blog_title_decorationIRELAND | TRAVEL & ADVENTURE

Gosh, traveling to new places really sets my soul on fire!! I love everything about it- getting to the MSP airport early and enjoying breakfast at French Meadow in Terminal F.  The plane ride (I’m obsessed with planes- just ask my friends about my addiction to Discovery Channel’s Air Disasters).  Getting a new stamp in my passport.  Food, and adventure, and hiking, and rental cars, and luggage, and maps, and new experiences, people, architecture, shooting film, sharing on Instagram.  The list goes on.  This trip was really special because it was My First Big Solo Adventure Abroad.  Sure, I studied abroad in Spain in college and ventured overseas to a foreign country to live with a family that spoke a language I barely understood. But, I was young and naive and I’m not counting that!

My 2013 wedding season was an incredible one, and I was still busy well into November and early December.  I was so busy I was barely able to leave my studio, much less travel anywhere.  I was longing for adventure… just to hop on a plane.  I started browsing Kayak Explorer (the best thing known to man) and I came across a very stellar deal to Dublin, Ireland.  I must admit, ideally I would’ve liked to travel with my husband, but his Bulgarian passport is currently expired, and I wanted to leave in 3 days.  Yep, three days. A deal is a deal! Luckily it all corresponded with my birthday!  I purchased my plane ticket on a Thursday, shot my last wedding of 2013 on a Saturday, and boarded a plane Sunday afternoon to wake up in Dublin on my birthday; Monday, December 9th.

What an adventure. Given the timing and the fact that I had a beautiful winter wedding to shoot, I had, quite literally, no time to plan.  I didn’t book any accommodations, except my first night in Dublin.  My plan was to spend my birthday in Dublin, then head out the next morning with nothing but a map, my favorite camera and a few rolls of film, and my driver’s-side-on-the-wrong-side rental car.  Did I mention the car was a stick?!

My day in Dublin was divine. I enjoyed a glorious, solo meal at Rustic Stone– a restaurant I discovered in this awesome book. I had three craft cocktails (they are half priced on Mondays!) and enjoyed multiple courses of food. I stumbled home with the biggest smile on my face. I completely fell in love with the beautiful country of Ireland and only wish I would’ve had more than a week.  I can’t wait to go back and bring my husband- he loves driving, and Ireland is paradise for this sort of activity.  I posted my adventure on Instagram along the way, and so many friends chimed in with places to stay and recommendations for what to do next…  I have to say, traveling without any sort of agenda was so invigorating and unsettling, in the best way possible. I had to freedom to just see where the road took me (literally).  I wandered to unknown cities and villages and asked the local barkeep where I could find the best (and most affordable!) B&B.  I ate sandwiches in my rental car and clam chowder in pubs.  I frolicked on empty beaches in my rainboots and got sand in the car.  I didn’t have to worry about doing my hair or putting on makeup. I packed a weeks worth of clothes, but wore the same yoga pants and hoodie every single day. I made friends at local pubs and drank more beer in a week that I have in a lifetime (I’m more of a wine kind-of-gal). I had a lot of Bailey’s on the rocks and Bulmer’s on ice.  I accidentally drank my contact lenses one sleepy night- and woke up blind as a bat with no backup lenses (I’m usually adamant about carrying backup contacts- I bring them to EVERY WEDDING). Ask me about this story- it’s one I’ll never forget.  This trip was really special. Here’s to many more adventures to come!!  Thanks for following along and for all the social media encouragement.

  • Helgi said:

    Goose bumps! Love love love it!

  • Jen Lynne said:

    Oh Laura, what an amazinggggg adventure!!! I absolutely love that you just packed up and left.. I am dying to do that! These pictures tell a beautiful story of your time in Ireland, I am so glad you shared this with us :) xoxoxo

  • Ashli K. said:

    This is what makes life so wonderful-Great photos and story! :)

  • Sabrina said:

    These photos are amazing!! Sounds and looks like you had a blast exploring!! Matt and I hope to travel to Ireland sometime soon!! I laughed out loud about you drinking your contact lenses...I remember hearing about that on Instagram (or something) as well. Glad you had such an amazing trip!!

  • Jody savage said:

    Wow!! You have such an adventurous spirit and I love that !! You are magic with that camera!! I cannot wait to travel with you in Vegas! Gosh you captured Ireland so beautifully!

  • Laura, what a beeaaauuutiful way to celebrate such an adventure! Your photographs are stunning!

  • What an amazing adventure! Stunning photos!

  • Meridith said:

    Gorgeous photos! Now I want to go back:) It's such a peaceful and relaxing country being there totally puts you at ease.

  • Urška Majer said:

    This sounds like such an amazing trip! Love the photos!

  • Nicki said:

    Hurrah for solo female adventures! These photos are gorgeous Laura! So awesome. :-)