This past week I was able to fulfill a dream I have had since I was a teenager. I went to Ireland! No, I am not of Irish birth. I have no hereditary connection to the country. Both my parents were born and raised in the Philippines. But since I was in high school and read a book about the beauty of the country I have always wanted to go. In fact, my high school graduation gift from my brother was a travel guide of Ireland. Almost 20 years later and I was able to make that dream a reality.
Was it everything I thought it would be?
Yes and no. I realized early on that when your dreams meet reality you need to prepare for the potential mismatch. And in case you're wondering if my dreams were about me meeting a tall, dark, and handsome Irish man as I walked aimlessly through a park, the answer to that is no. :)
My dream consisted of grassy knolls and small villages and as I landed into Dublin and rode in the taxi to my hotel I saw the exact opposite of that. I saw a thriving busy city with street traffic and tall buildings. The green fields and gray skies I had anticipated were no where to be found. In fact, it was so warm in Ireland this past week I was told the last time temperatures got this high at this time of the year was almost 36 years ago. And so while I packed for winter weather (sweaters, leggings, and boots) everyone else was dressed in shorts, tank tops, and sandals. In fact at one point someone asked me if I was going to a festival because of how I was dressed (which was a bit embarrassing).
However, once outside the main city, the Ireland of my dreams became a reality. I was able to see and walk through many castles. I kissed the Blarney stone, walked along the Cliffs of Moher, and stood on the Giant's Causeway. I fell in love with the tales of Irish folklore and my heart ached for the history of a country that has been through a lot over the past century. I found the village I would want to live in (if I ever thought of moving there) and indulged in many-a-pint of Guinness as I sat in pubs and listened to live music. I met friendly locals who were willing to sit and talk with a stranger. And I walked a lot. More than I ever do at home. And when you walk you learn to slow down and appreciate the beauty around you.
All in all, the trip was everything I had hoped for and so much more in many different ways. In fact, I felt that this past week I reconnected with the teenage version of me. My dreams from the past resurrected themselves and the ideals of my youth came back. It was like meeting an old friend and walking down memory lane together.
As I was able to fulfill a childhood dream, I hope you are able to fulfill one of yours. You never know what the outcome will be and how it'll affect your future. For myself, I'm waiting to see what inspiration will come from this trip and from being reacquainted with the younger version of me as I hope the same will happen for you. Sláinte.