For the first time in my life I decided to go on a solo adventure. I was excited by the thought of doing something on my own and pushing myself outside my comfort zone. I was (and still am) in a place where I really needed some time to myself – to relax, explore, focus on me and gain some new perspective on life. Plus, I’ve always wanted to do a solo trip just to experience it, so why not now?
I was ready for the jump-off, a new journey in life. And I find that when I am out in the world on my own, especially in natural spaces or places that have been touched by many souls, I feel grounded and I feel safe to really explore who I am. This is what being alone in Ireland was all about for me.
How was my trip? In one word – Magical.
And how did I feel about travelling through Ireland on my own? It was the best decision I have made in a long time. I am so utterly relieved that I felt confident enough to explore an entirely new part of the world completely on my own.
My week in Ireland consisted of a lot of walking and site-seeing, relaxing in parks, exploring cathedrals and castles, listening to live music, drinking Jameson and Guinness and meeting lovely, lovely people. But on top of these adventures I experienced some very impactful, even life-changing moments during my travels– moments that reminded me of the importance of presence, the beauty of absence and the joys of independence.
Alone in Ireland, I rediscovered the importance of being present.
A few people asked me when I got home if I ever felt lonely and not for a second did I feel lonely. Travelling alone for me wasn’t like going to the movies alone – where something funny happens and you turn to a friend to laugh at a joke only to remember they aren’t there. Travelling alone for me felt powerful. I don’t think I have ever felt as present as I did when I was venturing through the beautiful landscapes of Ireland.
Travelling alone allowed me an escape away from everyday life. An escape from expectation, responsibility, being needed, playing roles, it was an escape from the ordinary everything. While I was walking the streets of Dublin, sitting on the edge of the Cliffs of Moher, exploring Malahide castle, having coffee in Howth or hiking through the Cliffs Edge Trails I got to just be me in my truest form.
I felt so whole. And on top of it I found myself feeling connected to nature, history, humanity (despite my solo adventures) and really, the world.
One of the adventures I went on was to a place called Glendalough, which I learned means “Valley of two lakes” in the County of Wicklow. After exploring the old monastery grounds I spent the afternoon walking the trails through the forests heading toward what was named Upper Lake.
As I walked through the trails I took in everything – the sounds, the trees, the colour and shape of the plants. Everything was just so beautiful – I had nothing to distract me. No conversation with others, no reminders of the life I had waiting for me at home. I just had Ireland.
I didn’t have any expectations for Upper Lake. As I walked down the last leg of the trail through the trees, and into a clearing, I lost my breath. The mountain sides spreading upwards around the Lake were literally breathtaking – For the first time in my life I became emotional just looking at the world. The mountain sides felt so strong, the colour of the plants were such a vibrant green, so alive with colour, and suddenly everything smelled so, so sweet. I stood there in awe, thinking, the world is so beautiful.
I don’t think I would have experienced that moment in the same way had it not been for the solitude I had chosen. The solitude allowed me to be truly present in that moment. And I was reminded of the importance of not only being present, but making decisions, and creating space, that allow you that feeling of being present.
How can you rediscover presence in your life?
- Take time for yourself – being alone is not always lonely
- Be still and breathe – take in the sounds, smells, sites, textures
- Put your everyday ordinary aside once in a while to explore something new
I’d love to hear from you! How do you remind yourself to be present? What kinds of experiences have you had that help you to rediscover being present? Share your stories in the comment section.
Uncover the beauty of absence in Alone in Ireland | Part 2