Do you know what it’s like to look out into a field and feel complete bliss? To see as far out as you can possibly see into a wide-open space and feel the magnitude of what it means to truly be alive?
The greatest travelling advice that I can ever give you is this: stand in a field.
I took a day trip last weekend to visit the Hill of Tara, a place that holds a lot of significance to Ireland and its people. I could go on and on about all of its fascinating history and the local myths and folklore that have sprung from its existence, but this is not what makes this place special; at least not for me.
I had taken my trip early in the day. I arrived at the hill just a few minutes past ten, when there were few tourists and locals invading upon this space. I really didn’t think much of it, and certainly didn’t expect to be so impressed, but when I stepped atop it’s highest point, I was completely taken aback.
The view was spectacular. I could see for miles, and everything around me was completely free. Quite honestly, it is not unlike the view I have at home, in my own country: rolling hills, stretched out fields and a forever sky, this kind of place is where I grew up and, as all kids do, I really took it for granted. There is nothing like this feeling of freedom, of opportunity. Looking out on this familiar view here in Ireland, I felt utter joy. Everything on the horizon felt as though it was made exclusively for me. It’s a view that makes you want to breathe in everything in your sight, and really experience, in this moment, how big and beautiful the world is. To inhale all the possibility that this sight offers, and invite in a calm that can only be experienced when you finally appreciate the smaller, seemingly insignificant things in life.
Everyone is constantly moving much too fast. That’s the way things have been in this world for decades. Even while I travel around the country, I’ll see what I see, appreciate it for all of five minutes, and then move on to the next place on my list. Taking pictures, proving I’ve been there, but without really experiencing what it means to BE there. How I was doing things completely changed when I came to this hill. Just looking at the view, feeling everything I could possibly feel of individuality, collectivity, sadness, happiness, heaviness, lightness, I stayed transcended in this state for an entire hour. Thinking, feeling, living; not worrying about what was next, but appreciating everything that was, literally, right in front of me.
I’ve always been a worrier, trying to pinpoint the exact moments of when I will experience certain stages of my life, as if I have the capacity to choose such a thing. All this does is make me miss out on what is right here and right now. Such sights have always existed (even in my own backyard) but I needed to travel four thousand kilometers away to really understand what it all meant. And really, isn’t that the point of traveling at all?
So wherever you’re going, whatever it is that you’re trying to find, make sure that you take the time to really experience all the sights that you’re seeing. When you get there, take a moment to breathe it all in, and welcome in that undeniable calm. Walk on top of a hill, on a mountain, in the middle of an open space completely alone, and invite in the feeling of empowerment. As best as I’m trying, as much as I wish I could, I cannot write this feeling for you. I cannot feel it for you, but there is no question that you need to feel it for yourself. If you ever feel lost or unsure, walk out into the world and stand alone in a space much bigger than yourself, and feel what it means to have complete freedom.