Homeless in Dublin?

Yep, you read that right. As I write this, I just culminated 4 months of homelessness in Dublin, Ireland.

“Wait Isis, are you saying you were sleeping on the streets for 4 months?”

Not exactly. Let’s start from the beginning.

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When I first moved to Dublin, I was well aware of the infamous housing crisis. I had read so many blog posts and watched so many YouTube videos about living in this city that I knew I was going to be in for a tough ride when it came to accommodation.

Heres the thing: I’m quite the over confident traveller (stubborn would be a better word). I assumed that because I had a relatively easy time finding a place to live in Melbourne (which is also notoriously difficult with apartment hunting) that with a little extra hard work and dedication to viewing apartments every day for 2 weeks, I would find something in no time.

Here’s the kicker: I did. I found a shared room close to the city and within my price range in exactly 2 weeks. But one thing led to another and it just ended up no longer being home.

So here’s the first thing I’m proud of in this story: I knew something was not for me so I let it go. Was it scary making such a last minute decision with nowhere to go? Absolutely. But I left home to have the adventure of a lifetime. I want to be happy and enjoy the ride, and not settle for anything below my expectations.

I’m beyond thankful that when it comes to job opportunities and money, Dublin has your back. So because of the fact that I was working full-time, I was able to book a hostel for the very next day to buy myself some time. I decided I would go week to week and keep the hunt going in the mean time. I put my keyboard in the storage room of the cafe I worked at and kept going.

A few more weeks go by and my partner in crime Courtney arrives in Dublin. She decided to get an AirBnB to buy herself time to hunt as well, and I jumped in on that opportunity with her. During those two weeks, we looked non-stop for any and every property that we could find. About midway through, I had my first breakdown: maybe this place isn’t for me. 

My family had begun to doubt my adventure over to Dublin and everyone around me was saying that they thought I was “lost”. And I began to believe it. So I started weighing my options and thought “Well shit. Maybe its time to go home”. Within 48 hours, I had arranged all my connections in LA and Austin, TX and was very certain I’d be on a plane home within a week. I had simply had enough.

I was so torn and so confused so I did what I always do in a moment of panic: I called my wise grandmother. What she said shook me to my core:

“Isis, who is this? Who are you? Because whoever this is, she’s weak. And my granddaughter isn’t weak, she’s a warrior.”

I know. Tough love, huh? She went on to remind me of something so crucial that it made my decision for me: I wanted to travel. chose travel time and time again. When I was offered a steady career path three times back home, I chose the instability of travel. When the career path I chose became fuzzy, I chose to keep traveling. When I had $.60 to my name, I stayed in Australia until that number became $0 (and even a little longer). Time and time again I fought for what I knew was meant for me. So what? Was I going to give up on that dream that I had chosen in every single crossroads of my life because things got… hard?

I am many things, my friends. But a quitter is not one of them, and I most definitely do not quit on myself. So I chose to stay. Many, many other moments of doubt and challenges came after this. I felt truly trapped: in my job, in my living situation, and in my life.

Fast forward to beginning of March and I find myself properly screwed. Every single hostel is booked, every Airbnb rate has doubled, and all of my options vanished because of St. Patrick’s Day. For the whole month. Although I didn’t realize this at the time, at the peak of feeling trapped, the universe was giving me a way out.

So after 2 phone calls and about 5 minutes, I booked myself a flight to Oslo, Norway for the next day to go stay with my roomie from Aus: Jenna and her wonderful girlfriend Tina. GIRLS YOU SAVED MY LIFE. They gave me a room, bed, food, emotional support, and the trip of a lifetime at the drop of a hat. I spent my week healing in this beautiful city with a quick day trip into Gothenburg, Sweden just because I could. But most importantly, Jenna reminded me of another huge lesson:

“You are never trapped. You are completely free. If something is no longer working, you can leave and try again.”

She gave me an incredible super power that I could take with me: a home to run away to anytime that I needed it. It was with this reassurance that I was able to face big, bad Dublin yet again.

I came back with a whole new determination. I was determined to get everything I wanted out of my dream job. I was determined to find a place to live. I was determined to keep traveling, at any cost, and as frequently as possible.

I enjoyed a wonderful St. Paddy’s day, and moved into what I swore would be my last hostel. I gave myself one week, and 0 excuses. At the end of that week, I had my dream job, and a place to live.

Wildly enough, I am extremely happy with every single part of this story. This is just the summarized version, but I learned so much more about myself and this world in the past 4 months than I have in the 23 years I have been on this Earth.

