Adjusting to Life Abroad: Laura Murphy
Happy Sunday wanderers,
Laura here of Redhead American, a travel and lifestyle blog based in Dublin/Belfast which follows all my adventures around Ireland. I'm delighted to write this guest post for all of you wanderers about how I created my life abroad in Ireland after growing up in the same small town as Abigail. When I was eighteen I packed up two big suitcases and left Massachusetts, braving the big move across the pond to Dublin to go university. I have now been living in Ireland for nearly three years and am about to graduate (uni is only three years here in Ireland because there's no gen-ed classes) which is absolutely insane to consider. It has flown so unbelievably fast and I blame having a lot of fun and keeping my head in the books.
At eighteen I had no clue what I was doing but I knew for certain I wanted a new and challenging experience. I've always found a lot of comfort and passion in Ireland and it's culture, maybe because my parents are Irish. It was also an interest of mine to spend more than just vacation time in Ireland, to really experience where they were from to understand why they are the way they are. Now that I feel more connected with their roots I actually feel like I can relate with them over Irish news, politics, and other cultural aspects. I can honestly say I am extremely at home here in Ireland, who's people have welcomed me with open arms and are one of the best parts of the culture and country.
The Irish have taught me a million and one lessons. They're charming, wise cracking, hospitable, witty and overall, the best fun. This generalization can't speak for everyone. Honestly, some were downright dreadful, like anywhere, but you still gotta credit them for creating learning curves! In Ireland, these people are called 'snakes' (;
I'm often mistaken for a local here (looks are deceiving) because my big red hair curls and what now is the most mixed up accent in the world. Nope, just an Irish American girl who's parents moved to Boston and she did the opposite of them, moving to Ireland.
The way of life
People often ask what's the biggest difference between Ireland and the USA and it's honestly the fact that in Ireland you can walk up to any Irish person and say "what's the craic?" (what's going on?) and they'd chat away. It's a sense of community like no other which is quite heartwarming.
The country also offers a lot of adventures. There is a brilliant nightlife in Ireland. Yes, there is the cultural stereotype of excessive drinking which is unfortunate. However, its up to you if you want to party hardy or just adopt a healthy or more active lifestyle. Ireland has absolutely stunning scenery so there are plenty of places to visit, photograph, bike ride, eat etc. Whatever you could want, it's all there. Except maybe consistent sunshine. It rains a lot but you get used to it.
ALSO, there are plenty of vegan restaurants popping up all around! The vegan community is blossoming here at the moment, especially in the cities.
Of course there are really tough days when you just want the comforts of home and family. There were days throughout uni that were just blatantly awful and I called my mom and wanting to quit and go home. However, the good majorly outweighed the bad! I overcame a lot and am unbelievably happy I stayed because it was all really, really worthwhile and I'm excited for my future here! One big brave decision led to a very fun-filled, life changing experience that I'm extremely thankful for, and proud of myself for pursuing (:
If you are considering a big move, say yes and go. Figure out the small details as you go.
I'm currently in the process of moving from my university area outside of Dublin to Belfast located in Northern Ireland. I'm wicked excited about the move. Belfast is this fantastic small gentrified city at the moment and has a great laid back vibe. It's very quirky too which I love. Not labeling myself a hipster here or anything but it's the kind of interesting I think anyone could enjoy. If you like Game of Thrones, I have actually bumped into Kit Harrington on a night out there. I also met Little Finger in Dublin on the street but that's another city & story. I don't even watch GOT (I know, so undeserving of meeting them, sorry) but it's brought a LOT of tourism to the area so if that's your thing, plan a trip.
Top Irish Places to Go
1. Galway City, Ireland - Colorful big town with a lot of character set on Galway Bay. Amazing food, pubs and people.
2. Connemara, Galway & Aran Islands - For the real traditional rural Irish feel, I recommend Connemara. Definitely go to the Aran Islands if you want a deeper look at rural life! They're only a seven minute plane ride or hour and a half ferry from Connemara.
3. Belfast, NI - Like I've said. It's a class up and coming spot worth experiencing.
Those are my current favorites. I've seen the majority of the country at this stage and it never ceases to amaze me with it's beauty. If you visit Ireland, have an amazing time. If you need specific suggestions or have any questions, feel free to DM me on Instagram or leave a comment on the blog.
And if you move abroad and start somewhere new, congratulations, well done and have the time of your life! x
Check out The Redhead American for more travel & lifestyle posts.