St. Patrick’s Day.
On Saturday night, the bartenders poured $2 green beers in Pigskin while upbeat Celtic music serenaded college students returning from spring break.
In my mind, I’m already a dancing “Galway Girl” and admiring the ocean whitecaps far below me on the Cliffs of Moher. I’m quite Irish on my father’s side and I want to see Ireland so badly.
My friends and I were perched on bar stools waxing on about our road trip adventures of this past week in D.C. We missed the freedom and the idea of traveling away from the familiar. We yearned now for a road stretching like an infinite ribbon beyond the point where our eyes could grasp dotted lines.
Clutching a shot by the name of an “Irish Aspirin” my friend looked my way. “Where can we stay when we come visit you in Portland next summer?”
The question caught me for a moment. My friends were leaving our little college town this year after their final summer as college seniors. I have another year yet. The university will claim me for a 5th year.
“I have friends who will be renting in the city, and my grandparents might let me house-sit while they vacation in southern Oregon.”
Easy. A reunion of college friends already in the works.
Not a moment before I had considered flying away to Ireland to find love, adventure, and perhaps a chance to lose myself in the greenery with a smile permanently etched on my face.
Always planning an adventure. Nearly second nature.
My friends and I already know that we’ll reconvene in each of our respective home cities.
Dallas. Chicago. Portland.
The thought prompted an important conversation. In coming home, all we wanted to do was travel far away again. What was college in comparison to adventure? Why not pack up again? Honestly, what could stop us?
But coming home is essential. It’s a time to rest and recharge with our support network, and ground our thoughts in the existing roles we have in our everyday lives.
Without resuming reality, travel would cease to have the same spark of excitement. Exploration finds a balance with familiarity, and the comfort in sleeping in our own beds.
While we may want to travel again as soon as possible, the breaks in between adventures are key to helping us enjoy the present moment. It’s worth it for us to note where we are now before we look to the future with starry eyes. In wishing for a new adventure, we lose our mindfulness for the present.
So while I am in the process of purchasing plane tickets for my trips this year and daydreaming of future Ireland visits in the years to come, I am enjoying this time to stop and enjoy the life I lead right now. I am giving love and attention to all aspects of my life. I am connecting with friends, sending love to family members, and feeling gratitude for the job that I have right now. I have unpacked my suitcase so that I can pack for the next trip feeling rejuvenated and prepared, with every fiber of my being.