Way back four years ago, I made a list in a freshly-opened journal with an Old World Map on it. Underlining in black ink, the list read:
Places to Go This Year.
Ireland. Portugal. Morocco. the Netherlands. Germany.
For someone hellbent on traveling to 25 countries before a birthday of the same age, I had some work to do in just under three years. I scoured Internet travel agencies and budget airlines in search of my first destination, though I always knew what it would be. Given my reddish hair and blue eyes, freckles and being a softy for beer, the Emerald Isle, home to my father’s family, would get my well-saved travel dollars first, even if it was the most expensive.
My passport is now home to four green stamps, proclaiming my four trips to Eire, which include three in the last eight months. On each jaunt, I’m more enamored with Beef and Guinness pie, the Ha’penny Bridge over the River Liffey, fields exploding in bright green. And those doors! I spent an entire morning hunting out the most brightly colored amongst squat, brown brick buildings and the ever-present grey skies.