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Ireland

When I was growing up, my family took long drives into the middle of nowhere. Sometimes we'd stay in Ohio, and other times we'd end up in Indiana or Kentucky by accident. I didn't always like these drives at the time, but they're one of the things I miss most about my childhood.

So now, I love traveling by car. Being behind the wheel gives you a kind of freedom other modes of transport simply can't. You're free to stop wherever and whenever you want. You're free to choose the scenic route, take a two hour detour down an unmarked dirt path, or pull over to photograph sheep. You're free to leave the map behind.

I always feel more connected to the places I'm able to drive. Maybe it's because I, inevitably, see more of the place than I would otherwise. Maybe it's because driving suits my personality of observer, not participant. Or maybe it's because of the kind of moments I had in Ireland.

Ireland made me stop. I was stunned by the variety of landscapes, and by the way I felt looking out over everything. Those moments — in a small, green country not that far from the United States, but still a world away — made me realize how very big it all is, and how very small at the same time. There's so much out there, and, simultaneously, so much right in front of us. We just need to look.