Hello! Today was a free day full of exploring and unexpected adventures!
First, we took the train to a harbor town of Howth. It reminded me so much of Boston near its harbor. It was a gorgeous little town and had completely different vibes than both Dublin and Galway (but Galway remains my favorite so far!). We got there by bus and by DART (Dublin Area Rapid Transit). Then after that, my buddies and I explored Dublin more without a strict itinerary; we just went with the flow. We ended up going to the Irish Museum of Modern Art, the mall, and just did some walking around the city. I wish we had more free days like this!
Today was different from all other days because it required a lot of traveling by bus and train. Getting to Howth was very much like taking the trains in NYC. It was extremely crowded with no seats and took around 30-45 minutes just to get from one location to another. Truthfully, if Liz and Chris (our advisors) were not with us, I think our group would have gotten very confused and lost about where we were going, as it was such a new place for all of us.
However, I definitely know I would have been able to get there by myself with a little effort and focus. All I would need is common sense, some good 4G or Wifi service, and my Google Maps. Trying to figure out the schedules and times might have been the only hard part of it.
Nowadays, its really not hard to get to new places, even in new countries and new cities because of the easy access to maps on our phones. But I can’t even imagine what traveling was like way back in the days with no smartphones and using actual maps!!
I actually often explore Pittsburgh completely by myself and I am getting very used to it. Only a year ago, I couldn’t figure out the bus system for the life of me. But now, I take it almost every other day to buy groceries, do yoga, or just get out of Oakland. I also travel in NYC a lot by the Metro system when I visit my cousin. Manhattan is a whole entire monster to get used to, but I always have so much fun. Of course, random bad events sometimes happen like pouring rain while waiting for bus stops or my phone being out of battery (yes, this both has happened to me!) but it all works out in the end. If anything, these problems teach you about problem solving and adaptability! In the end, I think the best stories and trips come from unexpected situations.
From today, the top lesson is to SLEEP before day trips like this. I feel like I wasted an amazing opportunity to explore Howth and Dublin fully today because I was moody and so tired. Exploring new places takes up a lot of energy, and you need to prepare for that. Also, a lesson learned is to always prepare for the unexpected. Download Google Maps directions in case your 4G does not work. Bring a portable charger. Bring wet wipes in case of messy accidents. It is always better to be prepared for the unexpected instead of assuming things will go smoothly.
Best part of today: we met two Yinzers in Ireland! We met someone from Pittsburgh that was working at the museum and on the train ride back from Howth. What a small world!