It has been about two weeks since I returned from Dublin. Even though I jumped right back into life at the Mount and classes are in full swing as I am finishing up the semester for finals, I have been trying to reflect and process the short trip we had (and all the data I collected for my research project)!
Although I was only in Dublin for 4 days, one thing that keeps standing out to me as I reflect on my experience is how comfortable I felt in the city, even though this trip was my first time visiting Dublin. I felt super familiar in the city and after the first full day, I knew my way around. Upon reflection, I noticed how easy it was for me to explore the city and really make the city my own. This ease and comfortability definitely came from my previous study abroad and travel experiences.
I think a lot of the time there is pressure to do everything you possibly can in a city and cram in as much as you can into every single second of a trip. I experienced this first hand when planning weekend trips while I was studying abroad for a semester in Prague. I would get out of my classes Thursday afternoons, so we would only have Friday to Sunday to travel and experience new cities. Weekends were some of my favorite memories of the trips, but during the planning phase, it seemed overwhelming at times to figure out what we really wanted to do in that city, instead of what all of the tourist guides and blogs say.
Each city or place you visit has endless things to do, tourist attractions to visit (and tourist traps to avoid), restaurants to eat traditional foods, bars to explore, people to meet and new experiences around every corner. Below are some pictures from my favorite parts of our trip!
When we started to explore Dublin, I felt as though I could really take the city at my own pace. Although Dr. Kennedy and I had a jam-packed schedule, we made sure to prioritize what we wanted to to in Dublin, and we also made sure to schedule some down time. This made our experience great, because we figured out what we wanted to do in Dublin, but did not put pressure on ourselves to see every inch of the city.
I had never really thought about it before, but being able to feel comfortable in an entirely new city is really empowering and exciting! I felt as though I could confidently get around, visit new places, and really experience Dublin’s culture aside from the tourist traps. Whenever I explore a new place, I rarely feel homesick; every place I visit becomes like another “home” to me. There’s a saying from Pierce Brown that says, “Home isn’t where you’re from, it’s where you find light when all goes dark.” I think “dark” in a sense can mean a routine or a rut. Traveling gives us an ability to get out of our routine, our comfort zones, and our safe spaces. It forces us to find that is another place, which is truly special.
My experience felt a lot closer to home because I got to spend time with my friends from the Mount who were studying abroad this semester in Dublin. Meeting up with fellow Mounties made the trip so memorable (see pictures below)! Check back on the blog soon to see them share some of their reflections about their trip as well, and keep up with @msmutravels on Instagram to learn about upcoming trips!