Whenever you travel, wherever you go, you always have one place that stands above the rest. It doesn’t mean that the other trips weren’t good, it just means that this one left you with more than the memories of your time there. That’s what England and Ireland did for me.
Now, I say this without including Salzburg, as I have been living here, but Ireland and England were by far my favorite places — not the big cities of London or Dublin, but of the small towns such as Reigate, Kinvara, Sheer, and so many others. It was the rolling hills, jaw-dropping cliffs, and the quaint little shops that remind you of how simple life can truly be.
It’s hard to put the actual experience into words, but all I can think is that I was truly blessed by all of this. I went into this semester thinking I wouldn’t be able to get to Ireland, but by mid-October I was planning a trip with a guy whom I had just met, and now consider my best friend. It’s incredible what can happen when we let go of the helm wheel and let the winds take us where they may. Just hope it won’t be into the Cliffs of Moher! Although, in the long run, God’s plan is so much better than we could ever imagine.
That’s another part of traveling; I can’t speak on behalf of everyone, as we are all created differently, but personally I have found that traveling with friends is immeasurably more enjoyable than alone. While it is nice to do your own thing at times, having someone to share those laughs with, someone who you are able to create memories with. Someone you can look out over God’s creation and see how beautiful life is and how small we all truly are. Someone who you can share a pint of Guinness with while singing along to traditional Irish songs in the pub early in the morning. Someone you can have meaningful conversations with any time of the day, but be able to sit in silence together while drinking a cup of tea and reading a book. For me, that’s the kind of experience that truly stands above all others when it comes to traveling, sightseeing, or even living my everyday life — because we’re not supposed to go through life alone.
We’re meant to have friends, family, and loved ones alongside us as we do all these things and go on this journey. But at the same time, they are there for us in the hard times when it’s not all sunshine and daisies.
I’m sure my peers who are studying abroad this semester can attest to this, that through this journey we’ve all found some of those friends. A friend that is there in the good and the bad, and it was evident from the start. Those friendships last a lifetime, no matter how many thousands of miles, time zones, or flight connections separate us.
Let me leave you with this Irish quote that could not have summed up my perfect week any better, “There are good ships and there are wood ships, the ships that sail the sea. But the best ships are friendships and may they always be.”