In Case You Were Wondering

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**Written initially in December 2013, this is the explanation for leaving America for Ireland. Lots had changed since then, but many of the feelings still remain. Have a click around the blog and see if you can figure out which feelings those are. 😉 I may tell you all sooner than later.

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I’m a twenty-something who had a travel addiction and wasn’t ready for the real world.

Many people graduate college with the ability to take the next step in life. They have a significant other that they are ready to settle down with, or maybe they have the perfect job offer that they would be crazy to give up. Some people are satisfied with moving back home for a while (or ever) to figure out what the next move is.  And then there are some of us, who graduate from college, live in the “real world” for a little while, and then freak out. I freaked out.

I had a job that most history majors would kill for, a place in an up and coming non-profit museum. This particular museum is the only one of its kind the WORLD and one of SEVEN in the world to have a special collection from the Israel Antiquity Authority. I had a steady guy in my life. He and I had been together for well over a year and talked seriously about marriage. My family approved of my place in the world. I had a BA, a career, and an impending engagement all before my eyes. Why wasn’t that enough? Why couldn’t I just be happy with where I was in the world? Well, it just wasn’t what I wanted. I was living someone else’s perfect life, and I needed to find mine.

My sister and I were raised as travelers. My dad before us was raised traveling by our Papa. Papa would wake up my dad, aunt, and uncles early in the morning, plop them in the car, and embark on a journey across America. They went everywhere. Kind of like the Griswolds, but maybe slightly more contained. Daddy did the same with us. By the time I graduated high school I had been to six countries and almost twenty states. That is more than most people achieve in a lifetime. The thrill of landing in a new environment, culture, sight, and sound has always appealed to me. Trying to cram fifteen of my southern family members onto a rush hour train in NYC or walking through a Krispy Kreme drive through in Detroit or gawking at the world that is San Francisco as a twelve year old southern girl (boy was that a shock!) or wandering through the winding side streets of London are all experiences that I had before the age of 18. My parents should not have been surprised that living abroad was a goal of mine.

I sort of achieved it the summer before my last semester of college. Like many college students, I had the opportunity to study abroad. Eight weeks of my life were spent in Stirling, Scotland, a small yet big enough city that offered Scottish men, whiskey, and culture. I traveled six out of the eight weekends in Stirling going to Belfast, Isle of Skye, Ireland, Switzerland, and other parts of Scotland. And it was magical. Two months were up before I could blink my eyes and fully process what I was doing. I was living in Europe. I was going to school in Europe. That summer sparked a new flame: the idea of truly living abroad.

So we get to why I am in Ireland now. Like I said, I freaked out. Things in my life were going perfectly, yet I was unhappy. The last time I remembered being at peace with the world was when I was traveling around Europe during my study abroad. I knew that was what I needed to do. I began staying up all hours of the night searching the web for answers to my question: How do I live abroad, travel, and still make money? I landed on the USIT website. USIT is an Irish company that helps kids live, work, and travel in other countries on visas. Bingo! I found out that the American-Irish governments had set up a program for recent college graduates (of either nation) to live in the other for a set amount of time, take employment, and have the freedom to travel as seemed fit. It’s called a Working Holiday Authorization. Without mentioning it to my parents, I emailed USIT and began asking questions.

When I presented this idea to my parents, it was their turn to freak out. My mother’s response was, “But Morgan, I want grandchildren,” (Remember, I had a steady guy in my life at this point), and “Wasn’t last summer enough?!”  My dad was just plain mad. I mean, red faced, fist pounding, gonna go hide in the pantry mad.  They knew I was unhappy (I had broken down a few weeks earlier and told them everything), but couldn’t understand WHY I wanted to leave, couldn’t understand why Ireland was the answer. And to be honest, I didn’t know why either. Not a clue.  I only knew that without a shadow of doubt that this was what I was supposed to be doing with my life.

I paid for the entire adventure by myself. The plane ticket, the insurance, the program fees, the visa fees, the stamps on the envelopes, everything came out of my pocket. My then boyfriend and I broke up. The night I was going to bring up the idea of Ireland to him, he bomb shelled me with the news that he was joining the Air Force (That’s a story if there every was one!). I left my job at the museum about a week before my plane flight here (That’s a story too). And at the end of September, I hugged my family goodbye and boarded a plane to Dublin, Ireland.

This is not normal. This is not for everyone. And this was probably not the best solution to my problems. But it’s what I chose, and I in no way regret my decision to move to Ireland. I am learning more things about myself everyday. I see, touch, taste, and smell new things. My heart has two homes now. When my time here is up, I probably still won’t have any idea as to what I am supposed to do with my life. Nope, won’t have a clue. But I can guarantee you, I will be a better person for having had this experience.

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55 comments

  1. Been there, done that…in my own sort of way. And, being much much older than you are now, I can tell you that you will NEVER regret travelling!!! After college I backpacked around the world for two years and it was the best thing I’ve ever done. Experiences of a lifetime!!!

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  2. When your time is up and you’re not ready to go home, look into teaching English as a second language. A lot of countries or jobs require you to have a TEFL or one of those certifications (that you can easily get online), but some do not, depending on the country you want to teach in. It’s a great way to make money and dive in to another culture, and you get a lot of travel opportunities during your vacations or between contracts.
    And I think you probably did what was best for how you were feeling. Maybe it wasn’t that you weren’t ready for the ‘real world’, but that you hadn’t experienced enough of the big world to settle down.

