“To dare is to lose one’s footing momentarily. Not to dare is to lose oneself.”- Soren Kierkegaard
Early Friday morning, I took a three hour bus ride to the Dublin Airport. I boarded the flight and my heart skipped a beat, realizing I was traveling to a large, foreign city completely alone. Although meeting up with a few close friends from college who are studying abroad in Italy, I only had myself to depend on in order to navigate my way through the confusing streets of Rome.
Upon arrival, I successfully hailed a taxi (heart still skipping as I struggled to read the airport taxi signs). I showed the taxi driver the address of the restaurant for fear of completely butchering its name. Heading toward the city, I quickly understood why Italians are known for their reckless driving. My stomach lurched at every quick stop and aggressive acceleration, as the taxi weaved into traffic with terrifying skill. Thirty minutes later, I paid the driver and received a terse ‘ciao!’ as I exited the taxi. Although exhausting, the trek to Rome was completely worth it. I was greeted by warm, familiar faces and a large Italian pizza.
The next day we sauntered along the sweltering streets and visited the Trevi fountain, the Pantheon, and several other impressive architectural buildings that dated back further than the 1500s. The enormity of the buildings and the intricate designs left me in complete awe. I also made sure to enjoy another carbo-loaded meal of pasta and delicious wine to wrap up the day.
Taking yet another treacherous taxi ride back to the airport on Sunday, I suddenly felt a change in how I viewed myself. A “comfortable” choice of weekend plans would’ve been to stay in Cork with the other students. Instead, I pushed myself out of my comfort zone and dared to take a chance on a new city. The reward for doing so surpassed my expectations. Not only did I spend time with my best friends, I gained a sense of accomplishment and self-reliance that I hadn’t known existed.
Nevertheless, I eagerly boarded my plane and craved the cool Irish air again. Is it possible to call a place ‘home’ when I’ve only lived here for less than two weeks? Well, after a few nights in a different European country, that’s just what Ireland became–home.