In September, I went on a 3 week journey and traveled around Ireland and Northern Ireland alone. If I had to pick a theme for the trip it’d be “your a mighty brave lass.” That was what the young female boarder official said to me at the airport as I ran to make my connecting flight to Ireland from London England.
Now– what’s so brave about going on a holiday you may be asking? Actually, adventure feels like the more accurate word for my 3 weeks away. And an *adventure* for better for worse, is how I like to describe my life.
Between my chronic pain and my mental health, I like to say that some days the sky feels is the limit, and other days I can’t for the life of my stop crying or get out of bed, let alone get dressed, eat and make it out the door. The thought of staying in hostels and air b and b’s in a new setting surrounded by strangers was exciting if I was healthy and well, and terrifying if I wasn’t ok. With my health, there is really no easy way to know when I’ll be ok, and when I’ll only feeling up to hiding out in bed. Yet— in my travels I knew there would be less room for quiet, solitude, rest, and to reach out to my usual supports.
Another thing about me is I have a learning disability. I’ve had it my entire life, so at times I forget other people don’t think like I do. Yet, simple directions can really confuse me. I have a skill for getting lost anywhere– so travelling alone was a bit intimidating. Did I mention I did this trip with no data– aka no internet when out? Yep- I talked to strangers when I got lost.
I’d always imagined going on a bigger trip, like to Ireland, with people: family, friends or a future partner. Yet, I had the time, and I was lucky and had the money to go, and it was one of those now or never moments. Ireland was #1 on my list of places to visit, for the lust green countrysides and family history. So I didn’t wait until later.
Despite my health challenges– I’ve been blessed and cursed with the desire to wander, the desire to push myself and to live each day to the fullest– whatever that means in relation to where I’m at that day, week or hour.
I’m not going to pretend it was perfect, and that my challenges magically disappeared, yet with a bit of planning ahead, confidence, and awareness of my limits I managed to have an amazing time.
Here are some pictures from my journey