It hasn’t even been a week here in Dublin and I already feel… to be honest I don’t know how I feel. Contempt, scared, badass? Does the feeling really matter though? Everyone who goes abroad for the first time goes through a mixture of emotions that has us all reeling on our heels, grasping for holding points. For me, this trip is about pushing against the boundaries of my comfort zone, which are about as widespread as jail cell bars. This is the point in the trip where orientation has happened, I’ve explored the city with my 16 great new classmates, and I’ve gotten my bearings.
Taking a "sheltered" approach to exploring Dublin before I go at it alone.
This is the point where I get off my ass and do something that’ll completely change my view on life.
So this blog goes out to the people I want to be. Long live the confident, the independent, and the brave that are willing to take chances. The people who aren’t afraid to venture out into the unknown by themselves and take on the world alone. Adventure thirsty as a vampire’s desire for blood, I’m ready to be turned. I’m prepared to become a sparkly movie cliché if it means becoming a well versed, and sexily fanged cliché if it means becoming a well versed, and sexily fanged traveller.
There are parts of me that have plans to see all of Ireland in six weeks, but I know that there are going to be times when no one wants to come along. Baby me is quivering in the corner and gripping onto familiar surroundings with all her might. The reckless version is running around like the Tasmanian Devil trying to destroy everything “safe and comfortable” that it can find.
I mean, it definitely sounds like a one-sided battle, but baby me has an extremely strong grip and really doesn’t want to let go.
While these swans flock together, my dad would say "it's time to push that baby out of the nest and make it fly."
Every instinct in me is fighting to be brave and explore on my own, but it’s also preventing me from taking the first step. While the buddy system is a constant, pulsating thought in the back of my mind, I know that I have the capability to traverse the country on my own. Having friends is nice because in those unknown scenarios, it's good to have someone just as lost as you around. The thing is though, don't let the fact that someone doesn't want to do a trip with you prevent you from doing what you want. You want to travel to Giant's Causeway for the weekend but no one else will spend the money? Take the tour. You want to go to the pride parade and celebrate with the entirety of the city? Just do it.
I want to see all of Ireland in the best way possible and I know that some of that is going to require going alone. I know it might be scary, but I’m going to do it. Of course, I’ll be safe when I plan the trip.
I can already hear my dad on the phone, reminding me to be aware and safe… and to stop spending all his money.
So, when you are in Ireland or whatever wonders you wish to explore, don’t be afraid to jump out of your comfort zone and live in the moment. I’m reminded of my mom, taking trips by herself across countries and think, she’s super tiny and nonthreatening. If she can do it, why can’t I?
For all the confident and the brave or the wishers to be one, I’ll give you this advice. It doesn’t take a lot to challenge yourself, but it takes an unknowable amount of strength and courage to take that first step.
Take the plunge with me.
*Savannah Saunders is an English and communications major at the University of Iowa. A native of Kildeer, IL, she will be spending her summer in Dublin, Ireland on the Irish Writing Program.
Student blog entries posted to this International Accents page may not reflect the opinions and recommendations of UI Study Abroad and International Programs. The blog is intended to give students a forum for free expression of thoughts and experiences abroad in a respectful space.