I’ve gotten many emails over the past few years of people who come across my blog and want to know “How did you do it?” How, at 22 years of age, did I move from South Louisiana to Dublin, Ireland? Did you do it through a program? Did you have a job? How did you afford it? Was it scary?
Well, folks, I’ll tell you how I did it. I up and moved to Dublin, with no job or place to live, because of a little something known as the Working Holiday Authorisation – an amazing yet little-known program between Ireland and citizens of The US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Argentina, Hong Kong, Chile, South Korea, Japan, and Taiwan.
The rules and requirements vary slightly from country to country. For the purpose of this post I’m focusing on the Working Holiday Authorisation offered to people from the United States.
With holiday shopping, busy work hours, and a crashing MacBook (I bought myself a shiny new laptop for Christmas, yay!), I really failed miserably posting at the end of 2016. Like, really failed. Like, I haven’t posted since late October. Whoops!
But I got to go home for the holidays and it was absolutely amazing! I didn’t get to go home last Christmas, and that was my first Christmas ever away from my family. Although I spent Christmas in London that year with friends and had a blast, in all the fun I was having I still couldn’t help thinking about how much I missed being home for the holidays.
Well, this year, I DID get to go home and it was everything I wanted and more! Even though it was a hot Christmas and New Year in Louisiana (no shock there), it was full of family time, dogs, catching up with friends, INCREDIBLE food, and an amazing trip to New Orleans!
Although I absolutely love living in Dublin, I felt myself getting sad that I had to go back after my visit home came to an end. Which is weird, because I used to dream of getting the hell out of Louisiana!
But being an expat, it’s SO easy to get homesick. Even though I’m having the absolute time of my life, I still find myself yearning for home sometimes. I really miss certain aspects from home – my family, my friends, my dog, my room, the simplicity, the amazing food – and it’s always hard to leave those things after a visit home.
Not all expats were lucky enough to go home for the holidays this year. I know there were many of you who didn’t get to be with your family on Christmas Day. And I know how hard that was. Being an expat is an amazing learning and growing experience, but it’s natural to be homesick, no matter how much fun you’re having.
As I’m fresh off the plane from Louisiana, I share many of the homesick feelings a lot of expats feel over the holidays – either from not being able to go home and missing it, or going home and realizing how much you missed it and having to leave.
I’m with you. We’re all in this together. But come on guys – we expats are amazing. I mean, we moved to another country for crying out loud! Of course it can get hard sometimes but we’re brave! We’re adventurous! That’s why we’re here!
At the beginning of last year, one of my good friends wrote me a letter and put it in an envelope that read “Open ONLY when you’re having a bad day.” It took me a while to get around to open that letter, because I wasn’t having any bad days. Life was good. I was in Dublin, living it up! But eventually, those homesick feelings that creep up periodically came back, and it was time to open the letter. It rang so true for me, and will ring true for anyone living far away from family.
I’m sorry you’re not having a good day. If you’re homesick, we love you. If it’s work problems, fuck ’em. If your studly boyfriend isn’t treating you right, go make out with his hot friend.
You’re amazing. Honestly, you’ve turned your life into something worth living – never forget who got you there. Y.O.U. You took a risk, and you’re rocking it. You’re a kick-ass friend, a bold, brilliant woman, & someone I’m proud to call my friend. Remember, we’re only ever a plane ride away.
There’s nothing you can’t handle or figure out – you’ve proven that. Only a few people have the balls to do what you’ve done, don’t forget that. Don’t let whatever is causing your bad day to break you. Be strong, because you are.
I love you, friend. Drink your worries away, get some takeaway, and get back to being the bright, lovely, charming betch you are meant to be. See you soon.
I figured those words could help anyone who’s feeling a little lonely right now. They certainly helped me.
If you ever feel lonely or homesick, just remember what you’re doing. You are living, breathing, walking, traveling, seeing, experiencing, touching, learning, and immersing yourself in an entirely different place than what you were surrounded by for most of your life. Do you know how ballsy that is? I mean come on. This expat life is a sometimes scary ride, but an exhilarating one.
I came back from my trip over a month ago with 2,000+ photos of the cool city of Reykjavik, mountains, glaciers, caves, fissures, and about 43,039 different waterfalls.
The diverse landscape was the most stunning and naturally beautiful one I’ve ever seen. I mean….REALLY cool stuff happens over there – hot water shoots up from the earth, tectonic plates shift and create a huge (and beautiful) fissure, glacial ice melts into a lagoon you can swim in, just to name a few. All this within the backdrop of moody Autumn skies, and my picture-taking-loving heart was in heaven.
I can’t wait to share in detail about my adventures there, as well as share a few tips of places you MUST be sure to check out on your visit there AND ways to travel Iceland on a budget.
But until then, feast your eyes on my favorite pictures from the trip. Iceland is STUNNING, you guys.
I know, I know. To say I’ve been AWOL from this blog is a total understatement. NEVER have I gone this long without posting! That just goes to show how insanely busy my summer has been, and how much I have to share! Since getting my visa situation sorted in April, it’s been non-stop! From road trips and rural hikes to markets and music festivals, this summer has been a whirlwind of fun and great weather and I’m only been able to squeeze in a few posts. But the chilly weather is creeping up, which means fall is approaching and the long summer days will be coming to an end soon. SO. Back to business then, shall we?
