After years of dreaming, Bri Lee '16 took the leap and moved across the ocean.
Almost three years ago exactly, I traveled to Ireland for the first time. I remember walking around the streets of Dublin and feeling strangely content – like I was home. Those who know me best understand I rarely feel this way. I’ve always had a restless soul, a longing to be somewhere else.
“I could live here,” I said almost in disbelief to the friend I was traveling with.
My second visit this past June not only confirmed what I had felt before but deepened it and I decided I couldn’t put it off any longer.
“I WILL live here,” I said.
So when I returned home, I did my research, spent the year saving up by living at home and working a full-time job, bought my plane tickets, got a visa, secured a job, and moved across the Atlantic to Dublin with one giant suitcase and the determination to make my dream a reality.
Where do you live and work, and what do you do there?
Fast forward to now, I live in a bustling section of Dublin where I split my time between two jobs. Working as a receptionist at the super hip hotel called The Dean, I am able to meet travelers from all over the world and work in a fast-paced environment. When I’m not at The Dean, I get to use my passion for design and photography working as a content creator for an entertainment group called Press Up, which owns a variety of well-known restaurants, nightclubs, venues and hotels around Dublin.
Most of my weeks and weekends are spent working those two jobs, grabbing a pint or a bite to eat with friends and taking advantage of how easy it is to travel around Ireland. I love reading and relaxing in St. Stephen’s Green Park and taking the train outside the city to one of the coastal towns on my days off. It’s really not as glamorous as people may perceive it to be, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I worked extremely hard last year to make my dream of living and working abroad a reality, and now that I’ve done that, now that I’m here, I have a great appreciation for the everyday parts of life that have truly made my experience here so significant.
What is the best experience you've had there so far?
Without a doubt, it’s been the friends I’ve made. It’s been an absolute blessing having them by my side since arriving here. My friends and I have dealt with the immigration office, house hunting in a city with a housing crisis going on, opening a bank account and finding jobs. We’ve gone on day trips to explore other parts of Ireland and spent way too much money going out because it’s too fun exploring all the restaurants and pubs here in Dublin not to. Moving to another country is challenging to say the least, and I can’t stress enough how comforting it has been to know I’m not alone in this and that I’ve found people who can relate to the same things I’m going through and that we help each other along the way.
Plans for the future?
For once, no. And that’s OK. I feel as though the past few years of my life have been spent in this perpetual loop of longing for something else and somewhere else. Always looking to the future, always planning my next move, always feeling like I should do more. But being here, I don’t feel that way in the slightest. I finally feel very content with where I’m at in life and what I’m doing, so for once I’m OK with not looking or planning too far into the future. The only exception is my excitement for an upcoming trip to the Faroe Islands and having my family in Ireland for Christmas!
Anything else you would like to add?
Leaving my hometown, my family, my friends, my support, my job – all of this meant walking away from comfort to follow my heart despite the uncertainties that were bound to follow. This decision has led me to experience things I never even thought possible. I found a way to make my dream and reality collide. I did things that were miles beyond my comfort zone, and never took no for an answer. The reality, I learned, is if you feel like there’s something out there you’re supposed to be doing, if you have a passion for it, if you want it with all your heart – then stop wishing for it and dreaming about it. Just do it. Stop waiting for that perfect time, that perfect opportunity and go fully and unapologetically after whatever it is you want. Create the life you want to live.