After going to Germany as apart of the GAPP program, I knew I had been bit by the travel bug, and hard. From that moment I knew I wanted to see more places, after all, there was so much of the world out there left for me to explore. Being young and in high school made it difficult to travel, and it wasn’t until 2016 that I was able to venture outside of the United States again, this time on a solo trip to Ireland.
I traveled to Ireland through EF College Break, a travel agency that specifically works with young adults to help them make their travel dreams come true. When I first learned about EF, I couldn’t stop looking at their website. The very first time I went on and read about the different trips, I knew I was done for. I started working extra hours at my job to save money, and after eight months I booked my trip to Ireland. EF made my trip possible only because they allow their travelers to make monthly payments rather than pay everything up front. These monthly payments meant I could keep working and paying off my trip while I was in school, and even though making payments each month came with a lot of added stress, each time I logged in I felt a sense of joy knowing I would soon be traveling again.
Ireland was a beautiful country and I met so many amazing people. My experiences in Ireland were vastly different than my experiences in Germany: in Ireland I felt like a tourist. I was staying in hostels, traveling with a group of young Americans, some of who became great friends, and took a giant tour bus from city to city. Even though I felt like a tourist, I was so grateful for the things I got to see and do. To this day, the Cliffs of Moher are one of the most breathtaking sites I have ever seen.
The people of Ireland were also incredible. Everywhere we went, people were kind and welcoming. They taught us Irish dances and one particularly kind group of people sang us a going away song the day before our flights back to the States. That memory stays with me, as do the many memories I made in pubs, on hikes, and in sharing a room with five other girls. Travel changes you. It helps you to grow and stretches your worldview far wider than you ever thought possible. It makes you feel incredible, yet so infinitely small at the same time. It makes you realize that no matter where you come from, or what language you speak, we are all one people, and when we stop focusing on the differences, we have far more in common than you could ever imagine.