Monday, 08, February 2016

Filed under:
The River Lee

Written by
Nicola Brady

The Bucket List Trip of a Corkman

(and what he misses from home)

We follow the world travels of Corkman Pierce Lowney from The River Lee in Cork.

You’d be hard pushed to find a person who doesn’t love travel. There’s nothing like the thrill of getting out in the world - seeing new places, exploring exotic cities and recharging on far flung beaches.

But while we’ll all happily wax lyrical about our travels, there are a few things we keep to ourselves… like what we miss about home! 

Pierce Lowney is the duty manager of The River Lee, and is currently off on a mammoth trip around the world. He’ll be coming home to Cork soon, so we took the opportunity to chat to him to find out more about his travels, and what he’s looking forward to getting home to.

We follow Pierce on his trip around the world, and his journey back to The River Lee in Cork.

"I’ve been working in The River Lee for just over 5 years. I’ve just taken a sabbatical of over 5 months – a month for every year! I’ve gone backpacking solo, around the world.

I started off with a whistle stop tour of the US and Canada for one month, including a road trip from Vancouver to LA. I then moved on to China, Korea, Japan, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam and finally Cambodia. I’m ticking off a lot of bucket list destinations in one go!

The journey itself has been pretty hectic. I’ve taken 14 flights all in all, the majority of which are behind me as I write this - except for my homeward bound ones. But the travelling hasn’t only been done by plane. I have been using every means of transport you can imagine - buses, tuk-tuk, speedboat, cable car, scooter, elephant, truck, hover craft… you name it! 

When it comes to highlights of the trip, I would have to say… 

The food was a highlight of an epic trip by Pierce Lowney, of The River Lee hotel in Cork.

As a foodie, I’ve found all the food I’ve discovered to be by far the highlight! Trying new flavours and discovering different food cultures in each area is so much fun. 

Seeing things like the Grand Canyon, Mount Fuji and Hong Kong at night left me speechless. Some things just have to be seen to be experienced. 

The People
I'm a people person and love meeting people with a great story! I just spent a few days travelling around Laos with an artist from New York and a Cage Fighter from Singapore! 

I had to drop that one in, I’m afraid! I have somewhat grown accustomed to blue skies and warm sunny days! 

Living out of one backpack for five months makes you question why you need so much stuff. It was also interesting to spend time with people who do not have a lot of possessions - it showed me I do not need a lot to be happy!

Travelling in the back of a farm truck in Laos, by Pierce Lowney of The River Lee in Cork

I’ve had loads of mishaps, but that’s all part of the experience. In Laos my bus broke down, so I had to travel in the back of a farm truck with 2 pigs! A "local experience" if ever I heard one!

I’ve had a lot of language misunderstandings, too. It turns out I was saying "kiss kiss" in China instead of "thank you" for over a week before I was corrected!

The dining culture and etiquette is so varied too - Chinese people use chop sticks, Malaysian people eat with their hands, Koreans cook a lot of their food on the table, and don't even get me started on Japanese dining norms and automated service! It's a fun learning curve for all!

I’m missing a few things from home. A pint of Murphy's, for one! I’m also missing the warm nature of Cork people - you take it for granted, but appreciate it when you’re away. That, and garlic cheesy chips from Hillbillies!

You miss a lot of Irish references and "Corkisms" – phrases and words like "sher" "craic" "you’re grand" and so on. There’s also a lot of the good quality food you can’t get anywhere else, like soda bread, real, proper butter and Clonakilty pudding!"

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