Left Ireland for good in 2011. Broke my heart doing it. Strong ties linked me to that country, and an inexplicable love to that ground made the steps that were leading me to leave the country unbearably leaden.
I did’t want to leave, but I did want to leave. I needed to. I needed to grow, to expand, to challenge myself, and Ireland was home, was safe, was easy. It was the safe heaven I needed to heal, but once the wounds stopped to bleed I knew I had to get stronger and for that I had to leave.
And I did. Brokenhearted but also excited about the future. It was that uncertainty some of us love so much because it keeps us in our toes. There is no time to settle back.
I realized how much I loved traveling when I did a short trip around Ireland to say goodbye. I spent there 3 years in the green island of Erin but I didn’t find the time to do some tourism around, so before leaving for good I had to visit, I had to say a proper goodbye and thank you. Departed from Cork. Waterford. Kilkenny. Dublin. Belfast. Derry. Sligo. Ennis and back to Cork. A short 3 weeks on my own, my love and me.
What that farewell trip taught me.
Being on my own, traveling, resulted in some sort of cathartic moment. I saw clearly what I needed, what I loved. I had the time to wander around, to get lost, to reflect deeply, to write and feel the poignant need to interact with others, so I had to learn how to do so. And I knew that was what I wanted for my life.
Back in Cork I was certain that I had to leave. I had to travel the world. And I had to do it on my own. I had to know myself deeply. I had to overcome my shyness and fears. I had to better myself.
After almost 3 years of traveling solo (most of the time), it seems I don’t get enough. It’s true that sometimes I get tired of being on the road, but there’s always an urge to keep moving somewhere else. To keep exploring. To keep experiencing new places and new people.
However, I have also realized I lack of a home. Traveling is great, but having a place to go back it’s also great. I can’t help but feeling Ireland that home, although there’s no physical space (i.e. apartment) to go back anymore, only the people, the friends, the memories and the familiar places, which are enough for the moment.
Not for long, though. I have this feeling of “not belong” crawling up my spine sometimes. More and more. I don’t stay anywhere long enough to create meaningful relationships anymore, therefore, nobody reach the level of familiarity required to make me feel at home, to make me feel that I belong to that place. And that, only that, is the hardest part. Easy goodbyes, not anymore tears when I leave the place, only the anticipation of new faces and spaces to discover, only to leave them behind before we mean something more to each other.