In my youth, daydreams of travel were part of the norm. My blood was filled with the desire to explore and move and it was ever-present from my earliest years. I had great grandparents who left their native Sicily for America, grandfather’s who traveled with the military, and a father who drove a tractor-trailer all over America only to return with odds and ends from the different states he visited. I wanted that, to see different lands and explore my home.
Despite little spending money, my family did travel as much as they financially could. We drove to Florida twice, we drove to Minnesota for a wedding, we would go on day trips that would turn into weekends away as we explored our own state of New York.
In my mid-twenties I got my first salaried job and suddenly had some spending money, so I began booking trips. New Orleans. Boston. Tampa. San Francisco. I wanted to see different states, visit family and friends, and see what our country had to offer and how it differed from place to place.
But leaving America was something I didn’t quite obtain. It was a dream, to travel abroad, and one I had nurtured since I was a small child. I often played the Chronicles of Narnia and would burst out of my closet only to pretend I was in different countries, rather than Narnia itself. I was fascinated with Irish customs and focused much of my educational career on British literature.
When I met my now-husband, he only traveled outside of the U.S. once, to Japan, when he was a teen. I found this fascinating–I couldn’t fathom going to another country so different from ours without any inkling of how to speak the language. But I still dreamt of traveling to Europe, to Sicily, despite that the only Italian I learned from my family was curse words.
Upon our engagement, there were a number of decisions to make as there are for any soon to be wed couple but one decision came easily: we would honeymoon overseas. We narrowed it down to Scotland and England. Once we were married, I sat down to plan our trip a number of months later. The idea was to go to the United Kingdom in May and June–the least rainy periods of the year–but we ended up throwing Ireland into the mix as we found flight deals that could not be ignored.
So it was set. We would go overseas. We would see lands that our ancestors had once lived on. Our fraternal family members both hailed from the lands, they were literally our fatherlands, and now we had the opportunity to view these places and wonder about those ancestors who left.
In upcoming blog posts, I hope to write in detail all the experiences we had in our time in Scotland, England and finally, Ireland.