WEST JEFFERSON-Few people are willing to move out of their comfort zone to pursue their true dreams and ambitions.
Mac Johnson is one of those people.
The precocious jet-setter recently silenced her inner fears and doubts by embarking on a transatlantic voyage to Ireland to realize her lifetime enchantment with the emerald island.
As a prelude to attend veterinarian school, Johnson seized an opportunity that allowed her to work on an organic farm in Ireland in exchange for room, board and food through the World Wide Organization of Organic Farmers.
“So I stayed with three different families all over Ireland and on the weekends I traveled by bus or train to bigger cities and toured around there,” said Johnson on her recent stay. “I’m hoping to go to vet school and this was a good opportunity for me to work with farm animals while also being abroad.”
Ireland was not Johnson’s first stop as a globetrotter.
“After I studied abroad in Tanzania in college I knew I wanted to keep traveling and learning from different cultures after graduation, so it was just a matter of figuring out how,” said Johnson. “I had always wanted to go to Ireland so I made that dream a reality by working really hard this summer and saving up my money. I guess the main motivation for going to Ireland alone was just the need to explore the world and kind of take the time to figure out myself in a way.”
Aside from truly discovering herself, Johnson used the sabbatical as a period of self discovery and personal growth.
“I’d say the biggest lesson I learned was just being open to new experiences, because in my opinion you get so much more out of life that way,” said Johnson. “At times it was hard being by myself and so far away from my family, but when I allowed myself to get involved with the families and really connect with them it made it ten times easier. Plus I think everyone we come into contact with has something to teach us in a way, so for me it’s just important to be open to those experiences.”
There were other surprises along the way for Johnson. Some of these perks also made her stay across the sea a little more comfortable.
“I was really humbled by everyone’s kindness,” she said. “I’m not exaggerating when I say I didn’t meet one rude Irishman or woman while I was there. It seemed like they were always welcoming and ready to help each other out.”
Moreover, Johnson learned how globally connected America is with the international community and how what happens stateside can have a reverberating affect elsewhere.
“I was also really surprised at how invested they were in our election process and American politics,” she said. “I think I watched more American news than Irish news while over there. But it’s interesting as an American, to live with a foreign family and really come to understand how they see America, our culture, economy and social issues. Especially, the influence our politics have all over the world.”
Reach Jesse Campbell at 336-846-7164.