All the usual rebuttals churned in my mind: I don’t have time. I don’t feel comfortable. I don’t want to spend money. Maybe later.
Then, I remembered: I had promised myself to tackle the corny—yet effective—habit of saying yes to life. Shoot.
“Yes, we’re in.” My mind heard the words and mocked me with quiet disdain. I glanced at my best friend. We both shrugged. Why not?
I had been traveling in Europe for a while now and living in a hostel in Galway, Ireland, for about a month. The afternoon had been uneventful until the two girls from Chicago proposed a road trip to the Cliffs of Moher, a few hours away. Some American guy they met had a car and he agreed to drive us, they said.
Being with this many Americans at once was unusual. The five of us talked excitedly about our lives back home and how we all ended up in Ireland. Only the jolts of the car barreling down the tiny, rough roads of the Irish countryside interrupted our conversation.
Finally, we turned into the Cliffs of Moher site. Silence. A wide open parking lot and a deserted pay booth were the only signs that humans had ever existed in this place.
“Looks like they’re closed,” one of the girls said. “Should we go?”
We looked around. It’s Ireland. They don’t throw up barricades and lock everything down like back home. We could still enjoy the place as if it were open, minus the throngs of tourists. Excitement stirred deep in my stomach as I processed the implications.
We had the Cliffs of Moher to ourselves. A rebellious twinkle in my eye signaled my approval and excitement. The rugged, western coastline of Ireland—all mine. I stepped out of the car, put my hands on my hips, and breathed in the cool, salty air. I had arrived.
We scattered like kids on Christmas morning eager to open our gifts, consumed in the moment. I hiked to the northern most area of the cliffs, following my curiosity. A stone tower begged to be explored. The waves of the Atlantic blasted against the sides of the cliff, drowning my thoughts in their rhythm. The sun lowered into the horizon, its orange beams draped across the rough edges of the rock.
As I gazed to the west I realized the U.S. was the next body of land. For the first time since I left, I looked out toward my own country across an ocean. My gaze dropped down the cliffs and focused on the four figures gallivanting around the rocks and spongy grass. By chance, I was connected in this moment with these other American travelers. I felt so far away, yet so oddly close to my home country.
My friend walked to the ledge where I stood, joining me in the trance of the setting sun. We were just two people succumbing to the majestic whims of this moment. We didn’t speak.
We both sat in the grass and gazed westward, absorbed in gratitude.
Photo of the Cliffs of Moher taken by the author.
Outer truth-seeking journalist turned inner truth-seeking yogi, Nicole Harris now writes freelance and teaches yoga. Her practice on the mat began in Minnesota in 2011 and eventually led her to teaching in Florida. Her true passion is to cultivate awareness and live from that honest, real space as much as possible. She finds her quickest ways to get there are through nature, adventure, and travel. The deepest way is through a meditative yoga practice.