#11: A Long Ass Way to Tipperary

I just moved from Germany to Ireland with my cat. I had thought it would be a lot easier than when I moved to Germany from Oregon with my cat. But, actually, it was quicker, and in some ways easier, to cross 5177 miles from Portland to Berlin than it was to get the 1189 miles from Berlin to Dublin. This is because I was able to fly from the US to Germany with my cat on board, but couldn’t find any airline that would take pets on flights into Ireland or the UK. Even Lufthansa, with whom I have flown trans-Atlantic with my cat, twice, and who has a whole ‘we’re pet friendly’ page on their website, does not book pets on flights into Ireland or the UK. I spoke with the Irish Department of Agriculture, and no, they don’t have any prohibition about pets entering the country. The flights just won’t take them.

 

Long story short, I was left with a choice:

  1. Pay a freight company to take my cat and ship her for me. One recommended company gave me a quote for nearly €800! When the flight I was planning to book for myself was only €57!
  2. Spend three days but only about €300 taking trains and ferries across Europe with my cat.

 

I went with the second option. Partly because it was far less expensive, partly because it sounded like an interesting adventure, and partly because I really didn’t like the idea of letting strangers put my cat in a box and take her away from me and overseas. And I’m glad that I did go this route: even though I was weeping by the end of it.

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#7: Writing & Schlepping

Writing is the thing I do the most, and it’s probably the thing that I’m best at. Which is not a boast about how great my writing is, but a testament to how terrible I am at other things. Even so, writing is hard for me. For two chief reasons:

  1. Writing is hard. Period. To pull things from the ether, and from your life, and say exactly what you mean about them in an interesting way is notoriously challenging. I think just about every writer I’ve ever heard or read on the subject, with the exception of Stephen King, struggles to confront a blank page.
  2. Writing is generally a stationary, solitary business. It requires sitting, in a chair, with little besides your own thoughts for company or diversion. What does that sound like? Oh yes – time out. Choosing to be a writer is basically consenting to spend most of the rest of your life sitting in timeout (Pro tip – make sure to hide some biscuits in your pocket).

 

There is one thing that makes this hermit’s life tolerable, and indeed delightful. And it isn’t any combination of booze or muse. It’s my cat.

 

Writers are well-known for being eccentric, anti-social weirdos. Many of the notorious ones have been drunks and or smack-heads, with poor social skills and/or suicidal tendencies. What is not as often brought up is that, more than any of these things, they are also prone to be cat-freaks. If you Google ‘writers & cats’, you will find no shortage of images of famous writers with cats:

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