Lauren (22) and I met while volunteering at Kilronan Hostel at Inis Mor in Ireland. She originally comes from Australia and has been traveling in Europe for 4 months.
Why did you come here?
Lauren has always been dreaming of traveling as much and as far as possible. 3 years ago she had her first experience traveling when she was part of a volunteering project in Africa. This is when the travelbug really got to her. “When I finished college I didn’t feel ready to work in a fulltime job yet and the world has so much to offer. It would be stupid of me if I wasn’t going to discover it all. For 9 months I worked 7 days a week to save up for this trip.”
Lauren planned most of her trip to Europe before leaving Australia, but coming to the Aran Islands was unplanned. “After traveling for 3,5 months, never staying in one place more than 4 days, I was in need of a home base for a while. In Budapest somebody mentioned Workaway. I decided to check it out and that is how I found Inis Mor and this hostel.”
Without any expectations of how it would be to volunteer in a hostel or how Inis Mor was like Lauren came here.“The not knowing anything really gets excites me. That is probably why I choose to come here. What I like most about being here is the group of volunteers in the hostel and the Irish people I have met.”
What did you learn from your trip?
One of the discoveries about herself Lauren made is that she is more capable and independent than she thought. “And that I should learn to be more patient and let things go. The unexpected can be interesting and exciting. Not knowing to me is really fascinating en makes me feel I truly discover a city or country.”
As a traveler Lauren is appreciative and respectful to other cultures and the differences she might encounter. “I want to be part of their life and that moment. For example I love the passion Italians have for their food. When I was in a restaurant in Italy they let us taste all the food before we made our decision.”
The last lesson Lauren learned is a valuable one for every traveler. “Don’t party the night before you have to catch a bus the next day. I did this and had to buy a first class ticket for the train in the last minute before the train was leaving, because I missed my bus.”
What is home for you?
For Lauren home is a place where she feels safe and happy. “My whole life home has been with my mom, but my perspective on home has changed because of my travels. It is not a space, but a place where I feel safe and secure.”
She doesn’t feel she is a different person away from home. “I think that I am the same bright, bully and social butterfly as I am at home. I am more openminded to seizing the moment. Jumping into the wormhole on Inis Mor is one of these moments that I know I want to grasp. I.”
When are you the most vulnerable?
When Lauren is planning she feels most vulnerable so when she decided to travel this was scary and exciting at the same time. “For my trip I had to plan places I wanted to visit and things I wanted to do. While doing this a lot of new ideas come popping up and I want to get the most out of the trip. When I am not able to do everything I come down on myself.”
In her travels Lauren met a lot of other travellers and sometimes she would compare her trip to theirs and feels insecure. “I wonder if I really experienced the places I visited. But this also made me realize that traveling is different for everybody and there is no right or wrong in travelling. This is my trip and I am really proud of myself for traveling the way I do.”