (no, not a motorcycle this time), and off to the Irish countryside for a couple of weeks. Bed-and-breakfast places await us, castles in the sky, pubs serving Guinness and/or Murphy’s and/or Beamish, friendly Irish folks speaking an incomprehensible and undecipherable indigenous language – we’ll take in Ireland at its best.


            “Why not see the USA? There are many places in this country of ours that are worth visiting. Why go abroad?”


            This argument doesn’t make sense to me. Yvonne and Magnus are coming to the USA in 2009. We’ll get into our minivan and tour North America then. The USA can wait. Ireland can’t.


            “The US dollar is way down, while the Euro is way up. Why go to Ireland, or any other European country, when it’s going to be more expensive?”


            Because we’re 60 years old; if we don’t do the Ireland thing now, when the heck are we going to? The dollar is the dollar, the Euro is the Euro – it is what it is. We’ll deal with it.


            “The price of fuel is up so high these days. We must conserve energy! Why are you using up so much fuel and leaving such a large carbon footprint, taking a jumbo jet across, driving a car – all for pleasure? Can’t you think of the environmental implications of taking such a trip?”


            No. I truly don’t care. I’m going to Ireland, and doing so as an American, with an American passport, wearing American t-shirts, speaking American English (with a slight Cuban accent, I know…), and all of it in a totally guiltless way.


            As you know by now, I’m a dedicated touring and commuting motorcyclist. I ride to work, and I ride for pleasure. I consume petroleum products. I pay for them out of my own hard-earned money. I’m not going to stop doing that just because some environmental alarmist tells me I’m being irresponsible with our energy resources.


            Matter of fact, the more these yoyos try to shame me into compliance with their stone-age, high-horse pronouncements, the more pleasure traveling, on two or four wheels, I will undertake.


            And I’ll continue traveling abroad, visiting Ireland, and some day Spain, land of my ancestors; Argentina and Uruguay; Italy; Australia and New Zealand. And yes, my beloved USA as well.


            Tentacle readers, act like Americans – mobile, adventurous people who delight in meeting new places and experiencing new things. Travel all you want and can afford. Do so in a totally guiltless manner. Don’t be intimidated or shamed to do this or that, or to prevent you from doing this or that.


            Do the American thing. Exercise your freedom to see the world, whether in North America or not. We’re a free people – let’s act as if we are.


            I’ll think of my Tentacle readers as the four of us sip the Guinness stout in a friendly pub, in some obscure Irish village in the middle of nowhere, accessible only on an invisible road.


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