Sitting in the library of a castle – yes, a real castle – writing about our trip to Ireland is a bit, well, surreal. We’ve been here just over 24 hours and already drank Guinness from the source, went on some of a literary pub crawl, driven through the Irish countryside on the left hand side of the road, visited a passage tomb mound older than the Pyramids of Giza and Stonehenge, and are now spending the night in a castle originally built in the 12th century. It has been a full day.

I’ve been reminded of some important truths in the last day or so.

  1. Beer should be thick enough to feel almost chewy. I spent 20 years drinking Coors and then Corona, smiling through red Solo cups filled with watered down light beer and later drank from clear bottles with a small crescent of lime at the bottom. I never liked it, but I drank it because that was what was expected of me. Now, I toss off proper convention, ordering the darkest thing on tap. The chewier the better.
  2. Meeting new people, especially in new places, is invigorating. I love the stories people share when you are genuinely curious about their lives. The things people will disclose, at the mere glimpse of sincere questions, is astounding. And I do really want to know, I love to know how people have gotten to where they are in life and even more importantly, where they want to go.
  3. I am no longer a big city girl. When I was in my 20’s I wanted a more cosmopolitan lifestyle. LA. New York, maybe even Chicago. But the 18 hours we spent in Dublin was 17 hours too long and a good portion of that we were asleep dealing with jetlag. I am happiest in the green lands of the countryside.
  4. Having a good travel partner makes all the difference. We travel together seamlessly (minus the occasional navigation blip), with lots of comfortable silence on long drives interspersed with the occasional timely conversation. It is a wonderful way to be, as I sit in the passenger side and ponder the world around me and get lost in my own thoughts as we pass through new, but familiar, landscapes.

It feels good to be in a place where I can finally set aside the shoulds and enjoy the reality.

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