In four short days, I’ll be lugging a heavy suitcase through the Seattle-Tacoma airport, kissing it goodbye at the terminal, hoping I’ll see it again in Dublin, and then parking my sweet keister in economy for ten hours as another human being I’ve never met defies God and transports me across the world in a giant metal tube.
Every time I remember that soon enough I’ll be on my way to Ireland, soon enough I’ll be in Ireland, my heart seizes a little and I feel like I might puke.
I love this feeling. This is the feeling you get before you read your amateur poetry aloud for the first time, it is the feeling of jumping off a bridge into ice cold water, it is the feeling right before an unexpected but welcome smooch. Feeling like you might throw up is the entrance fee to a liminal space, and it’s a small price to pay for the rewards a new experience begets.
I haven’t traveled on my own since 2018, when I embarked on a trip at 19 years old that went quite literally around the world. I was fresh and green, missing a boyfriend back home terribly, and attempting to avenge my own esteem for myself after a botched 2017 trip to Costa Rica. I’m 23 now, experiencing the same nerves I did when my mother tearfully dropped me off at the airport back then, and I have to keep reminding myself that things will be much different this time. I’m so much cooler now! And smarter! And I have different hair! And I’ve acquired a taste for fear! Every time I’ve pursued an experience that makes me nervous, that pushes me to my appropriate edge, I’ve become smarter, stronger, and more resilient.
My mom always said when I was a kid that if you’re nervous, that means you care. I care so much about squeezing as much as possible out of this experience, which in the grand scheme of universal time is quite short. In my petition to the International Education Committee, where I begged them to let me apply to this program a month late, I promised “to embody this experience, to relish in the present, and to uphold the tenets of a conscious student, traveler, and human being”. This is my guiding principle as I prepare to depart next Tuesday.
I hear they have nap cabs at the Frankfurt airport. And touch of monkey-pox is spreading globally. See? I’m an anxious little creature. Covid has made my world so much smaller. All my paths are trodden into soft, compact dirt, formed by my feet as I have circled them over and over and over again in the past two years. This will be the first time I’ve bushwacked a new path in so long and my lizard brain says beware. Of course, it’s not nearly that epic, I just have a flair for the dramatic.
Is it interesting or infuriating to read someone who can’t settle on a direction? I’m playing pretty fast and loose with themes of anxiousness, excitement, tranquility, and paranoia. Sarah Marshall of the You're Wrong About podcast coined the phrase "hot girl apocalypse" and I think that applies here. I am confidentally collapsing and stumbling and entering an entirely new chapter of my life.
Don’t expect it to get any clearer. I’ll save that for the memoirs when I’m old and wise.
Setting: Dublin. Scene: Gaby in her hot girl apocalypse. Off we go!
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<p>Hi, I'm Gaby and I'm here to tell you all about my summer in Dublin! I'm a writer, artist, and full-blown human being who was born once and now is walking the cobblestoned streets of Dublin with an eye for all things tasty, beautiful, gross, and enlightening. Originally from Portland, Oregon, I'm part amphibious and am anticipating fitting right in to Ireland's cool and damp climate. I'm passionate about unfolding the most out of an experience as possible- come along with me as I make mistakes, learn, grow, and eat a shepherd's pie or two.</p>