My mother will be the first to tell you I was one of the most nervous kids out there, especially when it comes to travelling. We had a trip to Moncton to visit my Nan that I felt like throwing up for hours before we left, I'm pretty sure I did get sick in the end. So why the hell am I leaving the country BY MYSELF?
In short: to get over myself.
I was nervous before I went to Toronto and Montreal by myself, too. Actually, as my Dad was driving me to the airport before my trip to Toronto (which was my first solo trip, a bit less than a year and a half ago), I nearly puked in his truck. My hands were clammy, I was staring out the window and kept thinking things like:
Why am I risking this? What is in Toronto for me all alone?
I'm going to get lost.
People will stare at me. They know I don't belong there.
That last one gets me the most, even at home. The feeling when you are introduced to a new place, whether it's a store/restaurant, neighbourhood, city, or country, the feeling that the people there know you're new. I feel like I'm walking into a conversation about me, that I'm not supposed to hear. I feel like there's some unwritten rule that I'm violating as soon as I enter the room, simply because I've never entered the room before. It's that feeling that stops me from walking into a restaurant that looks cozy -- seeing how busy it is inside and not wanting to be judged by the eyes of the locals in there who "know what they're doing".
So what gets me over this fear? Realizing no one cares.
So what if I go to the wrong counter to order my coffee? So what if it takes me 10 second longer to find a place to sit because I'm familiarizing myself with this new environment? Someone may notice, and think to themselves something ranging from "Oh she must not have been here before," to "Fucking tourist." Either way, it doesn't affect me in the end.
Ireland is a popular tourist destination. They see people from all over the world enter their country, some with less savvy than I have already. My worry and jitters are entirely self-driven. Before my trip to Montreal last year I wasn't anywhere near as nervous. Even as I was sitting at the airport, unlike Toronto, I wasn't nervous -- I was excited even. I had the experience of Toronto under my belt, and I remembered how easy it was to discover a new city without feeling like I didn't belong. I did belong.
I do belong.