October 11, 2015

Ireland Retreat Recap: Slowing down, rolling hills, and OMG kittens snuggling with lambs.

sunday

There are about 6 million people living in the nation of Ireland.

There are 40 million Americans who claim to be entirely (or at least partly) Irish. What this means is… either Irish immigrants made babies at an astonishing rate once they landed on American shores… or lot of self-proclaimed “Irish Americans” are totally BS-ing about their heritage… or maybe a little of both.

Either way, one thing is certain: Lots of people really, really want to be Irish.

And now that I’ve had a chance to visit Ireland, myself, I completely understand why.

Because Irish people are freaking awesome!

Am I making sweeping generalizations about an entire country’s inhabitants? Totally. But the warmth, hospitality, charm, and kindness that I experienced on the Emerald Isle blew me away. I am officially a Hibernophile. (That’s a fancy Latin term for: “Lover of Irish culture.”)

There were so many peak experiences on my trip to Ireland. It was tough to compile a “best of” list for my blog. But I tried.

Here are a few of the most memorable moments and lessons from my most recent trip abroad. I hope it inspires you to book your own voyage to Ireland—or anywhere that’s calling your name. (Life is short. Why wait until “retirement” to see the world? Do it now.)

In Ireland, I loved…

The phrase “It’s no bother.”

Immediately upon arriving in Ireland, I started hearing a local phrase that seemed to be on everybody’s lips: “It’s no bother.”

Need extra towels? No bother. Craving another cup of tea? No bother. Need a ride into town? No bother. Know anybody who has a recording studio so I can knock out a couple of podcast episodes? Sure do, and he’d love to pick you up and drive you over there personally. No bother.

I feel like many Americans (myself included) often say, “No worries, it’s no problem!” butinside we are secretly thinking, “BIG PROBLEM! Why are you ruining my liiiiiife?”

In Ireland, though, when people say “It’s no bother” it feels completely genuine. There’s no tinge of bitterness or feeling of “I’ll do this, but… you owe me. Big time.”

The Irish people that I met were just… kind and generous. Just because.

Imagine that.

The feeling of “being home.”

After arriving in Ireland, I slept so incredibly deeply—but even after several nights of deep rest, I felt soooo tired. My limbs felt heavy and my entire body had that feeling of post-massage relaxation. I yawned and apologized to my local tour guide, “I am so sorry, please excuse me. I don’t know why I am so tired right now!”

She told me that many American visitors say they feel “tired” when they arrive in Ireland,especially for the first few days as they are acclimating to the landscape and culture and gentler pace of life.

She explained to me that Ireland is a special place—a nurturing, peaceful place that feels, to many people, like a mother’s embrace.

“When you visit Ireland, we are not welcoming you as a tourist or a stranger,” she told me. “We are welcoming you home.”

Ahhh, I thought to myself, This is what “home” feels like.

I realized, I don’t have to rush here. My body feels “tired” because my body is acknowledging, “Susan, you’ve been racing around the globe all year long! Slow down. Just be home.”

The random acts of kindness.

After a woman in our group accidently left her smartphone while taking a scenic boat ride, we all figured, “Oh well. That sucks. Guess you’ll have to buy a new phone.”

Uh, no. Not in Ireland, yo!

Our driver called the captain of the boat, he found her phone, and when he couldn’t get a taxi cab to pick up the phone and bring it our restaurant, her personally drove 45 minutes each way and delivered the lost phone back to her.

“No bother!” he said cheerfully before telling us a salty joke and departing to drive back AGAIN to his destination. He tried to refuse any money for gas or his time.

We were stupefied. The level of generosity and kindness was just… beyond. Experiences like this happened all throughout our journey. Every single day: random acts of kindness. In Ireland, it’s just a way of life.

The scones.

GIRL. The scones. I am spoiled for life. I don’t think I can choke down those pathetic imposter scones from Starbucks ever again. Irish scones are for REAL. Just try to look at these pics without drooling all over your screen.

scones

The landscape.

There’s really nothing I can say. Just look:

ireland

Kittens snuggling with baby lambs.

SHUT UP IRELAND. It hurts. Too much.

kittens

The ladies!

No Ireland recap would be complete without a shout out to the 8 amazing women who joined me for this retreat.

I led Life Is Delicious coaching retreats in Thailand and Italy this year, and both were amazing, but I have to say… the Ireland gals brought a special kind of magic.

It was such an honor to lead the group and to coach these ladies all week long. Combining personal development + goal setting + life and business planning + incredible travel adventures = the BEST. Laura, Lisa, Randi, Debbie, Kellie, Gaynor, Carolyn, and Sandy, you ladies inspire me and make my job insanely fun. Thank you for saying YES to Ireland! Our week together was truly unforgettable.

Last but not least: this tiny donkey with a dog riding on top.

I mean COME ON. As if the kitties and lambs were not enough.

donkey

Ireland: I love you. Never stop doing you.

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PS. Curious about where I’ll be leading retreats in 2016…? Hint: Italy, France, and Iceland are all on the list! Hop onto my “interest list” for updates and early bird discounts on my upcoming retreats. Let’s see the world together: YES!

XOXO,
Susan

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