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    1. I’ll look into teaching English for sure! Countless blogs that I follow are about English teachers, and their stories are incredible. And I think you’re reasoning as to why I left my be right. I love this big world and simply wanted to be a part of it 🙂

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  3. Hi!! I am SO glad you found and followed my blog!!! I could not believe it when I looked at your “About Me” page – you are my twin. The two things I miss the most when I am in Ireland are Taco Bell & Target. I wish I was joking. I saw that your birthday is August 29. Mine is August 27. and don’t get me started on Ireland… send me an email if you wouldn’t mind? (my email is on my “Contact Me” page) x

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  4. You are such an inspiration to me. Congrats on your move, I can’t wait to hear more of your stories. Thanks for checking out my blog!!

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  5. Good for you!! People thought I was crazy for rejecting amazing grad school offers and moving to the middle of nowhere in Africa. I’m here to tell you– you are going to have the time of your life! And yes, I sympathize with the lack of Target.

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  6. You’re very brave and so right to have made this choice! I wouldn’t have done it when I was your age, but I’m so happy to have had the opportunity to move to your country. Living abroad sure makes people better. Thanks for following my blog. I love your pictures, especially from Ireland.

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  7. Trust me, you’ll get over missing Taco Bell and Target, and find new things to miss in Ireland. Wishing you tons of good fortune for your adventures there and beyond. Thanks so much for following my travel blog. I’ll be watching yours too.

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  8. Interesting to read remarks of other people. I understand more of why you did this even though it isn’t what i hoped for you. You have to make your decisions and family has to let you go and leave it to Him. Nana

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  9. Hey! Thanks for checking out my blog. Your story actually has a lot of similarities with my jump into expat life – especially the emotional turmoil and throwing away every aspect of your life at the chance of something fresh. I’d love to get in contact by email and share the madness.

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  10. I love this story. I think it puts so perfectly into words something that everyone will feel and experience at some point in there life. Beautiful and good job, brave girl 🙂 Sending you much love and lucky in all your endeavours

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  11. I can relate to all of this… even the missing Taco Bell part on your About Me page! And trust me, even when you get to be an old lady in your 30s like me, you probably still won’t know what to do with your life. But no doubt you’ll still be doing more living than 99% of people out there 🙂

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  12. I’m so impressed by your honesty and courage! Ironically, I never really saw my future in Ireland and a three month student working trip to San Francisco, before my final year at Trinity, sealed the deal. I had the travel bug and was lucky enough to eventually meet a partner (a Dane in Scotland) who was of the same mind. 17 years, 3 children, 6 soon to be 7 countries later, we’re still on a great big adventure. I look forward to following yours here:)

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  13. My top tip for the likes of you is when you meet / find a ‘steady’ again, be sure he has the potential to live abroad too. I travelled as a child, massively as a young adult, then massively again… Nursing as a career meant I could work abroad, and now I’m married with 2 kids with husband working in the beautiful Oman. What I’m trying to say is, ‘it’ doesn’t stop 🙂

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  14. A brilliant post. I love the sentiment – that what you’re doing ISN’T for everyone, but it’s right for you right now. It’s something I’ve been struggling with as people have expressed their “jealousy” at my expat move abroad – I can’t get my head around it. It’s not for everyone and that is ok – and they wouldn’t want to do it this way even if they could. It’s still something I’m thinking on. Anyhow I look forward to reading about your life in one of my favorite places in the world!!

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    1. I am so happy you feel the same way! Several people have told me that they would love to do what I am doing and that they are so jealous or that they could do it too. While all of those things are great and very well MAY be true, how I got here and why I am here is my personal reasoning. Their reasoning for going abroad would be vastly different than mine. Aslo their experience abroad would be completely different than mine. Being an expat is TOUGH shit. It’s neither for the faint of heart nor to be taken lightly. This isn’t just some long term vacation. Sorry for the small rant! Haha It’s just nice to see another expat feel the same as I do 🙂

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  15. Hi TMT! Indeed, expatriateness is not easy, those folks who say they envy you probably only see the good sides, and family rarely understands. But we do it because we have to, for one reason or another. And thank god for the internet, so we can meet others like us even when one is in Dublin and one in the middle of nowhere, Africa. So thanks for finding me and live it up!

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  16. Expating is really hard. So is coming home. Just warning you :). You won’t regret, no matter what happens. I’d love to visit Ireland. Might be my next Euro trip.
    Thanks for the follow, happy to follow back!

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  17. Finally got around to checking out the blog! This is late now, but welcome to the expat life! This is my second time around expating(the first stint was 3 years in Russia) and trust me, you will NEVER be done with it now that you’ve got a taste.

    After Ireland, I also suggest getting a job teaching English, at least until you find “the job.” It is really flexible most of the time, you really get to know locals and it is rewarding to boot.

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  18. I’m so excited to find your blog! And after reading this page I see we have some things in common. I also studied history, lived in Scotland (near Stirling in fac) and an unquenchable thirst for travel & new experiences.I can’t wait to read more.

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