And as for you, my dear reader? Let this be a reminder: if making every single one of your dreams come true were easy, we would all be living our dream lives. It’s hard, and scary, and at times pretty freaking dark. But how will you show up to these challenges? Will you give up? Or will you push through and complete the obstacle course that the universe put in front of everything you’ve ever wanted?

I choose the latter. Every day. And now, when people look at me and say “You’re sooooo lucky to be living your kind of life!” I turn to them, smile, and politely correct them: “No, I’m worthy.”

Stay Kind & Persevere x

Addendum: I just would really like to emphasize how grateful I am for all of the support I have received in the past four months. Mom, Mama, Sasha, Morgan, Courtney & Niamh, Sam, Pip, Katie, Thomas, Connor, Kassie, Jenna & Tina, my cafe & TIG crew, and anyone else who listened to me or gave me a bed to sleep in, I am forever thankful for you and can only hope I am given the opportunity to return the favor and show that level of kindness to you all. All my love to you.

 

A Letter to a Solo Traveler

Dear Solo Traveler,

Life? It can and should be messy. Nothing about it should go “your way” or “according to plan”- or at least never how you originally planned it. And traveling? Well that shit should just amplify everything.

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Not everyone understands your vision. Or if you’re me, no one does. Unless they’re living it, but even then, everyone’s autobiography is being written a little differently. So if you want something, if you have a dream about the kind of life you want to reminisce on someday, then do everything it takes to achieve that life. You will get yelled at. You will be told that you’re crazy, or “lost”, or need to “live in the real world”. But this is the real world. Perhaps even more so than the one that your critic is living in. Others can’t see what you’re seeing. Don’t get angry with others who don’t understand. 

If you’ve been left to fend for yourself by those whose dreams you’ve supported in the past, anger isn’t the answer here either. They, too, are misunderstanding your vision- your vision of who you are. They are taking you for granted, when you are so clearly not one to disregard. They will understand when they see the levels you rose to when they had their back turned, and in the blink of an eye, you learned how to shine. Let that speak for itself, but don’t seek their validation. Do not look for revenge. Stay kind.

That’s the other thing: stay kind, my love. I always say this, but its moments like these, when you’ve been discouraged by the very people you most needed to encourage you, that become an opportunity to prove it. Prove to yourself that even in the face of adversity, you rise above. You lift yourself up. You show love, compassion. You are kind.

You are tired, but you are not exhausted. This is an uphill battle, but you are a warrior.

Keep going.

Stay kind x

NYE in Dublin as a Solo Traveller

Hello there 2019!

This New Years Eve is definitely one for the books. I have never been the confident type who would be able to go out by herself to a bar- let alone on NYE. But when my friend called me and invited me out to another club, I had to put my foot down.

All of 2018 was a year of doing what I want and being a smidgen selfish. It was about figuring out who I was when no one was looking, and making decisions that would only affect me and my own happiness. It was only fitting to end it by doing that one last time. So I took to the streets of this strange little city I’ve been in for less than a month and went with my gut.

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I found myself in the oldest pub in Ireland. I knew right away I had found my place when there was no queue at 10 PM to get in, no front door charge, and I could hear the traditional Irish band from outside. I walked in, ordered my tequila, and started to look around. There were so many people from every single age group crowded around and enjoying the last few moments of the year with this band. So, classic me, I decided to find my way to the very front of the room, next to the stage where there was a lovely couple sitting in a corner. This being Dublin (a.k.a “the city of a thousand welcomes”), they were more than happy to let me sit with them.

We sat, chatted about travel and life, and listened to this amazing band. Ten minutes before midnight, I hurried my way to the bar and ordered Prosecco for the table. At this point, the bartenders and I had struck up a conversation (of course), and I had to rush back to my table just before the countdown began. We sat, counted down, and cheered to ring in the new year.

As I was standing on the stage next to a mic, screaming the lyrics to “Hey Jude” with the other Americans that were called to the stage, I realized something. I always say that human connection is my key to happiness. If I am connecting with others, I’m pursuing my truth. Enjoying that connection with people you know is incredible, but to take it one step further, you have to be willing to put yourself out there and make a connection with complete strangers. Beginning 2019 that way gave me a small taste of what this year might bring if I’m willing to trust my gut and do what I do best: get comfortable with the uncomfortable.

2019, ready for a ride?

Stay kind and Happy New Year x