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TRAVELING ABROAD

Seeing the world, discovering yourself and learning what you’ve been taking for granted

By Toni Bean
On March 2, 2014

You hear people say one must be well-cultured to be successful.
Although I am not saying whether that is exactly true or not, because I know many people who are successful and hardly ever travel out of their own rural community, I am here to share my experience of traveling abroad.
I am not saying you have to travel abroad to be successful, I am saying it is something everyone should do in their life at least once.
Where my adoration for Ireland originated I am still unaware, but I do know I have possessed it for as long as I can remember. My mom always used to tell me, "You make the grades and we will travel to Ireland."
Well, come the time of my high school graduation, where I was sixth in my class, my mom had to eat her words.
One month after my graduation, with passports in hand, luggage in tow and our minds wide open we boarded the plane in Knoxville, Tenn., that would change my world forever.
We arrived in Dublin at about 6 a.m, where we rented a car for the two weeks we would be traveling.
That was culture shock No. 1.
First off, Ireland is a European country, so they drive on what we would consider the wrong side of the road.
We could barely make it out of the airport parking garage, let alone downtown Dublin.
In spite of the jet lag we were experiencing, we admired all the well-preserved architecture that lined the streets of Dublin.
The buildings were like something out of a "Harry Potter" movie.
Culture shock No. 2 was what was lying behind those buildings.
None of the buildings had been renovated on the inside, not even the bathrooms.
Can you remember going to your grandmother's house and having two faucets on the sink, one for hot water and one for cold?
Well, that is the type of sink every place in Ireland had.
Going back to two knobs and two faucets was one thing, but what I wasn't ready for was the showers.
We arrived in Belfast three days later, and we realized we had pretty much taken a step back in time.
Culture shock No. 3 - The showers were not run by a master hot water heater but rather a small one for each shower itself.
So the water took forever to heat up, and when it finally did, you still had only a small amount.
Want a hot shower? OK. Give the water 10 minutes to heat up, and you can enjoy a nice, steamy shower for all of two minutes.
I realize it sounds as if I had a terrible time in Ireland. However, it was quite the opposite. I had the time of my life.
Also, my two weeks there made me truly appreciate some of the things I used to take for granted in my everyday life.
The point is, if you have never traveled abroad, GO! See the world and discover some of the things you take for granted each and every day.


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