I have never been more scared than I was when driving in the back seat of my family’s car on my way to the airport. I felt like I was 9 years old at Disney World, waiting in line for a rollercoaster that I had never been on before; but this time I wouldn’t be able to squeeze my dad’s arm when shit started to go upside down.

My 21st birthday is two days after I arrive in Dublin, so we celebrated with an Irish-themed birthday cake before I hit the road.

I have been waiting for the reality of this travel abroad decision to hit me for a while, to feel real. Even the night before I left felt like any other slumber in my bedroom. But yeah … I was hit hard as I pulled out of my quaint cul-de-sac neighborhood, and drove further and further away from my home … my safe haven for most of my life.

Am I really leaving for 4 months? It’s important to point out that I have never been away from my home, my room, my parents for more than 2 weeks, so coming to grips with the fact that I would not be back home for 111 days was basically impossible. Instead, I just felt like I was jumping into a black hole with no parachute, scared af.

 

Leave it to me to pack two oversized suitcases weighing nearly 2x my weight to further challenge my travels.

I did everything I could to not appear as terrified as I was.  But I’m sure it was crystal clear, especially to my dear mother who was trying – unsuccessfully – to keep it together herself. There was simply no amount of deep breaths I could take in to shake my feeling of dread. Doubts … just doubts … crossed my mind.

Why am I doing this? Can I even do this? Can my Mom book her flight to visit me next weekend? It took everything in me to not burst into tears as I pulled up to Logan Airport. I swear to God my legs were numb.

Now as I sit here on this Aer Lingus jet that officially launches my journey abroad, the sun is just rising over Ireland, obviously welcoming me my home away from home in stunning fashion.

The sun rises over Dublin as I make my descent into my 4-month abroad adventure.

And, at the risk of sounding cheesy, I think to myself that the beauty of this sunrise gives me hope; as though it’s telling me that everything is going to be okay … that I can do this … and it might actually be pretty fun.

I hope that dumb pretty sunrise is right.

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With an over-the-top LOVE for Boston, Shannon is a recent graduate of Wakefield Memorial High School now setting off to study Creative Industries at Bentley University. In between school, dance and entrepreneurial adventures, Shannon likes to celebrity-track, plan fun events, attend concerts, travel and hang out with friends … particularly her dog Bella. Shannon took on the challenge of creating Dirty Water Teen as part of her family’s company – Dirty Water Media – with plans to deliver the same entertaining and fun content that Dirty Water TV, Dirty Water Radio, Dirty Water Media, Dirty Water Sports & Dirty Water News have been doing for years. “Boston teens like to have fun,” says Shannon. “And Dirty Water Teen is a cool way to stay on top of the trends, attend the hottest events, and stay on top of the latest trends, styles, music, sports and experiences here in this amazing city!”

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