Earlier in the year I came across a vintage Irish tourism poster that read, “Travel round the globe, but first see Ireland.” I like to think of myself as someone who has chronic wanderlust. The more I see of the world, the more I crave to visit new countries and cities. Surprisingly enough though, Ireland was never somewhere on the top of my traveling list. At first thought, I am drawn to cities with the quirky, century old architecture, and, in contrast, the never ending crystal blue waters of the Caribbean rather than the lush, green cliffs and countrysides of Ireland. Once I began to look into 2 week study abroad programs Marist was offering this spring, I came across the one to Ireland. It offered a course I was very interested in, Intercultural Communication, and the opportunity to travel to a country that I may not be able to visit when I am spend my spring semester abroad in Florence, Italy next year. The more I thought about signing up for this class, the more invested I became in the thought of the unknown. Ireland was somewhere I knew very little about, and I saw this as a positive. I tend to be a planner so once I have my mind set on something, I instinctually think and plan out the surrounding details. Sometimes I wish I was more of a free-spirit who was able go where the wind takes them and figure out the details along the way, but I have never been able to let go of my perfectionistic qualities as they are fundamentally, part of who I am. When the opportunity to travel to Ireland became a reality, I saw it as a way to harness those free-spirit vibes and take a trip that, in addition to giving me an amazing educational opportunity, would allow me to relish in a culture that prides itself on its history and traditions. I’ll be spending the next two weeks traveling all throughout the island, specifically, to the cities of Belfast, Dublin, Galway, Killarney and Cork. While I have an itinerary since it is a school conducted trip, I plan on gaining much more than just educational lessons. My goal for the trip is to think less and do more. I want to let go of the constraints I place upon myself and my experiences and be able to feel free with the culture and people of Ireland. I hope to embrace the unexpected and come out of this trip knowing that I took advantage of every opportunity, adventure and wrong turn on the cobblestone streets. This trip is the perfect match of being able to find myself, but also lose myself in what I love to do; writing and traveling. Even though I haven’t seen all of the world yet, or become the person I hope to someday be, looking back on the antique tourism poster from the beginning of the year, I hope to start my journey in Ireland. So here’s to hoping that my checked bag weighs less than 50 pounds when I go to board my plane tomorrow, that I come home with dirty sneakers tied to tired feet as well as a camera filled with infinite memories and smiles. See you on the other side of the Atlantic!