Travel

Why it’s ok to be stuck here this summer

My hometown has left me feeling like a replacement for Macaulay Culkin in Home Alone, everyone I know is either on J1, au-pairing, interning or doing that majestic thing called Co-op. I’m beginning to feel left behind.

They’re getting drunk in foreign places on cheaper alcohol, fulfilling life ambitions, playing at adulthood and meeting new people. I’m back in my parents’ house, having done those things last summer and wasted all my wages on rent. This year the Erasmus must be saved for, so ten hour shifts at the local hotel populated only by misguided Americans has become my home. My friends’ Snapchat stories are more enviable than mine but perhaps there are upsides to staying home at the summer.

1. Family

Being reunited with my comfy bed, clean kitchen, trampoline, Harry Potter box sets and dog is all fantastic, but the best part is getting back my slaves i.e. parents. Food is always present and one no longer needs to worry about bus times. Why would I ever bother to get the provisional when I’ll be gone all of next year, sure the parents can drop me everywhere. It’s also a great time to catch up with extended family. Everyone is growing up, half the cousins are doing the Leaving, I haven’t seen my nearest uncle in two months, and my brother has definitely gotten taller since Christmas. Being around for Nana’s 69th birthday is a once off thing. Cake, family gatherings and new memories will never be repeated with people who won’t be around forever; those cousins will be gone on J1 next year.

2.Irish food

Cadbury’s, sausages; Barry’s tea; 99s, orange Calypos. Feed yourself? No I don’t have to do that. Work includes a carvery lunch, and I return to Mum’s famous curry that night. Sustaining my life force amounts to me pouring cereal into a bowl before the shift. I don’t even grocery shop anymore, how the cereal knows to refill itself every Friday must be wizardry. Food here is pretty damn good, the stocked fridge is being raided and all excess weight will be worked off on the parents’ gym membership. #NoRegrets

3. Money

A coworker told me how his sister had been posting lots of Facebook #BestTimeOfMyLife posts whilst summering in Australia, everyone was sickeningly jealous of her at Bondi getting super tanned. However in reality she was broke and her parents were mounting pressure on her to come home, meaning eventually she had to cut it short. Being cut off without money in a foreign country is terrifying. I learnt that when I nearly missed my reading week flight home from Budapest, with three thousand forint (eleven euro) to my name. Working a proper job with no rent/transport/food costs there’s no reason not to save, and it can be spent on a big treat after all the hard work. Perhaps my main concerns about missing out on the summer abroad were the drinking, independence and new people. However having worked all summer and amassing money not spent on feeding myself or rent, a no stress sun holiday in August is easily attainable and a much more relaxing trip abroad.

4. Friends. Being home for three long months is the best opportunity to spend time with old friends. During exams those relationships suffer most, but with an end to the stress you’re free to relax and catch up with the people you like most. It’s the time for BBQ’s and shopping trips, for having road trips, revisiting your town’s one cringey nightclub and remembering all of the stupidly funny things you did together. It’s also a great chance to make new friends, particularly if some of your mates have left for a few months. Some of my best friends joined a tag rugby tournament and they had a ball getting to meet people who had gone to different schools. It made our nights out so much more fun, and meant that I got to know people who had once been complete strangers. The summer has been full of banter, and that’s just from broadening your horizons when stuck in a familiar place.

5. Exploration.

Sure everyone else is on a new continent, risking cholera in New Delhi or bag-packing in Nepal but there are so many places to explore here on this island. From beautiful Kerry beaches, hiking in Glendalough, surfing in Donegal or going to one of the music festivals dotted around the country, summers in Ireland will never be boring. With soaring temperatures, you’re more likely to get sunburnt here than anywhere on the Med. Lounging in the garden has never been so exotic or filled you with so much vitamin D. Plus nighttime entertainment by way of lightening storms is so continental. Tourists flock to this country to see the majestic landscapes we completely take for granted, and so much of it is completely free for those of us without gainful employment.

Lasting memories can be made anywhere. If you want a guided tour of Ireland’s highlights, we’re giving away an incredible five day trip with SurfNTurf which will certainly take you somewhere new. Your summer is completely up to you, and I’m finally beginning to see the bright side of being left behind this summer.