This might be the first travel blog you’ve stumbled upon, or maybe I’m part of a long list of other travelers you follow.
Either way, you’ve seen all the photos and read all the stories of the magic of seeing different parts of the world.
These posts only highlight about 5% of the whole traveling experience. You never see the painfully long lines waiting to go through security in the airport, the struggle of figuring out what your foreign waiter is asking, or the soaked sneakers after a very wet walking tour.
Of course you’re not going to see these because who cares? You think I want to hear about how you kept falling asleep on your bus tour because of jet lag? Do you think reading about how I couldn’t understand what others were saying to me sometimes because of their accents is interesting?
Wait, you are interested? Well, to be blunt, I’m not.
Everyone always wants to hear about how crazy the parties were in Ibiza, how gnarly the surf was in Australia, or how good the food was in Italy.
I’m here to tell you that while I did post a lot about my travels, there was a lot of work (that wasn’t always exciting) to get to write about such awesome experiences.
I have two little stories that show the traveling life can’t always be made better with an Instagram filter.
The first one comes from the beginning of my study abroad days. I had just boarded my flight from Newark to Dublin in September of 2017 and my nerves were at an all time high. As we took off I was saying my Hail Mary’s and thinking about all the plans I had in store for my time at Maynooth University.
About two hours into my six-hour flight, I heard a little bit of commotion from the man sitting directly behind me. I didn’t pay much attention to it until one of the flight attendants started to walk over. Being my nosy self, I took my headphones off and tried to listen in on what was going on. That’s when I learned the guy had vomited all over himself.
The man had puked.
THE MAN SITTING DIRECTLY BEHIND ME.
HE PUKED ALL OVER HIS SEAT.
THE SEAT THAT WAS BEHIND ME!
HAVE YOU REGISTERED THE PANIC I HAD THAT IMMEDIATELY SET IN AFTER LEARNING THIS.
This flight was supposed to be an emotional and powerful trip, symbolizing me being a world traveler or whatever else I thought it meant. This man behind me had decided to throw a pretty gross wrench in those dreams by losing his dinner all over the back of my seat.
So now you know the story of my first flight to Dublin, Ireland.
On to story number two, fast forward to May of 2018 where I’m once again boarding a flight from Newark to Dublin. This short trip (which I know I said I was going to write about, I promise it’s in the works) was to see my friends and revisit my new favorite place.
I walk down the aisle looking for my window seat and see two women in my row. One I would say is middle-aged and the other, well, looks like she’s going to be knocking on Heaven’s door shortly.
Either way, it took a while for me to finally get in my seat. This mother – daughter pair worked together to get the mother up and out so I could buckle up for a very long plane ride.
God must have been testing me this time across the Atlantic. The 100-year-old mother sat right next to me and fell asleep on my shoulder multiple times. More. than. once.
Anyone that knows me personally knows how important my personal space is, so this woman deciding my shoulder was her new pillow was not welcomed in seat 32L.
Now picture the frustration building inside of me as we journey across the ocean and this dinosaur keeps poking and prodding me. You might be thinking, does it make it all worth it?
When we finally broke through the clouds and saw Ireland peeking out in the distance, I was taken aback. My window gave me a front row seat to one of the most beautiful sunrises I’ve ever seen. (To be honest, it’s a short list. My parents know that I am not a morning person.)
I was able to capture it in an iPhone picture and it’s one of my favorite picture to date.
To make a long post short, yeah, traveling can suck. But there are so many moments that overpower any parts of the day that can be less than great.
I guess it all relates to perspective. If I chose to let those people or moments affect how I viewed my trips, I wouldn’t think too highly of them. They might just be another day in the life.
I choose to see the beauty when traveling the world. That’s what this blog and social media highlight. Those moments that shine out among the dull ones. The amazing views, the amazing people, and so on and so forth.
I love to focus on the small bits adding up to an overall great experience. From the sunrises, sunsets, amazing views, great food, great people, the positives all point to making a great trip. You just have to recognize there is a lot of hard work that goes into planning these trips.
So if you’re reading this and you’re planning on international travel or your own study abroad experience, remember to keep a great mindset. The people you meet, places you go, all of them make for great stories!