I recently traveled abroad on a faculty-led program to Ireland, where we began in Dublin and made a large circle to visit other cities, including Wexford, Killarney, Doolin, Inishmore, Galway, and Clifden. Most of our preparation for the coursework involved in the program consisted of reading articles and consuming Irish media to become somewhat accustomed to Irish culture before visiting. However, this course was also a survey of Irish geography, so a lot of physical activity was involved, but mostly hiking, walking, and biking. I knew we had an approximately ten-mile-long hike on the second full day of the trip, so I needed to get more physically acclimated to that level of intensity. I began spending more time outside on trails near my home and I also borrowed a bike so I could learn how to ride in anticipation of a bike ride on the Aran Islands. After not riding a bike for over a decade, it was definitely an experience to relearn. Packing was also an adventure because I had never really been abroad before, and other than a rudimentary list I was combating it blindly. I purchased a 110-liter duffel bag that was on wheels, and absolutely over-packed. Though I wore everything that I packed at least once, a considerable portion of it was unnecessary and just took up space. But because the bag was so large, I still had a lot of space for souvenirs, so it did not particularly matter. Other than the packing situation, I feel that I planned quite well for my trip abroad. By studying the culture beforehand and doing my best to prepare my body physically I did not feel overwhelmed while abroad, even though parts were a challenge. Though, I think any new experience will be challenging in a certain way.
Selfie from the peak of the mountain on the ten-mile hike in Glendalough National Park