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“There is nowhere you can be that isn’t where you’re meant to be.” 

My entire life has been turned upside down because I believed in these words so much. Every decision I made, from the choice of my major four years ago to the huge risk I took a year ago, has led me to where I am right now. And right now, I am the happiest, most secure, most determined I’ve been in my whole life.

In the summer of 2013, I decided to study abroad in Switzerland with FSU’s International Program with my friend, Kayla. We were such a close family by the end of the trip, and I was lucky to have had the privilege to learn about their lives and truly get to know them.

A week after being back in the states, my good friend from study abroad invited me along on a road trip around Ireland that ended in a family wedding in Sligo. Now, I’ve been to my fair share of Catholic weddings, but never one actually in Ireland. I knew I was in for a wild ride… (Read here for more details).

We arrived in Dublin, where we spent the next two days before driving (on the other side of the road) to County Cork.  After throwing our bags into what may have been the smallest hostel room I’ve ever seen, we got ready for our first pub crawl of the trip. Although the rooms were small, Barnacles Hostel was very clean, very affordable and verrrry conveniently located next to Temple Bar. I highly recommend staying there for any fellow travelers/backpackers/wanderers stopping in Dublin!

After the most traditional Irish meal I could find, my friend, his brother and I made our way to the first pub of the pub crawl, where we were supposed to meet the rest of the crew. Immediately, I spotted this insanely beautiful guy, and instantly, I knew I wanted to learn more about him. I’m not exactly sure what drew me in, but I was intrigued. I went to the bar to redeem my drink ticket for a baby Guinness, and when I returned, our table of three had grown by two – the beautiful guy and his friend. I learned his name was Sam. I learned he was Australian. I learned he was 23. And I learned that he would never ever go skydiving.

We “crawled” about Temple Bar to three more pubs and ended at a night club. Throughout the pub crawl, I learned more about him than I’ve even learned about my closest friends. We grew up more than 12,000 miles away from each other, yet our values, passions and families were all so similar. The connection we shared rivaled anything I’ve ever felt, and I got the feeling he felt the same.

The night ended in us practically swing dancing to “Grease Lightning” at the last club and holding hands down a street lit up with the twinkle of Christmas lights. We made plans to meet up in the morning to tour the beautiful city of Dublin, and said our good nights.

The whole next day, I was on cloud nine. Sitting on top of the Hop On-Hop Off bus, Sam and I saw all of the historical sites of Dublin together – Trinity College, Guinness Storehouse, Kilmainham Jail, Old Jameson Distillery. The last stop clearly was my favorite. Ending the day with a stroll back towards my hostel, the group all bought Christmas sweaters to wear out on our very own, self-made “12 Pubs of Christmas” Pub Crawl.

I Left My Heart in Dublin - KP Schwan

The group, clad in festive Christmas sweaters, enjoyed our last dinner in Dublin together at the Temple Bar Restaurant. We made our “schedule” of pubs to stop at and mentally prepared for what was to come throughout the night. We got a few noteworthy comments, lots of stares and countless laughs from the crowds as we roamed the streets of Dublin. Although we only made it to seven out of the twelve pubs, we sure made our mark at each one we stopped at.  After a long night of traditional Celtic music, dancing like crazy, riding on rickshaws, and getting called “eyesores,” we called it a night.

The next morning, my friend, his brother and I had to drive three hours down to Cork. It was the moment I’d been dreading – saying goodbye to Sam. After a tearful embrace and a promise to stay in touch, my hands left his, and I was on my way down to the southern coast. Little did I know that I wouldn’t have to say goodbye, just see you later….

I Left My Heart in Dublin - KP Schwan

[He’s, now, my very loving boyfriend of one year, and we live together in Sydney.]

The moral of the story is: I was exactly where I was supposed to be at the very moment that he was exactly where he was supposed to be.  Had I not decided against Graduate School because of the major I chose four years ago; Had I not chose to study abroad in Switzerland Session 1 using the money saved for Grad School; Had I not made amazing friends from studying abroad; Had I not decided to road trip through Ireland with my amazing friend; And had I not decided to go on that exact bar crawl on that exact night on our first night of the road trip…. I would have never met the love of my life.

Never compare where you are in your life to where you think you should be, whether that is a literal, physical location, a financial status quo or a state of mind. Every decision you’ve ever made, every mistake you’ve wished you didn’t make, every person you’ve ever met has led you to this moment. You can either wish to be somewhere else, or embrace where you’ve led yourself and find out why you’re there.

KP Schwan – KP is a full time wanderluster, part time travel blogger. She was born and raised on the sunny beaches of Florida, and now is based on the even sunnier beaches of Sydney, Australia. KP has worked in digital for two years, and is a freelance social strategist. She traveled to 22+ countries before turning 22 – her favourites being Ireland, Croatia and Costa Rica. In between trips, KP likes to practice yoga, write, run on the beach and plan the next big adventure.

Hometown: Fort Lauderdale, Florida

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