When I heard what the topic was for this month’s travel link-up – hosted by Silverspoon London, Two Feet One World, Andrea’s Passions, and Adventures of a London Kiwi – was your greatest adventure, I kind of scratched my head at that one. You see, it’s safe to say we are generally safe travelers. In that I mean we don’t go off on what you’d typically consider a grand adventure. The places we go? Pretty much where everyone else wants to go as well. Paris. London. Hawaii. And with the exception of a few flights canceled or delayed, we haven’t really had any major snafus during these travels which have led to harrowing tales of derring-do. Not like Alan’s former co-worker whose family was in Thailand during the tsunami and spent days hiking up the mountain with others fleeing the wreckage. Or our friend who spent months traveling the world and then landed in Nepal to teach English. Or a woman I know who was in Thailand on New Year’s Eve and found herself in the midst of a military coup, having to tend to her husband’s injuries when a homemade bomb went off near them. The closest thing to adventure travel we’ve experienced was two weeks aboard an expedition boat cruising through the bays and fjords of Alaska, and even that was pretty luxurious given we were fed enormous, delicious meals three times a day and had a lovely bed to sleep on (although showering in the same space as your toilet can be quite an adventure, trust me.)
But then it occurred to me that right now, at this moment, we are living probably the grandest adventure ever as expats in Ireland.
Almost two years ago, Alan went to a colleague who’d been with the company for many years and asked what he thought of the possibility of working in the Dublin office. We’d only ever dreamed of someday living abroad but never really thought we could actually make it happen. After looking into emigrating to Canada when I fell in love with the idea of living in Tofino and running a b&b, it looked like moving internationally would be too difficult an endeavor given our complete Americanness. So when his boss said it shouldn’t be a problem, we were thrilled, excited, and trepidatious. We knew this was something we wanted, but we didn’t have any clue how it would actually impact our lives. So we spent the next year planning and prepping, all while the reporting structure of his group changed and morphed into something entirely different than when the idea was first proposed. He talked with his new boss(es), immigration lawyers, and relocation agents. It was a long, drawn out process and while much of it was frustrating for one reason or another, in the end all that stress led us to where we are today.
We’re often asked how the assignment came to be, and the truth of the matter is his company does a really great job of rewarding high performers by offering them the opportunity to work on exciting projects and expand their horizons. Because the Dublin office had never had an architect level engineer before, sending Alan was a win/win opportunity for both the company and for us.
Because we’re only here on a two year visa, we are doing our damnedest to take advantage of everything Dublin – and Ireland as a whole – has to offer. Whether it’s hiking the hills of Dublin with his co-workers, or taking a fiddle class once a week, Alan’s embracing the local culture – both professionally and personally. And me? Well, I’ve gone from being a sports-hating snob to fully accepting that yes, I adore rugby; I’m hoping to take an extension course or two at Trinity in the fall (should the ones I had my eye on last autumn be offered again); and, our time here is really working its way into my writing. We’ve joined the Irish Whiskey Society and have taken trips to Waterford and County Kerry. As soon as the weather turns, you can bet we’ll be exploring even more.
So yeah, we might not be the type of people who backpack through the Alps, or sail ourselves through the Mediterranean, but damn … being an expat? That’s the best kind of adventure there is.
What is your greatest adventure – past, present or future?
Perhaps it could be moving to other side of world, visiting a dream destination, jumping out of a plane, or learning how to navigate a new culture.
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