Floating on the breeze

It’s now been long enough into these adventures to feel completely “in it.” A feeling of floating on the breeze. Never knowing what the next adventure is or where it will take you. It’s both exhilarating and anxiety inducing. I grasp this feeling, sometimes out of fear, but always with both hands.

From the beginning of this adventure, I had this feeling that I was moving too fast. But now, after months of defined slowness, I found myself craving a return to the movement and discovery I felt early on. With a timeframe and future destination outlined, I now had a month of undefined freedom. Thus began a fast paced jaunt through a several cities and a couple of countries.


Having not set foot in Dublin on my earlier time in Ireland, it felt obvious to visit one of the marquee cities on the island. A return to many of the original systems of adventure from last year marked my time in the city.

I found myself in a hostel for the first time in quite a while. I was also completely solo for the first time in 2023, after having spent the bulk of last year alone. I was filled with nostalgia and excitement.

As always, priority number one is finding coffee, and Dublin didn’t disappoint. For the first time in quite some time, I found myself presented with a plethora of amazing options. I fully seized on this opportunity and visited several excellent coffee houses before settling into my favorite.

At Cloud Picker, I found one of the absolute best cups of coffee I have ever had the pleasure to experience. I had never tried Thai beans before, and it is everything I want in a cup of coffee. A punchy and mouthwatering mix of bananas and mango that finished with a classic coffee feel and very little bitterness.

This was also an opportunity to get back to the Flory boy’s way of travel … wandering aimlessly. Dublin is the perfect city for this, full of endless winding roads, markets and parks. Over the course of the week, I stumbled into Trinity College, St. Stephen’s Green and St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Found myself sipping pints at classic Irish pubs and imbibing cocktails in centuries old buildings. I meandered through alleyways and boulevards, alive to all the city offered.

The single item I pre-planned was a tour of the Teeling Whiskey Distillery. It was cool learning how Ireland was once the largest producer of whiskey in the world. Of course, tasting all the amazing whiskies that Teeling produces was the highlight. After the tour, I took the opportunity to enjoy a few cocktails in their world class bar as well.

If there is one thing the Irish have in abundance, its friendliness. Within minutes of entering every pub, I was fast friends with someone. Always jovial and full of a deep well of hilarious stories, the Irish are some of my favorite people on this planet.

Before leaving this magnificent island, I couldn’t miss the chance for one more visit to one of my favorite humans. I went back down to Carlow to spend another week with Ronnie and her family. It was a relaxing and fulfilling time. Few people make me laugh and smile like she does, and I am forever grateful to call her my friend.


After more than two months on the Emerald Isle, it was time to say goodbye. Goodbye to friends, goodbye to familiar weather. But no time for sadness, as arriving in Valencia I found my romanticism in overdrive, immediately falling hard for the city. Warm, sunny weather. A vibrant city full of a wonderful mix of classic and modern architecture. The city has a vibe and a buzz, but is a laid back beach town at heart.

I spent the first couple days down in the beach neighborhood of Cabanyal, sipping coffee, walking the beach and eating fresh seafood at the mercado with my friend Paul. We took in the Valencia v Celta Vigo match at the famed Mestella, walked through the futuristic arts and sciences quarter and enjoyed a night out in the old city.

When he left back for Dublin, I decided to stay a few days longer, such was my growing affinity for the city. My new digs had me staying closer to the city. I spent the next couple days wandering from coffee shop to coffee shop and getting lost in the narrow streets and basking in sunshine.

In a few short days, Valencia found a way into my heart and rose up the ranks of my favorite cities. It’s a place I will definitely return to again, and I can’t wait for that day.


Rarely on these adventures have I had the chance to return to a place I have previously discovered. Unlike other places this has happened, I always knew I’d return to Alicante. That's because my dear friend Thako, and his wife Erica, are setting down roots here.

Returning to a “familiar” new place is an interesting feeling. Instantly upon exiting the train station, I knew what street I was on and how to make my way to my hostel. Yet it’s still a place that I barely know, and much feels new and undiscovered. It’s a wonderfully comfortable discomfort.

But my main reason for being here was to spend time with one of my best friends. Thako is one of the few people that knows me well and that I’ve gotten to hang with on these adventures. It’s yet another comfort I found in Alicante. We didn’t have to start with the usual “getting to know you” phase that I have with everyone I meet these days. So we were able to dive into friendship and deep conversations.

We took a morning trip up the coast to Altea for a wonderful seaside paella, before drinks across the city that night. We co-worked at coffee shops and took Amina on many walks.

Between all this, I enjoyed re-exploring Alicante, finding new pockets of life and enjoying old haunts from last year.


The final stop along the Spanish Mediterranean was Málaga. I’d come here to cheer on my friends who were running in a marathon.

At this point, I’m not sure what else I can say about these people. I’m so grateful to the universe for bringing them into my life. The more kindreds the better. It’s that wonderful feeling of being around people without pretense, able to simply be me. To show up and be so authentic is something I strive for in all my interactions, but it’s made so much easier by those that also strive for it.

On the night of my arrival, we ventured into the city center and grabbed dinner at Antonio Banderas’ restaurant, El Pimpi. Shared dishes of cuttle fish ink paella, grilled sardines and of course, jamón y queso completely hit the spot.

I awoke the next morning to sunshine, coffee and a spectacular view. After a relaxing morning catching up with everyone, we headed into the city so Emily and Anya could collect their race bibs and marathons swag. A sun-soaked cafe was chosen, cafe con leches and cerveza con limons were consumed, and laughs were shared. All was right in my world.

Sunday was race day, so we were up and out of the house early. I found the whole experience surprisingly emotional, even as a non-participant. Watching people push themselves to their limits in pursuit of a goal, regardless of outcome, is incredibly inspiring. I found myself cheering loud and hard, especially for those that looked like they needed a little boost.

And to see my two dear friends doing the same filled me with such happiness and pride. Emily and Anya simply crushed the course, both finishing with a smile on their face.

Celebratory beers were in order and congratulations passed around. To keep the celebration going, that evening we enjoyed amazing tacos and cocktails at a local spot. As our dinner wound down, I asked the bartender if he could make a Mezcal Old Fashioned. He said he had never attempted but was sure he could figure it out. The resulting drink was excellent, so much so that he said he would be adding it to the menu.

On our last day all together, we enjoyed a wonderful hike in the mountains and a chilly dip in the sea, before heading to the airport to say goodbye to Ronnie.

The next day Anya and I wandered around Alhaurín el Grande, grabbing some coffee and pastries, and later, a couple of cold cerveza con limons. It was a relaxing time, full of the conversations and connection I crave so much. After another forest hike and a home cooked dinner, I had to call it an early night. My next day was to begin stupid early, and my 2am airport arrival signaled the beginning of a new and uncharted adventure.

This last month has been a welcome return to last year’s pace of travel. It was a splendid mix of travel, exploration, work and introspection. I've come to realize that since returning to the road again, I’ve spent almost all my time in the presence of friends and family. This has provided an unseen level of comfort and stability. Yet, more than ever, I seek discomfort and yearn for the unexpected.

Spending this last month moving fast brought back to me those early days of last year. Solo and wide-eyed. Wandering and exploring, discovering both a bigger world and vast depths of my soul. But it also incorporated what has made this year so amazing as well. Friends and family, work and structure.

Just like the bartender creating a new cocktail for his menu, I’m creating a new version of myself and my way of being. I’m so excited to be this updated me on this new adventure I’m choosing. Moving into new lands, new customs, new people.