Alone In Ireland

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.

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My first view of Northern Ireland by plane 

 

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.

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Here are some pictures from my journey

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Titanic Belfast- I wonder if my ancestors watched the Titanic leave from Belfast 

 

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The street where my Dad’s father was born in Belfast- my dad wanted to travel to Ireland, but never made it. I was asking for directions, and a kind older lady said she was going that way, and gave me a ride, she also told me I was a brave lass. I wonder who this lady was.
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Giant’s Causeway – Northern Ireland. 
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I belong where cliffs, sea, and castles meet.
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I went swimming in the Ocean in October. That kinda girl. 
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Always time for another story.
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Hitchhiked to a surf town– living my life
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Maybe the path I walk will always be a bit dangerous, and winding. Even  when I’m alone, I’ll meet some beautiful souls along my journey. 
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No picture would do Killarney Nation Park justice.  Took a boat ride with an old Irish man to the start of the hiking trail, and walked through the gorgeous mountains of the Blackvalley. I was sick (headcold) that day, but I am so glad I went. One of the most beautiful experiences of my life, wandering through the mountains. I missed the bus into town, and a friendly couple from Cork in the tea shop offered me a ride. 
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Watch Out- I kissed the Blarney Stone., before heading home.
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