If you need to know one thing about me, it’s this: I was born in the wrong country. My entire life growing up in the U.S., I never felt like I belonged. It is a feeling I have a hard time explaining. I’ve been fascinated with world travel since I can remember, but didn’t leave the country until age 22. During my last year in university, I made the decision that I was going to spend the summer after graduation backpacking around Europe. This never happened because I couldn’t find anyone to go with me and my parents didn’t like the idea of me traveling abroad alone. It was late March and I was graduating in early May when I realized this Euro trip would not be happening. I decided I was not going to let anything stop me. I started Googling ways to get a leisurely job in Ireland and came across a fairly new working holiday visa. “Great”, I thought to myself. I knew this was exactly what I was going to apply for. I stumbled across an au pair website and knew I was qualified to be an au pair. My mother did child care in my home for over twelve years and I literally grew up taking care of young children. I was feeding infants and helping change diapers at the age of four. I signed up for a membership on the website and started searching for a host family in Ireland in early April. Three weeks later, I found my host family and committed to being their au pair and I was to start in early September. I signed a contract where I would stay a minimum of six months and a maximum of twelve months. I committed without even thinking – I knew this was exactly what I needed and wanted to do.
Why Ireland? This is another thing I have a very tough time explaining. Since I was a very young girl, I have always had a major fascination with Ireland. I always wanted to travel elsewhere, too, but Ireland was always my number one destination. I knew I couldn’t go anywhere else abroad without going to Ireland first. I had a gut feeling I would fall head over heels in love with this mysterious, green country.
In 2010, I created a couchsurfing profile with the username “findingherplace” and shortly after, created a private blog titled the same. Many people wondered why that was my username and this was simple for me to explain. I knew in my heart that I did not, never did and probably never will belong in the country I was born in, and I was setting out to find the place that I do belong on my first trip abroad. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever imagine it would be in the very first foreign country I ever visited.
I mean, come on, I’ve heard stories of other people similar to myself – people who didn’t feel like they belonged in their home country and they either never found “home” or it took them a very long time to find “home”. Leave it to shy, timid, never-been-on-a-plane-alone me to figure it out right away.
I often get this from strangers and friends alike: “You know, the grass is always greener on the other side…” as in, Ireland is only so great because you can’t live there and blah, blah. No, that’s truly not my situation. How do I know? 1) I know it for an absolute fact in my heart. 2) I knew it every single second I was living in Ireland. 3) I knew it on my return trip to Ireland when I visited for three weeks, one year and three months after moving back to Florida. Everyone told me “It won’t be as amazing as it was when you lived there – it never is.” It’s true that it was different, but it was just as amazing. I took that trip as a test to see if Ireland was truly my place. 4) I knew it when I traveled around Europe. I was in Italy and Greece for 2 ½ weeks having the absolute most amazing holiday of my entire life, yet I could not wait to get back to Ireland. 5) I’ve known it every second of every single day since I had my heart set on going to Ireland. I left Ireland 2 ½ years ago and I have never had any doubt that I am indeed meant to settle there. Clearly, the grass may be greener on the other side, except where the grass is actually greenest.
So… since I found my place, why is “Finding Her Place” still the title of my blog? Quite simply, because I like the title and always imagined if I had a blog or wrote a book (still hoping to!), it would be the title. Welcome to my adventure blog, where I plan to blog about everything from travel to food to daily adventures and my journey moving back to Ireland later this year.