One of my favorite summer activities was actually one that could be done at any time of the year. A road trip! THE RING OF KERRY to be specific. Ever heard of it? If you’ve been to Ireland or done any research on things to do, you probably have. Along with The Giant’s Causeway and The Dingle Peninsula, it’s one of the best and most well-known scenic routes in the country – a 179km circular route through the Iveragh Penninsula in County Kerry. And what I believe to be one of the most beautiful roads in the world.
Sure, I may be a bit biased with my love for Ireland. It’s a beautiful place with amazing scenery and stunning natural landscape, but there are many other countries that this can be said about as well. But one of the things I think makes Ireland unique is it’s charming people. And during my Ring of Kerry experience, the Irish charm once again made the experience truly memorable.
…OH, but so did the fact that in one day we drove past mountains, beaches, loughs (lakes), medieval ruins, and overall STUNNING views!
You should rent a car (and get over your fear of driving on the opposite side of the road – it’s not that bad!), pull over at as many photo-op spots as your heart desires, drive off the beaten path when you can, breathe in the fresh air, make pit stops at any chocolate factory you find, and enjoy the ride…
Tourists know it as “the” place to go out and have a wild night. Locals know it as the area over-saturated with tourists and overpriced drinks. Everyone knows it as the messy headquarters of drunkenness come nightfall.
But, Temple Bar is actually much more than what both locals and tourists give it credit for. Locals tend to stay away most of the time because of the bad rep the tourists have given it. And tourists mainly go at night and dirty up the streets with trash and bodily fluids during their drunken escapades. But, it’s so much more than what it becomes come nightfall.
Since no trip to Dublin is complete without a look into Temple Bar, 99.9% of all tourists in Dublin WILL end up in there, and WILL want to see what the hype is about and why all the guidebooks always say to visit. Some may find that it’s overcrowded, overhyped, and overpriced. And it is. But there’s a also a certain magic to Temple Bar. You just have to know when and where to look for it.
Has it really been a month since my last post? Geez, I actually suck. Sorry.
But I felt it was topical, being that the season finale of Game of Thrones aired here yesterday (I’m STILL in shock), to talk about the recent Game of Thrones tour I did here in Dublin!
There are TONS, and I mean TONS, of options for day tours from Dublin. Whether you want a quick tour of the local area or a 10-hour day tour going across the country, there’s something for everybody.
And there’s even something for Game of Thrones fans, with this great Game of Thrones tour leaving from and returning to central Dublin in the same day, bringing you on a long journey of different Game of Thrones sites in Northern Ireland.
Whether you’re a die-hard fan of the show or not, you’ll definitely enjoy the scenic views and sites on this tour!
Sometimes, you just need a little weekend getaway. Especially for those of us who have to be working adults, a quick little trip is a great way for us to still keep our wanderlust in check and see new places, but also not get fired from our jobs for taking too much time off.
I for one am always browsing airline sites to see about cheap flights and deals. From Ireland the quickest and cheapest flights, and the most frequent flights, are to the UK. So, after some browsing and researching, I decided to make a little “hit it and quit it” trip to Bath, England. It seemed small enough to explore in a few days, it was cheap and easy to get to, and it looked beautiful.
Well, turns out you can see the best of Bath in just 1 day, and here’s a guide to help you make sure you don’t miss anything!
HAPPY ONE YEAR ANNIVERSARY TO ME AND MY DEAREST DUBLIN!
I’ve officially hit the year mark since moving to the great place, and what an amazing year it’s been! However, this latest month of Irish life here has been a heck of a stressful one, both in good and bad ways.
Recently, we’ve been #blessed with fantastic, sunny weather in Dublin. Although Ireland isn’t known for having a warm, pleasant climate (because let’s be honest, IT DOESN’T), that doesn’t mean that it’s raining and miserable all of the time…only most of the time.
But really, although the cold and rain are not ideal and definitely gets old after a while, what I love about Dublin is how alive the city becomes on a beautiful, warm day. Especially on the weekends. Nothing is more miserable than being stuck inside at work on a gorgeous day, only for it to be raining all weekend. So if it’s a sunny Saturday or Sunday, you’re guaranteed to see the city buzzing. People flooded to the parks, the zoo, the canals, and of course the pubs with outside seating (it is Ireland, after all).
But you’ll also find that people will enjoy the sun, and get their exercise in, by enjoying one of Dublin’s many walking routes. There are some amazing landscapes just outside of Dublin’s city limits that provide great views on sunny days. But, there are also some amazing views to be seen right in the heart of the city itself!
From a light hike on a rugged coastal landscape, to a sunset walk along the canal, to a light morning stroll admiring 4-story Georgian houses….Dublin has amazing walks and walking paths to choose from that vary in every sense of the word…level of difficulty, length, type of views, etc. But one thing they have in common is that they are all PERFECT for a sunny, pleasant day!
It’s been a while since I’ve thrown together one of these little lists, but I’ve got Portugal so much on the brain lately so I figured now’s the time!
Lisbon was one of my favorite stops on my last Europe trip. It was the last stop, so after a month traveling through Europe I was exhausted. But, when I got to Lisbon I was immediately revitalized by the city’s vibrant culture and bright, sunny landscape.
After visiting Lisbon, I’ve come to realize that Portugal may just be one of Europe’s most underrated countries. It’s cheap, there’s so much to do, and it’s obviously beautiful.
Although I wasn’t in Lisbon for long, I managed to do some amazing things! So if you’re ever in Lisbon and have absolutely no idea where to begin, or if you only have a short time there and want to make the most of it, here are my recommendations of the Top 5 things to do in Lisbon!