Hi, I’m Mary Murphy

What started as a simple WordPress blog chronicling the renovation of a flat in Budapest has grown legs. I had no plan for it, other than to keep interested parties around the world informed of what I was up to. My postage budget had been diverted to paint and time was in short supply; blogging seemed an efficient way to stay in touch. Nine years later, it is an intrinsic part of what I do. I write about life in Budapest, the city in which I finally got to unpack my bottom drawer. I write about my travels, about music, food, spirituality, politics, life, death, cemeteries. I write about whatever comes to mind. There was never any plan.

I was raised in Ireland, but I have lived much of my life outside the country, including the USA (California, Washington, and Alaska) and the UK before settling (?) 10 years ago in Budapest. It is a privilege to have had the opportunity to do more than just travel to these places, but to live and work and immerse myself in different cultures and build strong friendships all over the world.

Much of my recent travel is work-related. I give workshops on public speaking, technical writing, etiquette, and cross-cultural communications for various corporations and organisations, involving diplomats, corporate executives, technical writers, and others in Hungary, India, Ireland, Malta, Poland, Serbia, and Switzerland.

Two years ago, when I wrote my 1000th post, I thought it might be time to move to a new website. I was running out of space. With Steve’s help, we first set up http://unpackingmybottomdrawer.com. Then we decided to create another site that was  focused more on travel. This site is the result. I hope it will serve as an inspiration to others to step out of their comfort zone and explore this wonderful world of ours. And if, for any reason, you can’t travel, I  hope you enjoy reading about my experiences and seeing a little more of the world from your armchair. I’m always open to suggestions, so if there’s some place you’d really like me to visit for you, just let me know.


Hi, I’m Steve Jacobs

Like Mary, I’ve lived in several different countries. Born in mid-western USA, I spent 10 years in Alaska, 6 in the Philippines, one each in Germany and Hawaii, and over 20 in Ireland. I love to travel, and have been around the world 3 times.

Since meeting Mary a few years ago, I’ve had the privilege of traveling to many more places, often with her, and just as often vicariously through her writing. I’ve never been to India or Costa Rica or South Africa, but I feel I know them because of Mary’s writing and her photos.

I’ve contributed a few photographs and written the odd post for this site, but my role in this partnership is to build and maintain the websites (for my sins, this is what I do for a living) and to try to promote them so that more people can enjoy her writing. We’ve had some really inspiring feedback, telling us how useful people find the site. Those who, for whatever reason cannot travel, enjoy accompanying Mary virtually on her trips. I hope you enjoy this site, too. Be inspired. Come back often, because there is always something new. And if you already have plans made, scroll through the many countries and cities already visited. You might just find something you didn’t know about.

Time is a valuable commodity in today’s hectic world. Weekend city breaks are never long enough to do everything listed in the guidebooks. But if what you’re after is something quirky or off the beaten path, read on. Mary has long since realised that there’s never enough time to do it all, so lately, more I suspect as an aide-memoire for herself, she has added things she missed first time around and would like to see if and when she ever goes back.

Your comments and feedback are always welcome. If you enjoy what you read, let us know. If you have questions, just ask. And if you have ideas of how we might improve this work in progress, please share.