Aileen O'Leary tells us why travelling can be the perfect way to clear your head to return home more focused than ever.
In the last 19 years of my life, I’ve travelled quite a bit. From holidays in the sun, city breaks or wild Atlantic escapes; be it family fun or escaping with friends, whenever I travel I always get this sense of self.
 
It’s a time to figure out where you’re going, literally and figuratively, time for yourself, time to experience new things and I’ll always think of my trip to Amsterdam as a time when I was finding myself. It wasn’t that long ago, but back then I wasn’t overjoyed with college and feeling lousy about my exams. I felt like I was stuck. Two of my best friends and I went to Amsterdam a week before I was set to return to college and I do believe that trip was what motivated me to go back and try harder.
 
Strolling along the canals, watching people go about their everyday lives, seeing amazing places like the Anne Frank museum, walking through historic parts of the city, trying new things and experiences did inspire me. Spending time with two people who knew me well, and getting away from home and being independent was a breath of fresh air and sometimes you need that in your life to find inspiration and to help you get back on track.
 
When I came home from Amsterdam a lot of things seemed clearer, college was my way of getting out, and my degree would allow me to travel the world as a journalist and explore for a living. I think travelling does shape us as individuals, we see the world in a completely different way when we travel. When you’re in a new city there’s this overwhelming feeling. There are new people to meet, new places to see. it’s a fresh slate because no one really knows you and you get to leave whatever is going on in your life back home for a while.
 
We get so used to the everyday routines, sometimes you need to shake it up and get out. It doesn’t have to mean hopping on a plane and flying half way around the world, I think you can still experience that sensation even if it’s just getting in the car and driving around the coast for the day. We’re so fortunate to have the wild Atlantic way in Ireland, it’s such an amazing way to see the coast and if you haven’t done the road trip around this little gem of an island I’d highly recommend it.
 
Travel is an escape from the chaos that is our lives, and if you can’t make the time for a trip abroad why not explore all that this emerald isle has to offer, hop in the car with some friends take off for the weekend, get out of your head, get out of wherever you’re based for a day or two. Because while our lives are wonderful and there is so much to experience in the everyday, we can get in a rut and it’s hard to get out of it once you’re stuck. Sometimes it takes leaving to realise what you have here is worth staying for.