Today in Ireland, we took the time to visit a small, local fishing town called Howth. To get there, we hopped on a train for about a 45 minute commute. While in Howth, I was considering coming back again another time before my time in Ireland is up. This made me wonder if I could navigate the area/train system myself as well as some other things.
The first question I had to answer was whether or not I could make my way to Howth on my own. Personally, I think it would be decently easy for me to make the trip solo. Basically, you get on the train at one end and ride it to the other end. This makes it a lot easier of a commute since you don’t have to worry about getting off mid-train route.
To know where to go within Dublin and Howth, I would use Google Maps as well as an actual map. Google Maps is by far the easiest and most convenient choice, but I also always like to have a map on hand in case I lose signal or my phone dies. I also often find myself looking to others to see what they are doing and then follow their lead. However, first you have to make sure you are both going to the same place.
Going back to things such as losing signal or a phone dying, there are other concerns you must consider when traveling in an unknown area. For one, Google Maps doesn’t tell you the bad parts of a town. Every city has places to avoid, so going into the area and not knowing these locations can end badly. To avoid this, I travel in well-lit, high population areas. Also, I make sure to pay attention to visual clues about the safety of an area.
The most important lesson I have learned about traveling while studying abroad so far is to be prepared for a bad scenario, and have back up plans ready as well as to be willing to adapt. An example of this would be a 3-day long layover in an unfamiliar city. I was fairly prepared for this event considering I brought all of my valuables and a change of clothes on my carry on so I had that with me during our delay, but there could have been more to prepare. For example, I could have brought additional things in my carry on, such as a tooth brush and toothpaste. Another lesson that I have learned would be to appreciate the smaller things. Obviously, no one wanted to have a 3 day layover, but, all things considered, it was a fun time and we made the most of it. These are things that can only truly be learned through experience.
As far as future travel, I have never been one to get nervous about stepping outside of my comfort zone, so traveling somewhere new doesn’t act as a deterrent to me. All I need to do is implement the lessons I have listed above as I continue to travel more and more in life.