I don't know if it was jet lag or just lack of sleep in general but on my first morning waking up in Ireland, I was awake and out the door by 4am. This is very early back home let alone in a country that, unbeknownst to me, doesn't even begin to wake up until 7am (which I did not know at 4am).
As I walked downtown in the Dublin city center looking for a coffee shop, all the signs in the Windows said 'open 7am'.
This blew my mind.
How does a major city function for working people if the coffee shops don't open until 7am? The answer was simple of course, most working people don't start until 8:30 or 9am in Dublin. Lunch restaurants don't even start to serve lunch until 12:30 or 1pm.
This is a city built for the nightlife. Built for tourists by day (who sleep in) and bar hoppers by night (which is why tourists sleep in lol).
So I found myself walking around a dark, damp, mostly empty city. It was eerily beautiful.
I did, however, begin to wonder if I had made a mistake. Did I do the right thing by coming overseas alone ?
Could I handle being in a huge, unfamiliar city all alone when I couldn't even manage to find an open coffee shop?
Would I really be able to do this?
The answer, of course, was yes.
Yes, I could do this.
Yes, I had made the right decision.
Yes, I was strong enough and capable enough to do this 100% alone.
It was about 11am in Dublin when I made that realization. I had been walking around this beautiful city with all of its history for 7 hours. I had gotten lost twice (once on the tram and once on the bus). I had a nervous breakdown in an art gallery (I'll write about that later), I had even sat on a bench in a park and cried.
This was my view……
It was one hell of a first day.
However, by 11am I had found coffee, food and even a few cool places to people watch. I had laughed, cried and panicked (or maybe I had just been so emotionally overwhelmed that I couldn't see past my ego and self-doubt).
By 11am, I had come to the realization that I was going to be okay. I could handle this solo travel thing. I could survive whatever Ireland was going to throw at me. I had found my "solo traveling wings"
There is no feeling quite like being in a foreign country 100% alone and realizing that no matter what happens you can handle it. You can survive it and come out a stronger, better person on the other side.
You made me a better, stronger person in more ways than one.