Since August 29, 2017, I have been in Rome, and now I have only two weeks left here. During this time I have been to five different countries, visiting different places within them. Let's just say, I don't know how my journey managed to get me here, but I am incredibly thankful and blessed that it did.
I haven't been keeping up with travel blogging as I had told myself I would do while I was here, so now I'll be making separate posts for each place I have been. I have to say, the first one that made me feel alive again was my trip to Ireland. When I got to Rome, I really felt I had lost my spark, my excitement for life. I truly didn't feel how I expected to at all. But on October 13, one of my now very close friends, Alex, and myself, travelled for 9 days to Ireland during our fall break, and the experience of being able to travel from country to country brought back that spark for life I had been longing to feel.
The first day of the trip we arrived in Dublin. As exhausted as we were, we made our way to the Guinness Storehouse, and, the Irish are right. You will never be able to taste a beer again the same way after having one of their Guinness. It was amazing.
The next day we made our way to our seven day tour, meeting almost forty new people through what was called the Shamrocker tour group. There were lots of people from Australia, some from Canada, New Zealand, Italy, and a couple other Americans. Going into that day I had no idea a week from then I'd be crying saying goodbye to what felt like a family. I had no idea we'd have the most amazing tour guide of tour guides that could walk this earth. Her name was Kimmy, and let's just say, she was legendary. The first morning on the bus we all had to tell embarrassing and terrible travel stories we'd experienced. I'd say that's one way to break the ice. We were also told we had to sing in front of the bus if we ever arrived late. Generally, that made us all arrive on time.
If you ever heard that Irish people are the nicest people, you'd be right, at least all the ones I met. People actually said sorry when they ran into you. They said sorry. They offered help with directions. I didn't even know that was a thing anymore. Yet, they were sarcastic as hell with vulgar senses of humor. And, they sure knew how to have fun. At this point, I knew I had found my place and my people.
During that week I had the most adventurous time of my life. We travelled all over the entire island of Ireland. We first went to Northern Ireland, also considered the United Kingdom, where we learned of the strifes that have, and still go on, due to issues over the land of Protestants and Catholics. We saw scenery that looked as if you were walking in a Lord of the Rings movie. For any Game of Thrones fans, we saw a lot of places they had filmed Game of Thrones. We went to Belfast, Ballintoy, Derry, Kilarney, Galway, Dingle, and so many more places I can't even think of right now. One of the best places was our first night in Ballintoy, a tiny town of about 100 people. We got to eat Guinness steak pie and this was the first of many times we would all sing American Pie together. It was incredible beautiful here. It wasn't too far from the Giant's Causeway, an amazing place made up of over 40,000 naturally formed rocks that fit together perfectly. Yet, as miraculous as the views were, the people made all the difference.
There was a father and daughter traveling together, and they could party harder than just about anyone else. Between their duets of singing and drinking beer, I was almost always pissing myself laughing with them. They were from Australian and I now have an invitation to come meet the rest of their family, so I'm hoping, one day, I'll be able to accomplish that. The majority of people were actually from Australia, and I never felt as accomplished as when two of them told me I was told I was there favorite American, and the fact I was the last one up with them every night made me quite proud that I had it in me. I've now met the kindest girls from Canada, and I told them once I get back, I'll be taking a drive over the border to see them. We sang in pubs with local Irish people, drank a lot of Guinness, and got up every day on three hours of sleep to keep going on the trip. Surprisingly, no one got sick on the bus, and if you would've seen everyone, you would've realized how much of an accomplishment that was. Kimmy, again, the best tour guide ever, told us stories of fairies and leprechauns, and not only told us the stories but showed us the places that go along with them. We found out to never enter a fairy fort or bad luck will follow us. I didn't think I needed any more bad luck following me. Being born on Friday the 13th is enough.
I drank, I laughed to the point of stomach pain, I danced my ass off with this new family I didn't even know I needed to meet, I cried from the thought of having no idea if I'd see them again, and I had one hell of a life changing experience.
I never knew in less than a week I'd meet so many amazing people who would changed my life, and I can only wish they knew how much they helped me grow in seven short days. We learned an Irish legend that says if you stick your toes in the waters of a specific beach in Ireland, it takes part of your soul. Well, I stuck my toes in, but I don't think I needed to, cause Ireland already had a part of me. I guess I'll have to go back and get it.
As the Irish would say, that week was craic ninety.