Trading Fantasies for Reality

JayLeen Murray NUI Galway, Ireland


January 12, 2017

There’s always this calmness when the snow hits the beach sand for the very first time.  I walked from jetty to jetty leaving my temporary footprints on the freshly fallen snow when it hit me- I’ll be leaving my comfort zone and traveling across the exact ocean that was crashing right at the tip of my toes.  It was weird feeling, that’s for sure.  I have been anticipating this journey for a while but being just two weeks away, I realized I’d be trading the snow for the rainy cobblestone streets of a small coast town.  

After I brushed through the nerves and doubts, I realized the root of why I chose this program.  Besides being a once in a lifetime opportunity, I am getting the chance to travel to learn not only more about myself but also my family history.  I am going to get to visit places that flourish with my ancestral roots and continue developing a path for myself filled with passion and love for life.

Spending the last semester interning in Washington D.C. during the adventure of being mixed in with one of the most controversial presidential elections, I have seen some of the worst sides of people. The world can be a cruel place, but I also know that it’s not always ugly. I do not even begin to know how to put into words my excitement to take a few steps back from the constant movement of city life and adapt to a whole new country, as an outsider.

I want to fully engage with the culture, I want to absorb myself in the community but most importantly, I want to bring back more than an adventure. At the end of these five months, I want to bring back cultural values and newfound friendships that have the ability to tell their own stories to remind at least myself that even on the cloudiest days, the world is truly a beautiful place.

Understanding how quickly I grow from being in new places, I am excited to embark on this journey and let it make me a better person. I am excited to visit the places I have only dreamed about. I am excited to trade the fantasy of reading about these places for writing about it, firsthand.