**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.
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.