I’ve officially been home for four days and I am already dreaming of going back across the pond. Before I left, I had the highest hopes that this trip would change my life. Now that I’m home, I can safely say that it exceeded all of my expectations. It was so good that there is no way I could summarize it into one single post.
So, there will be three:
Let’s start from the beginning…
First of all, there is no need to get to the airport as early as I did. I heard nightmare stories of traveling and my anxious, type-A self decided that erring on the side of caution was the only way to go. I got to the airport 4 hours before my flight. I probably could have arrived 2 hours early and still soared through it all with time to spare. Noted.
When I got to London I decided to start my morning with a mojito. I mean, I was on vacation and it had to be 5 o’clock somewhere.
After landing in London long enough for a drink, I was back on a plane and headed to Dublin!
Traveling somewhere completely on your own is all at once awesome and terrifying. Stepping off that plane with a low battery on my phone and no idea what I was doing was exhilarating. I’m the type of person that journals daily, so I’ll let my entry from my last day in Ireland do the talking:
Thank you. You are more beautiful than I could have ever imagined. You showed me shades of green that I didn’t even know existed and you’ve inspired me with your beauty. It goes beyond your history and the things to see – it’s your culture and your people that make you special.
From that free pen and hug from a random new best friend when I stepped off the airplane (I needed a charger and he was more than happy to help for an exchange on American politics), to the gentlemen that bought me a birthday Guinness and talked about James Joyce’s Ulysses with me – or from the manager of the O’Callaghan Alexander who sat with me as I waited for my cab and laughed as we talked about the differences in our countries, to the cab driver that brought me to the ferry terminal for my departure… I have no words for your kindness.
I loved getting lost in Dublin’s city streets only to find a castle, countless churches, and street art to explore.
As if none of this is enough, there is your countryside, which is filled with a Celtic history and stone walls that tell a story of agricultural innovation and adaptation. The rolling green hills in every direction, crashing into the sea, and covered by cows, sheep, ponies, and the rare llamas are beautiful.
When I stood on the Cliffs of Moher today I was reminded of how small I am in comparison to this big, wide world. This humility filled my soul in a way I’ve never felt before, and I found myself thanking God for this beautiful place. It wasn’t something I thought about, it was an automatic reaction – it was more like an instinct to thank him for giving me this beautiful life and these experiences. I felt this urge to thank him on behalf of all of those that don’t thank him enough.
I had a professor who once said that he hated the word awesome, because we all use it incorrectly. He said that we substitute cool or sweet with awesome and because of that none of us should ever be allowed to use it until we can understand its true meaning. Well, my word of the day was awesome. I found myself truly awe-induced by every corner and every sight, sound, and smell. I understand the true meaning of awesome, and those cliffs, and what they did to me today, was purely awesome.
I feel that until today, I had never seen things clearly. I never gave gratitude to the one that gives it all meaning, God. No matter what you call it – a higher being, powers that be, God, spirit – I felt it with me all day. I felt the love of those that have left this world and it filled me with a warmth that I’ve always longed to feel.
I am grateful for my new travel friend, Rebecca from Seattle. Whether it was just for today, or whether it’s the beginning of a new story that has you in it, I’m grateful we met. You made today even more fun and you took some of my favorite pictures of me, ever. It was great to have someone to have lunch with, to share these moments with, to laugh with, and to find someone all the way across the pond with such similar beliefs to mine.
I’ve felt the luck of the Irish with the 65 degrees and sunshine that kissed those cliffs today. And I am grateful.
Until we meet again Ireland.