So this is what it's like to be an adult on vacation. I mean, surely I've had that experience before, but I think this is my first international trip where I am both on my own and it's all about me. Arguably, my last trip to Ireland was all about me (we were here for my conference and I did 90% of the planning), and having Mom around was great, but this is different. I don't know, maybe I just haven't been spending enough non-work-time with myself lately. I've commented before about the incredible luxury of making your own decisions, absent consultation with anyone else. Of course, the trade-off for that luxury is a fair bit of loneliness. And traveling always makes me a tad lonely - practically everywhere seems like a potential romantic destination, doesn't it? But I have to say, challenges of actually getting here aside, deciding to take these four days for myself is possibly the best idea I've had in ages.
After finally (finally!) getting to my hotel, I braced myself with two strong cups of coffee. One shower and change of clothes later and I was feeling human again, and what better reward than to step out into an unexpectedly beautiful, sunny afternoon! I am so pleased that the first thing I did on this trip was visit the Garden of Remembrance. Mom and I went here on our last visit, but arrived after the garden was technically closed, so we could only peak through the fence. And this time I was able to capture the beautiful sculpture pictured above - Children of Lir, by Oisin Kelly. Then a quick breeze through Dublin City Gallery, a nice walk along O'Connell and Quay streets, capped off with beef and guinness stew and my first (hopefully of many!) kilkenny in two years.
Wandering around it's sort of hard to believe both that I've only ever spent 10 days here, and that that was two years ago. I guess because I did pore so much time and effort into planning that last trip, Dublin feels very familiar and comfortable to me.
And, so far so good in terms of balancing effort and rest. The travel here really was rather challenging (re-routing flights, tracking down misplaced luggage, mad dash through Heathrow on a 45 minute layover, then forever in line at customs here in Ireland) and I haven't genuinely slept in far too long. But I feel good about the out-and-about-ness that I managed this afternoon - I enjoyed and appreciated it, and now I'm tired, and I'm going to spend the evening relaxing and sleeping and not feeling guilty about that. Huzzah vacation!