I met four women on Inis Mhor in Ireland. The first two I met on the ferry there. The roughest boat ride of my life, going up and down, side to side and back again. People getting sick, I was splashed with the largest wave of my life; baptized by the Atlantic.
It was a benign enough meet cute. I overheard an American woman, about my age, say to another woman that she had just ended her relationship with her fiancé. I paused for a moment. When they entered the boat I had already made up my mind that I would be quieter. I was more interested in meeting locals, in having an “authentic” experience, than chumming around with more American’s while abroad. One doesn’t travel to another country simply to hang out with people from your homeland.
Then over the sound of the waves and the wind I hear her say that sentence “I broke up with my fiancé yesterday.” I couldn’t help myself, before I even thought if it was the right thing to say or not I said “Good for you! I just did the same about eight months back.” Her head snapped up and she stared right at me. So full of life, so open, so present. “Really?” and from there on I hardly remember what we talked about next but I remember it was one commonality after another.
Our loud American accents over taking the ship, the two Irish sailors on the boat literally swinging their heads left and right watching us volley the conversation back and forth and just laughing at us. We would look at them from time to time and all laugh. They thought we were ridiculous, and maybe we were. But it was one of those moments where you just absolutely click with another soul and you’re both so damn excited about it you can’t help but bubble over with enthusiasm.
Before I know it she’s asking me to have dinner with her and her friends on the island. More chatter as we get off the ferry and walk down the pier. Parting ways and exchanging Facebook information. Within the hour I have a time and location “The Hostel 7:30ish.” The island is so tiny there is only the one hostel and it’ll take me all of 5 minutes to walk there from my hotel.
Dinner with four amazing women. So many similarities even though we couldn’t be from more different universes. From all over the world, France, the Canary Islands, Vermont, Michigan, yet all jiving as if we’d known each other for years. All of us so strong, yet lost, finding our way through school, career changes and challenges, developing a life, loss of loved ones, finding and loosing love. At the end of the day just discovering who we are. Yet somehow, magically we were all drawn to an island off the coast of Ireland.
This was probably the most heartfelt discovery I had while on my journey. Finding four strong women just living life, making mistakes, making the “different” choice, living with the “other.” It was inspiring to see them all to be near them and just surrounded by their energy. I know my soul twin and I will be in each others lives forever. But I wonder if the other three women know that through our brief dinner and few hours spent together they’ve changed my life.
I want to have a “Before Sunrise” esq story with them. I want to come together seven years from now and discover what’s changed. What dreams have been realized, what have we foregone? Who are we now, in the future? What have we achieved, learned, found?
It was one of those days and nights that allowed me to be nothing but present. I wasn’t wanting for something, in fact I felt disturbingly present and more fragile and vulnerable than I’d felt in years. I was so connected to my source and soft spot I could feel everything. It was like I was on fire. Every emotion available to me at the drop of a hat. It felt like the first night at summer camp, or first day of college or jumping out of an airplane. It was real, it was life fully present.
That will be something I always hold dear. And ending the night by walking home from the pub in the dark, down the dark tiny streets of Kilronan past abandoned homes and old churches fallen into disrepair. The sound of a fiddle and traditional Irish music fading behind me. It was the perfect way to digest all that happened. To feel truly alone in the world walking back to an empty hotel in a quiet seaside town, on a tiny island in the Atlantic. I’d never felt more connected to the world and removed from my life. I existed only in that moment, disconnected from every story I ever told about myself. I was just a woman here in the present moment.
As much as I know it can’t be replicated I will search for that feeling, to bring that feeling, into every moment I live from here on out. Being entirely myself yet no one of consequence to anyone around me. Entirely me, entirely unknown.