It's been about a week since I flew home from the beautiful country of Ireland and I have had plenty of time to reflect on my journey and daydream about the countryside that I find myself missing every day. Traveling teaching us so much about ourselves and about the world. When we don't travel, we get stuck in a bubble that doesn't allow us to see things from other perspectives. Every time I travel, that I see something new, and meet new people who live life a little differently than I do, I learn something new. So here are some of the lessons I took home with me.
1. Take a step outside of your comfort zone.
When I went to Ireland, I didn't know a single person I'd be traveling with. Most of the people in my tour group were in the same boat. When I tell people about my trip, many have commented that they would never have the courage to travel alone, especially outside the country. While I was nervous, and it was definitely outside of my comfort zone, I took a leap of faith to do something I really wanted to do and I ended up having the time of my life.
2. Airports aren't as complicated as I thought.
Honestly, when I was getting ready to leave for Ireland the scariest thing about my trip was the thought of getting lost in the airport. I had only ever flown once before, and I was with a large group and three people who knew how to get through an airport. This time I was alone and I was terrified. But once I got there, it was not nearly as bad as I anticipated. I didn't get lost, I was over an hour early for my flight, and I didn't lose anything.
3. A little rain never hurt anyone.
I had always heard Ireland was a rainy country, but I didn't realize just how rainy until I started checking weather forecasts when I was packing for my trip. Luckily, I packed a rain coat and umbrella, both of which I got ample use out of. Despite all the rain, I had a wonderful time and didn't let it stop me from taking part in all the amazing tours, activities, and nights out.
4. There is no place like an Irish Pub.
Irish pubs put American bars to shame. Sure, they're a bit pricier, at least than what I'm used to, and sure, the cocktail selection is limited, but the atmosphere can't be beat. Whether it's a live viewing of the Euro Cup or a live band, there is always something going on. I heard so much incredible live music I just had to sing and dance along.
5. The kindness of strangers should not be underestimated.
No matter where I went in Ireland, everyone was overflowing with kindness. From my amazing tour guide and bus driver to the people in the pubs, so many people touched my life in a positive way. At the ice cream shop, the girl asked my name and told me she would remember me when I come back to Ireland someday. A man in the pub danced with us, and told us so many things we didn't know about the country. On my final night in Ireland, a group of strangers sang us off, wishing us luck on our journeys and encouraging us to come back to Ireland some day.
6. Be proud of your accomplishments, even if they don't always work out.
Belfast, Northern Ireland is incredibly proud of the Titanic, even if it sank on its maiden voyage. They are proud because the process that brought about the Titanic is impressive, and sometimes it isn't about the end result, but the steps you took to get there.
7. We are all a little bit Irish.
Maybe not in our heritage or ancestry, but in who we are. In Ireland someone told me that we are all Irish on St. Patrick's Day. I like to think that everyone I traveled with is now a little bit more Irish after having learned of the country's history, its struggles, its beauty, and its people.