Five days ago I was wandering around Dublin with my wife, it’s great to go to a city where you can find history from 1500 years ago pretty much anywhere you care to look.
Seven days ago I was gleefully holding onto a boat railing as we plunged through the Atlantic on the way to the Aran Islands. It was a borderline rough sea, and the ride was far more exciting than I had been expecting. I can still taste the sea spray if I think about it.
Nine days ago I was meandering around Galway, hanging out in Irish Pubs and listening to live music. And maybe having a little beer and whiskey.
And now in what felt like an eye blink and a year all at the same time, we’re back.
The thing about trips – and I truly, heartily, and passionately believe in the importance of trips – is they change the perspective with which you view the world. Going to another country, wandering its streets, greeting its people, and in this case, sampling its varied beverages. Is an experience that lends itself to insights which would have been much harder and taken far more time to come to in more familiar areas.
That isn’t to say that travel is necessary for insight. Ralph Waldo Emerson and his contemporary Henry David Thoreau are both renown for their insights into the effect of wilderness on the psyche and the various liberating aspects it gives. However, neither of them traveled much. But, they thought deeply.
In that aspect, travel and all the experiences like it act as a type of catalyst towards self-discovery and reflection. The farther you go and the stranger it gets, the more time you spend thinking about “What’s it all about, really?”
It’s the shift in a cultural lens and just the joy of discovery, as well as the general idea of displacing yourself, that automatically makes you examine old ideas and habits in a new light.
How often do you get to sit in a cafe down the street from Trinity College, listening to the hubbub of Dublin with an Americano on the table in front of you, and consider if the way you’re living your life is really the best one.
I spent this trip having the time of my life. I was traveling with my favorite person exploring amazing cities and having spectacular adventures. I literally could not ask for anything better.
But I also spent a lot of time thinking — trying to figure out if I move through the world with as much grace as I would hope. If I treat everyone with as much kindness as I would like. A new place lends a new perspective. And that, all by itself, can be an intensely wonderful and terrifying thing.
However, this time it came with a hell of a view.