It took a return to my first ever backpacking experience to dust off the cobwebs on this blog.
I make no excuses, ive been consumed by this concrete jungle of London and its quietly closed down my capacity to express my love and excitement for travel. However no matter the mundane existence of scrapping pennies together in one of the worlds most expensive cities, my love for travel will never be extinguished.
This has been the longest time I have ever been in one place and not traveled. A reflection of my absence of blog entries....
It was somewhat a coincidence that I arrived in Ireland, 9 years to the week that I left the Emerald Isle on my first ever sustained trip abroad. It was my virgin backpacking experience. One that has shaped my life. It sounds cheesy, but, it "changed my life". I am today the man that I am because of that first trip overseas.
Against the will of my friends, colleagues, univeristy professors, parents and everyone else that had their 5cents worth, i set off on a year long trip. A one-way ticket to the other side of the world, with a year to travel wherever the wind would take me.
I was the only person I listened to, I knew i needed to go. I felt like I didnt understand myself. I felt like I had to truly test myself and the only way to do that was in a foreign environment. Life was passing me by at the age of 20 and I felt like i wasnt holding on with a real sense of purpose.
I still remember entering Ireland ten years ago. I was one of the first off the ferry during the famous foot and mouth disease outbreak. Cameras and flashes greeted me as I stepped down onto Irish soil. It was a rock stars enterance and I wondered who had tipped them off? Here I was returning to the land of my ancestors, the prodigal son with two generations of life in his backpack and a desire to put the 1848 potato famine to rest with a scoop of deep fried irish potato chups.
It was a year that shaped my life. I was out on my own for the first time in my life. Truly on my own. I had to make friends, create a life, choose paths to walk and deal with the consequences. It was a year i will never forget.
Walking down the streets of the bohemian/university town of Galway I felt waves of nostalgia wash over me.
Maybe it was a combination of the waves of Guinness washing down me but as I stopped by pubs where i used to work and sat down and watched life pass before me, I felt proud. Proud in the sense that I took those inital steps to travel away by myself in the middle of studying for a law degree. I listened to myself, and here i was 9 years later, loving that reaquaintance with myself.
I have never regretted a single moment of travel. In fact, quite the opposite.
Traveling to places where i've traveled before and where the memories are particularly special are one of the most fulfilling aspects of life for me as I get older.
Ive hit the big 30 last week. This is no closure on my travel experiences. As Ireland showed, maybe its time to reacquaint myself with some old travel experiences.....