Recently, I took a trip to Ireland with two close friends. We were given strict instructions by one of our mothers to “find ourselves” out there. While I was in the thick of the trip, navigating our way around the country- or letting Jessica do so…it didn’t seem as though we found ourselves. In hindsight, almost two months later…we found much more than that.
As a single mother who shares custody, I have more freedom to travel than other moms… Over the summer of 2019 I traveled a ton. I went to Seattle and Canada (for the first time) with my mom. We also did some time at the beach as a family. It wasn’t until two of my closest friends found themselves needing to travel, however, that we decided to “jump the pond.” It was difficult being away from my kids that long, but it was transcending.
Jessica was in an interesting spot in her life and she’s one of the most supportive friends I’ve ever had. She was bouncing around the idea of a road trip while her kids were on vacation. My wheels started turning about mid-summer and I said, “Let’s jump the pond and drink Guinness in Ireland!” Within a week we had purchased plane tickets, filled a new board on Pinterest, and created an Airbnb account.
We bought some converters and promised to only travel with a carry-on. We brought clothes for all seasons but had no reason to bring shorts or flip flops. We landed and breathed in. Deep breaths. Serenity. Drinks. Cocktails with egg whites. Handsome bartenders with cute accents. Green everywhere. Cars on the wrong side of the road. We never quite figured that out, and thank God I was able to talk her out of renting a car.
We spent a night in Dublin and then took a bus to Gallway. Gallway is the most charming little town. I highly recommend. We made friends quickly and received great tips on where to go from there… Our final night was also in Dublin. We skipped Cork because I screwed up on a tour date to the Cliffs of Mohar. We saw the cliffs, and breathed some more. The most compelling idea I found there were the Guarda, or Irish Police. They don’t carry guns, and you don’t see many of them.
When we returned, we felt good! We had received that time away and that new, fun experience. What I’ve gained from that trip since then is the reward I wasn’t anticipating.
I came back a better mother. I came back ready to fall in love again, finally. I didn’t go on one date or really talk to any men all summer. It was a cleanse. My head was cleared of bad dating experiences that were holding me back from finding someone special. I was also ready to return to work for a new year with new challenges. My school year has faced numerous challenges. The calm I found on my trip has prepared me for them. The experience your body has when it’s taken out of its comfort zone and placed in a whole new environment is confounding. It’s different than the beach or a beautiful resort. It’s real, and a new kind of real.
Go find your new real. Take the trip. Leave the kids with your parents. They need that time too. I owe my ex for forcing me to get out of my comfort zone in terms of leaving my children for longer than a weekend. My children missed me and embraced me when I returned. I have also been forced to create a life outside of being a mother because my boys are with dad every other weekend…all weekend. I’ve finally found peace with this and taken the bull by the horns. Take the trip.