Wow… How long has it been since I’ve done an international trip? How much longer since I’ve gone international solo?
Let’s see. The last international trip was to Scotland, right before the Pandemic hit. When I had that really bad flu… right before the Pandemic. With COVID. That presents sort of like a flu. That I’ve somehow avoided getting, as if I’d already gotten it and gained an immunity… Okay we’re not going down that road the last time I went abroad was January 2020. Three years and change.
The last time I went on a solo international trip? Well, that’d be New Zealand, back in 2012. 11 years.
It’s high time I explored.
I got accepted to Trinity College’s MBA program back in November, and accepted the offer that same month… though I delayed admission until 2024, to give me some time to finish up in Oregon and save up a bit more money. While talking to the admissions officer though, I learned about a Business forum put on by Trinity in March – a perfect opportunity for me to stretch my international adventure legs and see if Dublin would make a good home for a year or three!
I planned, I packed, and I set off on my first solo international trip in over 10 years…
(Please note that these are my raw notes from the trip. I’m proofreading them for obvious mistakes… but they’re still short-hand. Because life is busy, and blogs don’t need to be perfectly edited.)
I had a date today!
A while back, I’d moved my dating profile over to Dublin in an attempt to meet people and hear some stories and info from the locals. I was pretty clear about where I lived, and how long I’d be in town, and had some great chats with a few very interesting folks… though, interestingly, I didn’t end up chatting with too many native Irish. But I did chat with quite a few folks going to Trinity, one of whom was actually from Boston originally!
I’m getting ahead of myself – I started the day nice and early with breakfast at a bookshop.
It’s a nice bookshop, but not quite as homey as a used book store, and not nearly as extensive as Powell’s… Somethings, Oregon takes the cake with, no doubt. While not a record setting store, it was quite lovely and offered up an excellent breakfast, so I wasn’t complaining by any stretch of the imagination. I ate, read a bit, and did some shopping.
I wandered, made good use of the morning, and soon enough found myself meeting with with Katherine – a woman from Boston who’d been studying in Europe since ~2011! She’d started with her Masters in Vienna, and is almost done with her PhD here in Dublin, studying at the same College I’m looking at. We met up for seafood at an excellent restaurant literally 100yards from my apartment, where I got to try out my first serving of Fish and Chips!
They were delicious, if you were curious.
We chatted, she filled me in on a ton of neat little tidbits about both Dublin and Vienna, and then we headed onward to the Coast, via my first train ride in Ireland! First public transit! Heck yeah!
It was lovely, and definitely a good sign about whether I’d enjoy living in Ireland. Folks were polite, the gates were efficient, and buying a ticket barely took any time at all. There was even a guy proactively spreading salt, in preparation for a possible freeze over the next day or two.
That’s an interesting thing I’ve noticed, here in Dublin – There’s a lot of people working. Places are approximately equally priced to the States (food is a bit cheaper, actually), but there seems to be more staff at any location. The coffee shop I’m writing this in has four baristas, for example, whereas in the States there’d be one or two at most.
Katherine and I chatted as we walked, with her telling me interesting stories about moving around the world, and the varying pieces of knowledge that she’d picked up in Dublin while working on her dissertation. I shared insights about how life in the States has been going, and told her about some of the fun parts of my work in industry, giving her a sense into the corporate life that I lead in the States.
We sat by the water, spent some time chatting with a few cold-water swimmers, and made our way back to where she’d left her bike. Another good note about Dublin – I’ve seen TONS of bikes around! It’s definitely a bike-friendly city, no doubt.
After Katherine headed out, I wasn’t quite feeling ready to settle in for the evening yet… so I let my feet take the lead and wandered a bit. I found myself walking through Dublin Castle (still in use, it seems!), through a few gardens, and into the sunset. A stop at a grocery found my dinner, which I cooked up back at the apartment before turning in for the evening.