A few years ago, my parents visited Ireland. My dad’s side of the family came from the Emerald Isle, and he was excited to go back and see some of those villages. Unfortunately, they did not take me along.
When they returned, they told me about these traditional Irish storytellers who would hang out in the pubs and the coffee shops, reciting ancient lore and tales of wisdom to anyone who would listen. These people were known as the Seanchaí.
The Irish have a rich folklore tradition. For over 2,000 years, they have focused on passing their history down through the oral tradition in the Celtic culture, which has remained relatively intact. It is the Seanchaí who are primarily responsible for the transfer of these stories from one generation to another.
I immediately wanted to book a trip to Dublin. The fact that I come from a culture with deep roots in storytelling was somehow comforting and yet frightening at the same time. I’ve never been to Ireland, but I hope to visit someday. I don’t have the oral storytelling chops of the Seanchaí, but maybe that’s something I could learn.
I still remember thinking about this as my parents were showing me pictures from their trip. I could hear the excitement in their voices. They had been to Italy, France, England, and other places throughout the world. Mostly Western cultures, but still different enough to mesmerize and inspire them.
I’ve traveled all over the United States and spent time in the Caribbean, as well as a short stint in Paris. Exposure to different cultures and ways of thinking are incredibly intoxicating.
Some people believe that it is more important to put down roots, especially if you have children. With two kids of my own, I can relate to this. You want stability for them, you want them to be able to grow up and have a hometown and a house they come back to when they get older. At the same time, there is so much to learn about the world by getting out there and experiencing it. Sometimes I’m sad for the people I remember from high school who are still living in the same town where they grew up, doing the same things with the same people.
As our children get older and college is on the horizon, there’s less of a need for us to stay rooted. My wife and I are already talking about becoming digital nomads, working from wherever we can with a laptop and a decent Wi-Fi connection. We’re not interested in dying in our house with goods we’ve accumulated over the decades and yet, have rarely touched.
We haven’t taken that step yet, but I can see it coming. Maybe our first stop will be Dublin.
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