Sunset in Dublin, Ireland over the Liffey River.

Since this blog’s inception, I've made it a point to write every entry from my perspective at the time when the events/adventures occurred. Even though these entries are now many, many months behind their respective dates, I always try to stay true to the moment even it means stating things I know do not occur in the future. Initially, this long turnaround rate was a severe thorn in my side, but I’ve come to appreciate the delay in publishing my stories to the public domain as it gives me the chance to personally relive the tales as well edit for content and length. Now that I’ve finally reached my trip to Dublin though, I find myself in a bit of a quandary and feel it necessary to break from tradition.

Unlike my previous adventures, this particular episode of my trip is far more personal to me. I debated for quite some time on how best to write a post about Dublin or whether I should just skip it entirely. I didn't know where to begin my story and I found it difficult to create a version I felt comfortable publishing that accurately reflected my time in Dublin since many things have changed since then. In the end, my trip to Dublin was far too important to just leave out and I feel the blog would be incomplete without at least some mention of it.

The Cliffs of Moher with new friends! From left to right: Dustin, Rachel, Angela, and me.

In my very first post abroad I made reference to a wonderful woman I met on a cruise, Angela, who I made plans to visit Ireland with. From the moment she confirmed her flight, I eagerly waited for the opportunity to meet up with her again like a child impatiently waiting for Christmas. When it finally came time to make the 18+ hour trek to Dublin from Hamburg after my hitchhiking trip I was beyond excited - it was a feeling I've not experienced in years.

I absolutely loved my time in Dublin. The week and a half I spent in Ireland with Angela will forever remain a highlight of my trip and I was delighted to spend every single fantastic day in her company. I will never forget the joy of returning to a familiar city and the happiness of sharing new travel experiences with someone. I honestly didn't know what to expect when I first arrived in Dublin, but it was a remarkable surprise that I never could have imagined. Between dinners at the addiction-inducing Bobo’s burgers, the incredible new friends we met along the way (particularly Dustin and Rachel), and the various little trips to places like the Cliffs of Moher, there was never a dull moment. Even the slower days where we aimlessly wandered around Dublin exploring the sights, museums, and cafes were unbelievably enjoyable.

I can’t remember the last time I was as happy to spend a day doing absolutely nothing with someone. For a week and a half, I completely tuned out the rest of the world, rarely looked at the news or social media, and didn’t write a single word - I was far more concerned with enjoying what little time I had with Angela. Even as I reflect back on the countless cities, countries, and adventures over the last seven months, my trip to Dublin still ranks as one of the best experiences. 

Hiking in the Wicklow Mountains. I swear to you I have not touched up this picture one bit. This place is just incredible!

It isn’t about the places you visit; it’s the people you share it with.

It wasn’t until after Angela left that I had a chance to sit down and document all of the wonderful experiences. I spent hours writing down as much as I could remember because I didn’t want to ever forget a single moment, but now that it is finally time to draft a post for the blog I've hit a wall. In the months following Dublin, Angela and I came to the conclusion that the situation between us was not sustainable long-term and parted ways for the foreseeable future leaving it up to fate (for lack of a better term) to decide if our paths should ever cross again. It was the most amicable separation I’ve ever experienced (and probably ever will), but in the end it was all a matter of bad timing - nothing more. Both of us have since moved on with our respective lives and I honestly don’t know how appropriate it is to publish stories under the context that the relationship still exists when I know the contrary to be true. 

Ireland is just a beautiful country, it's hard to take a bad picture here.

Before I departed on my trip, I remember watching a movie called A Map for Saturday. I highly recommend it to anyone thinking about traveling long term and a big issue the main character faced on his trip was the difficulty in letting go of special people he met along the way. There is no way to effectively communicate this kind of feeling and, looking back, there was no way for me to possibly understand before this trip. The feeling of forming sudden, strong connections with people for mere days/weeks at a time and then simply saying goodbye indefinitely is something I am totally unfamiliar with. My trip to Dublin gave me the chance to better understand a few concepts about life that I only knew in theory. There are three in particular that I feel specifically apply to this leg of my trip that many people back home tend do overlook or ignore, but that long-term travel forces you to face.

Never assume things about the future. No matter how “solid” you think your plans are for the future, nothing is guaranteed. After Angela and I split ways, our plans to meet in Greece in October were canceled as well and I realized much of the sadness I experienced was the result of assumptions I held about the future. While it may sound a bit morose, remember that every time you say goodbye to someone, it could very well be the last time you see them; never let someone leave with things left unsaid. The idea of a “future” is a concept that exists only in your head. Do not mistake your internal projections as reality.

Life is transitory.  This is a concept I have attempted to comprehend over the years and my trip to Dublin gave me an enormous opportunity to practice. The one thing travel is remarkably good at teaching is that everything in life is temporary; the people I meet, experiences I have, and events I go through, like my wonderful trip with Angela, all pass by in what feels like a blink of an eye. There is no way to stop, slow down, or encapsulate them, and any attempt to do so is a futile effort.  Life will invariably change and the only way to happily move forward is to fully appreciate the moment right in front of you for however long it’s there.

Attachment leads to pain. When we finally decided to part ways, I experienced a deep pain. I still cared for Angela, held no anger toward her, and knew the separation was the result of bad timing beyond our control, but the pain persisted in light of all the great things we experienced. I felt I lost something very special and internally struggled to hold on to an illusion of a relationship that no longer existed. The moment I realized my pain was rooted in the attachment I held for her, the feeling began to dissipate. We feel a certain sense of ownership in life when it comes to things like our bodies, material possessions, relationships, etc. but the reality is that we never really "own" these things to begin with and they are not ours to lose - we are simply lucky enough to experience them.

Even after everything that transpired in the months following Dublin, I’m forever grateful for the chance to travel with Angela. Looking back, if given the opportunity, I would do it all over again in a heartbeat and the simple act of writing this post has brought me great joy in reliving those happy days. It was truly a unique experience that can never be recreated and will never be forgotten. To those of you out there wanting to know the story of Dublin I apologize, in this instance posting behind schedule backfired on me, but it’s safe to say I loved my time in Dublin.

I’m slowly catching up with my posts, so hopefully this is only a temporary issue. 

Thanks for the memories!

At this point, I’m confident few people will ever make it this far through my ramblings before losing interest and moving on to the next Facebook post, but I’m certain there is one person out there that will read this article in full. Wherever you are in the world Angela, I wish you much love and happiness in life. You are the reason why Dublin was such a fantastic experience and I want to thank you for making the trip; it would not have been the same without you. On this wild ride we call life, there are unexpected pleasures that open your eyes to the natural beauty of what it is to truly LIVE. Thank you for ripping me out of that tedious “real world” to live in a momentary dream and for re-opening my eyes to the excitement of living in the moment. 

Farewell Dublin, you will forever hold a special place in my heart.