You Get To Keep Your Experiences. You Get To Let Them change You and Completely Shatter the Way You Thought The World Looked.
“I’m booking a ticket for Ireland. In 6 months, I’m going for 11 days!” I said to my mother. “Alone!?” she exclaimed.
After a particularly frustrating time in my life personally and professionally, I decided to book a ticket to Ireland 6 months out and go. No matter what. I knew that it would be too expensive for me to change my mind and lord knows it’s not an option to attempt to change/refund a plane ticket without contemplating verbally abusing the airline representative.
I needed out. I needed an adventure to set my worldview on fire. I needed a new reason … Something happens when College ends. You no longer have a reason for being in the city you’re in. You aren’t home, but you aren’t a stranger either. The thought of working, paying bills and dying is the most depressing future I can think of. Ireland set my soul on fire. This place changed the way I looked at travel. The craving, that wanderlust feeling, hasn’t left me since.
With that being said, there was absolutely no way that my mother was going to allow me to travel across the World by myself. Even though I was 24-years-old and completely capable of doing so without her permission, it stopped me dead in my tracks when she asked me how much she needed for a plane ticket and insisted that she was going with me! This woman had never been out of the country. She doesn’t travel often and she rarely travels without my father, but she always knows what her kids need.
I can make a comprehensive list of all of the tragedies that took place in Ireland:
- There she is … at Airport Security. My Mother. Explaining why she’s attempting to leave the country with an expired license … here we go.
- We travel 13+ hours. Land in Dublin, Ireland. Keep in mind she has an expired license and I am only 24-years-old and we need to rent a car (you need to be 25). I can’t make this up.
- Our rental car is a miniature spaceship that we have illegally rented and couldn’t figure out how to start. We had to get out, go back inside and ask them to show us how to start it. We named him ‘Scooby’. We proceeded to smash Scooby into rubber reflectors alongside the roads (more than once, but she’ll fight to the death saying it was only one).
- We knock on at least 10 B&B doors only to hear that they are completely booked all week, until someone finally informs us that it’s Ireland’s ‘Hurling’ Championship that week … comparable to our Superbowl, and that there will be no open B&B’s in Dublin and we will have to drive to the next town over.
- It’s raining.
- We don’t know how to run the windshield wipers & we’re driving on the opposite side of the road.
- The roads are very narrow. Often lined with thick tree lines with no emergency lanes. A large hay truck was barreling down said road heading straight for us. My mother stopped the car as close to the ‘edge’ as we could get. We rolled down the windows, pulled our side mirrors in, held hands and screamed as this hay truck missed us by a quarter of an inch and then laughed like fools and went on our way.
- We forgot to pay our bill at a pub while we were being harassed by a drunken old man.
In short, Ireland was everything that I needed it to be. It was everything that Nebraska wasn’t for me at the time. It was hilarious. It was fun. It was relaxing, exhilarating, different, culturally diverse, and beautiful. It was the adventure of a life time and I am so incredibly grateful that I have the type of mother who will pack her things and get on a plane with me when I know she does not particularly want to leave the Country for 11 days, but does it any way.
We sang American classics in a pub with drunken Irish college kids on a Tuesday. We got completely lost in Scooby and stared blankly at the confusing road signs. We ate leftovers for dinner in our parked car because we were lost and hungry. We wandered through the most beautifully restored castles and museums filled with rich history. We let ourselves be transported to a place from such an early time that it was hard to imagine life as it once was.
It opened my eyes to a much larger picture. People will constantly come and go from our lives . College will end. Jobs will change. But You get to keep your experiences. You get to let them change you and completely shatter the way you thought the world looked. I want to keep searching for sights that will completely blow my mind and take my breath away. Views that will render me speechless and immobile. I want to stand still and revel in the world’s beauty and diversity. I want to meet people from all over the world and connect with them on the most basic human level of small talk, genuine interest, kindness and compassion. I want to put the screen down.
We experienced another world. The craving for travel of this type hasn’t left me since. Ireland left its mark & changed my heart. The only part of the entire experience I cannot eloquently twist into words is what it meant to do all of this with my mother. It leaves me with more of a feeling than words … and I’m OK with that.