FINALLY. I know. I really do know. This has taken way too long for me to get up. It's been a year. Good grief! But it's here now. For your visual enjoyment: The video footage from all of Summer 2014! From living in Ireland to then traveling around Europe with my best friend for a few weeks after.
If you want to see the video footage from Greece, go ahead and hop over to that post and scroll to the bottom. If you want to see all of the pictures from the summer, go back to last summer in my travel posts and you'll find each and every city I visited there. There are LOTS.
If you've already seen all of the pictures and you just want to get to the videos for goodness sake, here ya go:
Now, before I end this blog post, I do want to add a little rambling note. A few reflections, if you will. Last summer was the first time that I had been able to travel abroad. I had been to Canada a few years before with Alec (who was on this trip with me), but it was for one day. Literally in and out and back in bed in Washington by 1 am. I had never had a passport. Which let me tell you, costs a bit when you do finally get one! I had grown up on my phone for GPS. And I didn't speak any other languages fluently. It'd been 4 years since I'd even been in a french class, and I was always better at reading and writing than speaking and listening.
So doing all of this was a huge leap of faith. Originally, the plan was to do my two months in Ireland and then meet my family in Greece after. I'd asked Alec if he wanted to come over and meet me in Ireland or Scotland for a weekend, since it was something he'd been interested in for a long time. We were discussing how it's really not worth the price to come over for such a short amount of time. So without much thought, I suggested that we just throw caution to the wind and travel around Europe for a couple weeks once I was finished with work and school in Dublin.
It was as easy as that. No plans were really made until just before Alec came over, and even then, we never knew where we'd be sleeping in a few days' time until we finally booked the last-minute hostels. A co-worker and co-intern from Dublin, Xin Yun, tagged along with us so that she wasn't traveling alone (I shudder at the thought). During those two weeks, we hardly slept. Sleep was for buses and trains. Although there were times when I wish I wasn't so tired so I could enjoy the scenery between towns, I am a human who requires sleep. And a lot of it.
Another thing that we did not get a lot of time for: alone time. We were always sharing a room, sometimes two of us (or all three) would have to share a bed. When we were out during the days, there were tons of people in the cities and on public transportation. So there was really no time where we got some breathing room. And not much downtime. I remember the only TV we watched was at the beginning of the trip in Glasgow, and it was for a few minutes before we went back out. But we were all surprised at how nice it was just to have some background noise. Nice was our "downtime". We set aside a whole day to do nothing but lay out in the sun and swim in the sea. And it was GLORIOUS. I think we all really needed it. Rather than constantly walking around trying to see as much as possible in very little time. We even pulled up Netflix on my computer one night in Nice. The relaxing was perfection, and made it the most memorable city for me.
I went from being with two people at all times of the day and night to all of a sudden being by myself, but surrounded by people I was getting to know in Greece. It was a very odd feeling, which I discuss in the blog post about my stay. On one hand, I was always surrounded by people. On the other, I felt really alone and isolated, since I didn't know ANY of the language. And at the same time as all of that, I think I was starting to feel really drained by not having and personal time to myself. I am 100% an introvert. This doesn't mean that I didn't enjoy my summer. Oh boy, did I enjoy it. But I just felt like I was running on fumes, and I really needed to recharge without people around.
When I got back to America, my trip wasn't quite done. I still spent another couple weeks in Utah and California, and then a little time visiting my family before I went home. By the time I had only gotten to Utah, I was starting to feel myself start to drag. I knew I needed to make the most of my time and see as much of my friends and family as I could, but all I wanted was to curl up and sleep and be by myself. It wasn't that I was sad or depressed. I just needed that time to recharge. I think in the end it took me several months before I started to feel like myself again. I took as much time as I needed and didn't force myself to go out if I didn't feel like it.
Would I do it again, knowing how icky I felt after? In a heartbeat. I absolutely loved it, and it's different than my typical day-to-day. But at the end of the day, I love my introverted self, and I will always enjoy my alone time to sit around and feel completely like me.