In loving memory of my beautiful friend Amanda Jean Malloy (1979- 2008)
Ireland is a magical place. The friendliest people live there and you have a huge smile on your face from start to finish while you are present in this beautiful country. I had the opportunity to visit Dublin, Galway, Killarney, Kilkenny, Blarney, Cork, and Kildare. It is almost like you are living in a postcard as you trek around the emerald isle. It is full of stunning views and you find yourself taking pictures of everything and when people ask you, "what is that?" you laugh when you reply, "a house on the side of a road." People often use the term. “Luck of the Irish,” and now that term has a deeper meaning for me having spent time in Ireland. It is beautiful, majestic and some views are like something out of a movie and you wonder am I really seeing this? I travel often and never had a strong desire to visit Ireland and upon my return it is a place I keep thinking about and find myself talking about often. I have nothing against the country or its people, but my desire not to go was more of a personal choice. My best friend Amanda loved Ireland and everything about its culture and history. She visited the emerald isle a few times and we always talked about seeing it together one day. Unfortunately she was taken from me too soon and I never got that opportunity. It took a long time for me to be comfortable going to Ireland and now I feel honored that I did. I believe my beautiful friend watches over me from heaven and is always by my side. I know this to be true for numerous spiritual encounters and the appearance of butterflies. My closeness to her was no different in Ireland. I felt her presence everywhere I went and could hear her singing Irish songs to me and her happy and contagious laugh many times. My favorite and most special day in Ireland was when I visited the Cliffs of Moher. I walked in so many places Amanda had been before me on this trip, but this site at the Cliffs of Moher made me feel her the most. I brought a picture of her with me from when she visited the sight. I stood in the exact places she did and knew this time she was with me along that same path. Life is a gift and should be treated as such. There is not a day that goes by that I do not wish for my friend to be here with me, but I find peace knowing she is in a better place and still a part of my life in a different way.
“…by far the most remarkable feature in the natural history of this archipelago…is that the different islands to a considerable extent are inhabited by a different set of beings…I never dreamed that islands, about fifty or sixty miles apart, and most of them in sight of each other, formed of precisely the same rocks, placed under a quite similar climate, rising to a nearly equal height, would have been differently tenanted.”
Some might argue if you make your life's mission to go to various places and territories that are obscure and distinct that you might be trying to escape reality, but I feel more like it allows me to know the world better. I feel strongly that if you want to know about the world then you must get out and see it. Just like people study a variety of sciences I feel that I engage in the study of wanderlust through my many travels. Ecuador is a remarkably beautiful country. I love the Andean culture. Quito was a lot of fun and Otavalo was stunning. The Galapagos islands are a part of Ecuador. They are an archipelago that sit along the equator approximately 600 miles west of the mainland and Galapagos means tortoise in Spanish. I had the opportunity to visit three different islands- Santa Cruz, Isabela Island and San Cristobal. Everyday was a new island and it brought with it a new exploration, adventure and learning experience. Each island is diverse and fascinating. It is like the coolest playground full of exotic wildlife. Five must- see Galapagos animals are the blue footed booby, marine iguanas, sea lions, giant tortoises and penguins.
I am a high school Social Studies teacher and have been teaching since 2002. My passion in life is to teach, travel and be happy. I feel that I am married to the world and my passport is my baby. Education is essential in life, but there is an abundance of knowledge that is unattainable in a classroom and some that you can only receive from experiencing the world around you. I believe the more you wander the more you wonder. Everytime I have been to another country I come back home a slightly different and better version of myself. I feel that when I travel I come alive. I gain a greater understanding of the culture and history I am involved with during my travels that builds a deeper appreciation in my heart for what I have and where I live.