How did I become so restless? A girl who grew up, went to public school, high school and university all in the same small town, a girl who has anxiety about the unknown. And yet, here I am, skin crawling with the effort to stay put.
After I graduated from university in 2014, I knew I had to do the thing. The travel thing that recent grads were supposed to do, to get it out of their systems. I decided to become an au pair, and chose an English speaking country, to ease my anxiety at travelling alone across the ocean for the first time.
I hopped on a plane headed for Dublin, thinking three months seemed like an awfully long time, and hoping I wouldn’t fail and come home early. I didn’t.
It took me a few days to start feeling okay, but everything was new, and beautiful, and green.
My host family was amazing, and quickly became dear friends of mine. During my free time, when I wasn’t looking after the kids, I could go anywhere and do anything, without having to plan or coordinate with anyone. I spent time alone. I spent a lot of time alone, and my my surprise, I actually loved it.
I travelled on weekends, I stayed in hostels for the first time, I asked questions and met strangers and saw amazing things. I went for solo hikes and asked for recommendations from everyone I met. I rode my bike, read books and went on tours, taking it all in and coming out of my small town shell.
I made friends, who quickly became best friends since we were all so far from home. I went on adventures with whoever wanted to join.
I gained weight from eating non-stop potatoes, yet felt the healthiest I had ever been. I saw beauty everywhere, and and my fear and timid nature began to slide away.
When I came home, I was full of energy, and so inspired. Though I was happy to be back, I would often wake up with an ache in my heart, wanting to go back. Ireland will always hold a special place in my heart, and it lit a fire in me that defines the woman I am today.