Hello, my Dreamers!
You know, I started A Dreamer’s Inkwell back in the day with the intention of sharing my process throughout the journey to pursuing my creative dreams, as well as, encouragement for others pursuing their passions. Along the way, I began realizing that embracing the beauty and purpose in the day-to-day and finding ways to incorporate our passions in creative ways are both key to not feeling like you’re only living for the future idea of success in our minds. I definitely think it’s important to set goals, but there is a fine line between having vision for the future and living constantly unsatisfied/discontent with the present. I’ve found the key difference between the two is gratitude. Being thankful for all the we have now and the opportunities we’ve been given brings a joy and different kind of motivation while building towards our dreams for later down the road.
I was reminded of this in a big way during my recent trip through Ireland. Speaking of big dreams–this study abroad experience has definitely made the little girl who was obsessed with maps and traveling believe fresh again that anything is possible, even if it doesn’t happen within the time frame we originally wanted. Not only am I getting to live in the beautiful country of Wales and experience so much of its culture, but I am getting to cross some places off of my bucket-list (so far including London, Ireland, Greece, with at least 1 more to come)! So, if there is a deep desire still in your heart, friend, I would advise praying about it and begin exploring options to see if it’s the right time to step out–and if not, don’t lose heart, God’s timing always ends up being better than we could have planned anyway.
Okayyy so back to my trip . . . For Easter break at my Uni, we got THREE WEEKS off of classes!! That’s definitely better than the one week we get at home which usually falls when it’s still really cold outside. So, with that much free time and much cheaper travel options within Europe since I’m already here, I decided to take advantage of the opportunity. I first visited a bit more of England (and Highclere Castle, AKA the real Downton Abbey for any fans out there 😉) before flying from London to Dublin to begin my Irish adventure. I stayed with a couple friends in Dublin for the first couple nights, and then headed off on a solo journey to Galway (3 nights), Cork (1 night), and then back to Dublin for my return flight.
It would take more than 1 blog post to fully update you on all aspects of the trip, but I will just say: the atmosphere in Ireland is just as friendly and welcoming as I’ve always heard and the landscapes are truly beautiful. In one day, I saw peaceful, tame farm lands and then within less than an hour, rugged, stoney ground with massive cliffs and the Wild Atlantic crashing against the surface. It was so contradictory and yet so perfectly natural. I ate delicious food, listened to live music in Galway, saw castles and the AMAZING Cliffs of Moher, and yet, despite all of this, I think I’d say that one of the most memorable parts of my trip came in my last couple days due to some misadventures in travel.
You know in those Rom-Com films where people travel abroad and literally one thing after another goes wrong and people end up running through airports or across towns, and you think, “yeah right, like all of that would really happen”? . . . Well, it happens! I got pooped on by a bird for the first time in my life, went the wrong direction more than a few times, and spilt an entire water bottle in a bag on some of my souvenirs. Also, one morning, after checking out of my cute B&B in Cork and trying to get a taxi to my tour bus location to no avail, I had to begin the 20 minute jog across town in the rain with my bags–after all the bus waits for no one and the tickets were non-refundable. I made it with 3 minutes to spare and settled in for a day galavanting around Blarney Castle and the town of Cobh in possibly the worst weather I’ve endured since first coming to the UK in January. The tour bus also got back 2 hours early which means I had 3 hours to kill before my bus back to Dublin with my bags and being soaking wet, and it was still downpouring. I finally found a mall and stayed there for a bit until it began shutting down and I was back out in the cold rain trying to find another warm place to kill time before my bus . . . I’ve never been so happy to find a McDonald’s in my life. I literally saw it and was like “thank Jesus, the Golden Arches!” Anyway, I did catch my bus, stay in a warm hostel bed that night, and made it to the Dublin airport the next morning. I thought the rest would be smooth sailing, but after already running slightly behind, both of my bags got randomly chosen to be extra checked by security which led to me jogging with my bags (again) through the airport to make it to my gate in time! Whew! Honestly I just had to laugh because it was a rom-com worthy couple of days, except without the hunky Irishman proposing at the end of it.
In all of that though, while wandering in Cobh soaking wet, I got to experience the heart of the locals who took pity on a cold stranger and recommended a small, local pub that had a fire burning in the hearth with a free, hot cup of coffee and a bit of conversation. I felt the weight of their hospitality in a way that reminded me of the importance of intentional kindness to anyone and everyone. Also, while trying to find shelter from the rain in the mall in Cork, I saw a man in tattered clothes and a worn backpack also trying to get dry. He may have just been a traveler like myself, but I got the impression that he had spent many a day hiding from the elements in this shopping center. After the mall closed and I ended up in McDonald’s, I saw the same man seeking refuge there as well. It hit me hard–I was wandering around wet and cold and without a place to stay only temporarily. For some, this is a long term situation. I was overcome with extreme gratitude for the simplest things that I had become complacent about lately. When I finally got back to campus after my trip, I found myself doing laundry, dishes, etc. with a different attitude. While I wish writing this post could actually help those that are homeless, I know that is not really possible–in all honesty, the point in this post is simply just to say that I’m thankful for the reminder that gratitude is so crucial every day because it is easy to forget or to become entitled when we aren’t given a wake-up call every now and then.
Don’t get me wrong, I love it when a trip is completely smooth sailing without any delays or snags, but sometimes, I’ve found that in the delays and the “unlucky” are the lessons that make life a little bit more rich–thanks for that, Ireland. Sláinte!