A few years ago, an innovative guy decided to see if he could trade a giant paper clip for something, well, better. So he advertised on Craigslist, not knowing what he would end up with. Being a huge barter fiend myself, I liked his spunk.
Fast forward to this evening. I was reading an e-newsletter sent by Barbara Winter, author of “Making a Living Without a Job,” and was making notes on her first article titled “7 Easy Ways to Warm Your Cockles” Since I had no idea I even had cockles, I figured I’d better take notes. I wrote down the seven ways and planned to start cockle-warming first thing in the morning. I read on, and stopped at an entry about a workshop held in Galway, Ireland.
Be still my heart. This area of Ireland had called to me for the better part of my 50 years on this earth. It was on my “Boxcar List.” That’s like a bucket list, but much bigger and harder to ignore. I had written about the female pirate queen, Grainne O’Malley, and recognized her castle immediately among the pictures on the workshops web site. There was a strange need to visit, to walk the countryside and find spiritual sites I knew but could not describe, to breathe the air of a country that I recognized only through genetic memory, through the drops of blood that came from my Irish ancestors. Years ago, I shared my draw to the Galway region with a fellow writer who came from Ireland. “No matter how many generations are away,” he said, “Ireland always calls her sons and daughters home.”
After I clicked off, I looked at Barbara’s list. The first one stared back at me:
Do Something Out of Character.
Hmm. You’re a workhorse, Rosie, not a show horse. If you can’t pay for it, you don’t need it. You have obligations. You have bills. It is all true. If you want to go to Ireland, it has to be free, or you have to barter for it.
I stopped talking to myself and stared at those words. Thoughts become things. I sent off a note to Barbara, basically telling her the same thing I just told you, and sent a similar one off to the workshop leader. And here I am, telling you. I want to go to Galway.
I believe that some things may seem improbable, but nothing is impossible. And I started thinking about the guy who had nothing but a paper clip. I did a quick look through my apartment – remember, readers, I am packing, so pickings are slim. But here are some items I found that I am willing to barter to piece together a trip to Ireland, in order of value:
1. 6 AAA batteries. Not new, but a few of them might have a little bunny left in them.
2. A wire hanger, used.
3. My wig, used this summer during my bald period.
4. The hair of a dog. Really. The hair of a dog. TRADED for handspun yarn – see pics and description in “Trading” page
5. A Virgin Mobile Kyocera phone , with chew marks and a battery that is still fairly good.
6. And, if I find it, I will offer a four-leaf clover, found by me. This is surely worth an entire trip, flight and all! Let me know if anyone is interested in this one and I will look harder. (UPDATE: I found it!)
JUST ADDED: My high school class ring, circa 1975.
My voice: Got an advertising project that needs a female voice?
My skill: Blog content? A story…on Ireland? Want me to tweet about your Irish wolfhound?
So, whatcha need? Let’s trade! We can’t win if we don’t play. I’ll post offers here and keep you updated on any progress. And if this dream doesn’t happen right now, it will eventually. There is always a Plan B.
UPDATE: I have added a barter list page link at the top of the blog page for easier browsing! Watch for trades there!