“To travel is to live.”
~Hans Christian Andersen
My husband and I have returned home from our amazing adventure in Europe.
Well, truth be told, we came home almost a month ago, but out return was followed immediately by hurricane preparation, and eventually, evacuation. Thanks, Irma.
When we came back to our house after our mandatory evacuation, we went without power for 5 days, had to throw away every stitch of food in our refrigerator, and repair multiple pieces if damage to our property.
We got through it all though, and life is finally starting to feel a bit more normal.
Prior to our incredible adventure, I had never really traveled anywhere. Don’t get me wrong, I have seen a good chunk of America, but I had never really traveled outsider the US (minus a trip when I was in middle school to the Bahamas).
Having finally put a few stamps in my passport, I can now say that I agree wholeheartedly with the quote I have added to the top of this post.
“To travel is to live.”
Our trip was such a wonderful distraction from our infertility. The planning of it helped keep my mind occupied, and experiencing three new countries was so incredibly therapeutic. On a train ride from Edinburgh to Inverness, I wrote in my journal that “travelling has made me realize how very big the world is, and how small my part in it is.”
I also realized when, after running into an old colleague from Los Angeles while I was in London, whom I had not seen in four years, how very small the world is.
I felt alive while we were travelling – more alive than I have felt in years.
Each new city we came to felt like a whole new adventure. The people in England, Scotland, and Ireland were all so welcoming. The ancient building, and wide expanses of green everywhere was enchanting. Edinburgh specifically felt like magic. I completely understand why J.K. Rowling wrote so much of the Harry Potter series while in Edinburgh.
I hope to come back and write a full post about each city after I finish going through all my photos. It took me nearly a month to sort through and edit just my iPhone photos…and I still have nearly 3000 photos on my DSLR.
It was pretty incredible so see so many castles, and other incredible sights. We went on a hike in Edinburgh, and in Inverness we got to take a boat across Loch Ness to the ruins of Urquhart Castle.
Kilkenny, Ireland was another incredible old city, with parts of the town dating back to 1275. We even climbed to the top of a bloody tall old church tower. It had no stairs. We had to climb ladders. floor by floor. It was terrifying and it made me feel alive.
We ended our adventure in Dublin, where we learned to pour a perfect pint of Guinness, had a proper Sunday roast, explored the old Trinity College Library, and went on a pretty awesome spooky ghost tour.
And while our trip was incredible, and so good for our souls, we didn’t leave our infertility behind. It came with us on our adventure, and it is the part of me that I will always have to carry, no matter what happens down the line with our family.
So I did something I had been thinking of doing for over a year.
I got a tattoo.
A beautiful tattoo with incredible meaning to me, in a wonderful nerdy tattoo shop in Dublin.
The tattoo is the Celtic knot for Motherhood, and as soon as I saw it, I knew it was prefect. I think my husband was a bit concerned that the tattoo will make me sad, should we never be able to have children. I understand his concern, but my infertility is a permanent part of me. It does make me sad, but I cannot do anything to change the fact that I have endometriosis and may never be able to conceive.
A big part of our adventure this summer was to help me heal from the pains of the last few years, and to help bring my husband and I closer before we begin IVF. It seemed fitting to get the tattoo here, on the last leg of that journey.
Now that we are back, and the trip is over, I am struggling with my infertility. I have started crying again, and I have been consumed by bouts of hopelessness, now that I feel like I don’t have anything to look forward to. I know that I will be okay, though. I know that we can get through this together.
If we never have a family, that will suck. But something this trip taught me is the value of travelling. If we can’t have a family, I will make sure that we can at least see the entire world together. It’s not much of a consolation prize, I know…but this has reminded me that there are lots of things to live for.
I will try not to forget that again.