*screaming internally from behind my laptop*
Finally. This has been a project in the works for quite some time now – a lot of heartache, planning, and hoping – that this would all finally work out and now that it is official I am so excited to share it with everyone. I would like to apologize for keeping on the down-low and being so secretive for so long, but with a life change this big I didn’t want to make too many waves if it didn’t work out. Plus, I have to admit, there was a tiny part of me the entire time that was completely terrified it wouldn’t work out and nothing would have made me sadder than to tell everyone the dream did not come true. But as the title so happily exclaimed, I will be moving to Ireland next month (more screaming).
You probably have a lot of questions by now. Like why Ireland? What prompted me to move abroad? How long are you going for? Do you know anybody there? Why now? What are you going to be doing? Guy, - hakuna matata.
A couple of months ago, I was really struggling; I had a commissioned photography job right after graduation and after it ended it was hard to stay positive and on my feet. No matter how many photography jobs I applied for, none of them seemed to be the one as the silence or rejection letters can rolling back in. Now some of you are probably like “That’s normal,” or “That’s not such a big deal your right out of college,” trust me, I’ve heard it all and said it a million times myself, but it still didn’t sound true in my head. I felt like I wasn’t making opportunities but was waiting around for them, feeling trapped by my situation and everything was beginning to feel out of my control. After beating myself up a bit over it, I decided I needed to change my approach, my mindset, and create opportunities for myself. Back in October, I started looking at opportunities to work or volunteer abroad. Nowhere in particular, but I just needed to get active and get moving around with my camera.
I didn’t really know what I was looking for at the time, I was just on a mission to find an experience or an opportunity to try and learn something new and hopefully be able to do photography at the same time. After a few weeks of research, I discovered a program, BUNAC and their program to work in Ireland for a year. BUNAC is a program for students or young adults a year out of college that helps them get their visa, jobs, and basically get started in another country when they move abroad for a year. They have programs in a few places around the world and are based out of the UK with a center in the US, as well. After a while, it just made sense. I’ve never made it to Ireland when I was studying abroad in London, and if I’m living in Ireland I’ll be so close to London I can go back anytime.
While I spent a lot of time researching until I was positive it was the right choice for me, I didn’t actually decide to apply or begin the process of applying until January. In January, I applied through BUNAC and began the Irish Working Holiday Application (WHA) process to get my visa and began to plan the possible move to Ireland. It took a few days to sort out all of the information, fill out all of the forms, pay the fees (ugh, money.), but the worst part was the waiting. After I sent my documents to the Irish Consulate in Chicago it was about a 4-8 week waiting period for Stage One of the visa to be completed. At times, the weeks seemed to drag on and on and then, almost instantly, it felt like two weeks had gone by and still no news. I did not handle the anticipation or the endless agony of not knowing well.
But if I had any patience, I wouldn’t have minded the knowing wait. Eventually, I received my confirmation for my Stage One application and went to Chicago shortly after to complete Stage Two to get my working holiday visa.
Now trust me, in writing this sounds like this was a walk in the park but this is me we are talking about so trust me guys, something went wrong on every step. I had some issues on step one and had to resend some forms (so that delayed Stage One a bit) and when I went to Chicago my travel health insurance just wasn’t quite detailed enough (of course). I had to coordinated with BUNAC and the health insurance provider to get addition information to fulfil Stage Two requirements for the visa (the stress level while I was in Chicago was beyond high. Thank god for good friends and scoring some cheap Hamilton tickets to keep me going). In the end, everything came together.
My visa is good for a year so I am planning on living in Ireland for the entire year. If something goes wrong, emergency, etc., then the plan will change. I am going to be coordinating with the Dublin team through BUNAC to find a place to live and a job (probably something in the hospitality industry but you never know I might be able to find something in the photography industry). And ultimately, I will be doing a lot of photography, you can count on that.
So ultimately, I will be packing my bags taking off next month. Hopefully I will have the apartment and job somewhat sorted out before I get to Ireland (that is the current goal), but I am kinda going with the flow right now and I hope you all will join me for it.
My inbox is always open so feel free to send some love, tips for Ireland (still prepping), and any questions I can answer.
xx A Traveler's Bliss | Grace Anne
(hey - hey you. click the bliss above... do it.)