After three vivid dreams about a mysterious man and a plane, I moved from Mallow to Mallorca

‘Painfully single since Christ was a child’, a Cork woman found love in Mallorca

Liz Golden is from Mallow, Co Cork. She left Ireland in July 2019 and now lives in Palma de Mallorca, where she works as a primary teacher and private tutor

We can travel the world from an armchair. Our transportation can take the form of memories, an absorbing book, a captivating movie or documentary, even simply listening to the travel tale of another human being.

It was 2014. I was 33 years old and working as a teacher in a fantastic primary school in Cork city. I was surrounded by good friends and family. I was healthy. I had also been painfully single since Christ was a child. I bought a little house in the middle of Mallow town. It was the town where I grew up and after the death of my father, a magnetic force had pulled me back there. My family had been embedded in the fabric of the town for years as business people. The streets, the town park and of course the beautiful Mallow Castle had been my playground as a child.

There was something else out there for me and I just knew I would have to be very brave to chase after it

Sitting on above-mentioned armchair one day while studying a matt Dulux walls and ceilings paint strip intently with a hot cuppa in my hand, I was finally beginning to believe what some people said. That the travel bug in my gut was now a thing of the past (along with the mammoth parasitic infection I picked up in rural Cambodia circa 2010 - I’ll spare you the delightful details for now). So this was it. I was settling nicely into my third decade complete with matching cushions and electric blankets on every (empty) bed. I was home where I belonged. Or so I thought...

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The thing is I was born with a somewhat wandering soul. The walls of my home were adorned with photographic evidence of my escapdes from Saigon to Sydney and from Kenya to Kathmandu. I was physically settled, but no more than that.

The paint was hardly dry on my townhouse walls when a very small, very buried voice deep down began to make itself known. This little voice is inside us all I suppose, but it needs you to spend time alone in order to listen to it properly and to hear where it might be wanting to guide you or what it is trying to tell you. I wanted to move. There was something else out there for me and I just knew I would have to be very brave to chase after it.

It took a few years to build up the courage, but in 2019 after many sleepless night and a series of three life-changing and vivid dreams involving a mysterious man, a plane and a long stretch of road, I sold my house. Not long after I resigned from my job. I was absolutely petrified.

Back in my old bedroom in my mother's house I rested for a few months and let the dust settle. Ryan Tubridy's voice came over the airwaves one March morn. He was interviewing a man named Tom who, along with his wife, was relocating to Sri Lanka to spend his retirement closer to his surf instructor son in a place called Happy Bay in Welligama. I decided to contact the show and ask if Tom would be interested in talking to me so we could share stories and maybe I might take a trip to Sri Lanka.

Open a hostel on the beach? Why the hell not? I got hold of his number and by pure chance he was going to be passing through Mallow the following day. We met for a coffee and talked about life. Tom and his wife were nice people. They embodied all that was good about Irish folk. They were friendly, warm and adventurous. I decided to go to Sri Lanka for one month.

Three days before I was due to fly on April 21st, 2019 Islamist terrorists targeted three churches and three hotels in Colombo, one of which I was booked into, killing 267 people. The Irish Government advised against all travel there. This close call took my breath away. I unpacked my bags, put my travel guide back on the shelf and had another cup of tea with my mother in her kitchen. I had no plan B.

It was late May by now and I was feeling increasingly lost. My brother, who lived in Mallorca but was in South America for the summer, called me up and offered me his apartment in central Palma for a few weeks. A chance to regroup as the execs might say.

Four nights after setting foot on Spanish soil I was stood under a palm tree in the city’s Placa España, the humid summer air hanging low on my white freckly shoulders, a busker strumming his guitar gently beside the fountain when I heard a voice. “Hola, are you Liz?”

If you live overseas and would like to share your experience with Irish Times Abroad, email abroad@irishtimes.com with a little information about you and what you do