My Irish Adventure continued to the Cliffs of Moher and the Aran Islands. These two destinations were overcast with insane hurricane winds and rain, however, the elements did not stop me from enjoying the wonder of these two locations. Last week I touched on the various gifts I received from the Irish, and I mentioned that laughter and looking for the positive when you encounter difficult situations. Of course, this is easier said than done. It can be hard at times. Sometimes putting aspects of your life into autopilot is extremely attractive than trying to be intentional about your adventurous emotions.
The Cliffs of Moher was the first test of this lifestyle choice. As we pulled up into the car park, we were urged to be extremely careful and to go into the visitor center rather than go straight to the cliffs. I didn’t think anything of it and decided to go ahead and have some lunch before venturing out. Shortly after sitting down with Ashley to enjoy our meal, the rest of our tour group started coming in and saying “it’s not that big of a deal,” “you really can’t see anything,” and you’re better off just getting a postcard.” I thought to myself “Is it really worth it?” A lot of the times we find ourselves in situations where we reach a fork in the road. We can decide to stay comfortable and not take any risk or we can decide to take a leap of faith to see what you’re made of. In this moment, I had two options; I could’ve stayed inside of the visitor center all nice and toasty and enjoyed the cliffs from afar and settle on this limited view or I could step out of my comfort zone and journey into the rain and experience what was out there. I chose the latter! I didn’t know if and when I would come back to this country and even if it wasn’t “worth it” I was going to decide it on my terms.
This was definitely one of the best decisions I could’ve made! The cliffs were absolutely breathtaking. With their veil of mist, a level of mystery and intrigue were given to the landscape. Their beauty was accompanied by insane gusts of winds that filled Ashley and me with so much joy and laughter. As we were walking up to the viewpoints of the Cliffs of Moher we would get pushed backwards and to the side by these insane winds. Definitely an unforgettable experience.
The Aran Islands were another test to my adventuring side of deciding if it was worth it or not. The magical feel of these islands was indescribable. Our journey to get to the Aran Islands was less than smooth. In order to get to the islands, we took a ferry across the Galway Bay. As the waves crashed the ferry would rise and drop, and it genuinely felt like I was on a plane going through really intense turbulence. Stepping off the ferry I realized this was going to be another full day of freezing temperatures and rainy weather, but came with the most authentic Irish experience. These islands are inhabited by about 1,200 people and the only way to get here is through a ferry. Tourism is a huge part of their economy and the ferry is an important element that drives it. What attracts so many people to visit these islands is how the people live here. The islands offer an inside look of what it would’ve felt to live in Ireland during the medieval times. We ventured through the Inishmore Island to the fort Dún Aengus. This hill fort sits on the edge of the cliffs overlooking the water at 320 feet. On the journey to the fort Dún Aengus, the landscapes would change from luscious greenery to wet gray limestone.
The question “Is it really worth it?” was asked again to check out the edge of this cliff and see the ocean. At first, I was all in my head about slipping on the limestone and BAM there goes my life down the cliffs in Ireland. I then realized and reminded myself “when will you do this again Gen?!” I carefully began my walk to the edge, with help of course. And just like that, I did it! The experience was absolutely incredible and I was able to capture a little more of my soul overlooking this amazing great big world we live in.
I was told once that success lies right outside of our comfort zones. The constant battle between settling and going for it is extremely real for me. I have never been disappointed when I venture outside of my comfort zone. The reason is simple. I take pride in knowing that I’ve done something that the old me wouldn’t have done. I hope you surprise your old self and do something that will pleasantly surprise you and make you say “Yes, it was worth it!”