Places unknown.
Becoming uncomfortable.
I spent my days looking for happiness.
Never just being happiness.
When I left on this trip, I left my world behind.
I wiped my heart clean, my slate clean.
I wanted to board that plane with no strings.
I didn’t want anything or anyone to get in the way of this experience.
I didn’t get a international phone plan on purpose.
No checking in every five seconds.
No emotional ties, tying me down to the place I was trying to leave behind.
To the person I was trying to leave behind.
After this trip I promised myself I would be renewed.
I would let go of all that was holding me back emotionally and physically.
I would treat myself better.
No longer “looking” for happiness.
But being happiness.
Letting it wash over me – every single day that I wake up.
No longer “looking” for love.
But letting it find me.
I always read those Pinterest posts or Instagram memes that said –
“Once you let go, everything falls together.”
I never really knew what I was supposed to let go of?
Let go of the idea of how its supposed to be.
Let go of the timeline you so meticulously planned out for your life.
Let go of the person you “imagined” spending forever with.
Start embracing the unknown.
The uncomfortable.
Embracing the person you will become, not constantly trying to fix who you were.
Embracing the future you will have, whatever that might look like.
When I was in Ireland all of this was realized.
As I walked the streets of a place unknown, I found myself.

(St.Kevins Monastic Ruins. Glendalough)

My first international trip.
Planning was more of a chaotic tornado, than an organized fairytale.
Travel buddy fell through. Due to time-off complications.
Finances didn’t line up.
So I sat & said quietly to myself, “I might fly to Dublin and sit in the airport for two weeks because I don’t know what I am doing, but by God I am flying to Dublin!!!”

Just as fast as things fell apart, they fell back together.
My older brother surprised me last minute & filled in as travel buddy.
We’d be spending his dirty 30 in Ireland, it wasn’t to shabby of a deal.
Luckily, he is no stranger to international travel.
He lit up the way quite nicely and filled in all the spaces I had left blank.

When I touched down at the Dublin airport I quickly realized that without an international phone plan, it would be hard to coordinate with my brother the small fact that our determined meeting place wasn’t a place at all. It took us over 3 hours to find one another, but once we did – it was within a snap of our fingers that the adventure began.

Rental car.
Left side of the road.
Stick shift.
More round abouts then you could imagine.
Roads the size of bike paths.
Being an American who has never drove in Europe before, you quite literally take your life into your own hands – happily of course.
Cobblestone town squares.
Stone hedges along the roadway, draped in ivory – stone that could easily date back to the Neolithic Period.

History –
everywhere you turned, everywhere you looked, within everything you touched.
As I ran my hands across stone art from 2500 BC,
across burials dating back to the 1200’s – my heart raced.
I got my degree in Anthropology, so you can imagine the feeling.

Wicklow Mountains.
Rolling hills as far as the eye can see.
Lakes tucked away, deep in their valleys.
Green, so much green. Blooming heather. Purple, so much purple.
It is incredible to be on a road un-monopolized by man.
Pot holes. No dotted lines. Just enough room for you and the road.
I have never drove roads like this.
So untouched. So serene.

St.Kevins monastic ruins.
A monk who fled from his people to live in solitude among the mountains.
Ironically, other monks followed suit and joined him.
So much for solitude.
As I walked through the grave site, I felt peace.
Touching headstones gently – knowing they had been touched by those who came before me over 1000 yeas prior. Incredible.

Rock of Cashel.

Favorite Irish trademark sayings:
– “Thanks a million.”
– “Thank you kindly.”
– “That’s grand.”
– “Cheers”

Ring of Kerry. *Terrifying, during a monsoon downpour. We quickly learned why tourists only dare to drive the Ring of Kerry on a sun-shining day.

You will always hold a special place in my being.
As you walk the streets of Dingle serenity washes over you.
A salty ocean town.
We went to a small pub and listened to traditional Irish music.
I had the most emotional response –
the girl who sang, sang a hauntingly beautiful Celtic song.
Then a powerful rendition of “Satisfied Mind.”

“When my life has ended. And my time has run out. My friends and my loved ones I’ll leave there’s no doubt. But one thing’s for certain. When it comes my time. I’ll leave this old world with a satisfied mind.”

This became the anthem of my trip. We travel not to escape life,
but to be sure life doesn’t escape us.
Travel. Always choose to travel. Explore the world. Explore yourself.
Nothing helps you step outside yourself more than traveling to a place where you are uncomfortable, a place where you don’t have roots.
Your money will always return, it can always be re-made.
But your time – your time you can never get back.

(Dingle, Ireland)

Cliffs of Moher.

This trip was essentially a giant pub crawl, lets be real.
Guinness is the water of Ireland.
The environment surrounding alcohol was so different than in the states.
It was about comradery, nothing more.

I will never forget taking this trip with my Brother.
He is my only brother.
He is my best friend.
Although, his favorite quote of the trip was “You’re exhausting.”
I know he wouldn’t trade the experience for anything.

**Before this trip I often focused on “finding” happiness,
rather than “being” happiness.


Disclaimer: All photography is my own & I reserve the rights to the images.

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