For the holidays, my family and I were lucky enough to travel internationally for the first time together. I love to travel, and have taken a few camping trips around the US during the pandemic, to places like Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and West Virginia. I love taking photos during my trips, and I am also a food person, too. I eat a lot of different foods and am always excited to try local cuisine when I travel. Some of my favorite foods I’ve tried in New York, where I live, are Tikka Masala and grilled octopus.

 

My most recent trip was to Ireland. My family hasn’t traveled all together to another country before, beyond Canada. My five sisters, parents, and grandmother got negative COVID tests and packed our bags. We had a lot of fun there and I took a lot of pictures everywhere we went, including pubs. I’m a sports nut, so it was fun to watch a soccer match with my family.

 

But my favorite thing about the pubs in Ireland is the live music! A lot of pubs have local bands and musicians come in and sing traditional Irish music, or “trad” for short. The rest of the pub sometimes sings along, although my parents have been to pubs where they will actually shush you if you sing along. Although I didn’t know many of the words, it was fun to hear new music, especially live, and over a Bulmers cider.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A lot of people assume that because I have Down syndrome, I don’t like to drink alcohol. Some people with Down syndrome don’t drink, but I think that trying new drinks is just as important as trying new foods! On a recent trip to Florida, I had fun drinking chocolate martinis, and a frozen daiquiri on the beach. In Ireland, my family members enjoyed Guinness, Murphy’s, and different Irish whiskeys, but those drinks aren’t my style. However, I loved the Bulmers cider.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To eat, we had so much delicious food! Being an island, Ireland of course has great fresh seafood. I ate a lot of fish and chips, and my sisters had salmon. We also ate fresh lamb, great burgers, and lots of potatoes. Homemade brown bread was served with soup, and we loved the seafood chowder with fish and vegetables. Driving around Ireland, you can see a lot of farms, but also sheep roaming on mountains and fields, too. You can tell the food is good just from driving around!

 

 

 

This was my second international trip. In 2018, I went to Singapore with my sister Natasha, to visit my sister Rebecca, who was attending college there. Natasha and I live in New York together now, and we are both big photographers and foodies, so it was perfect! I’d love to go back to Singapore again. I loved exploring the botanic gardens, beaches, and historical neighborhoods. We did walking tours of Little India and old Chinatown, and took cable cars to see sunsets and forests. We also explored temples, which was so cool.

 

 

 

But as in Ireland, the food in Singapore was one of my favorite parts! It was all so different to me. Ireland has a lot of similar food to the United States, with some differences like a full Irish breakfast with beans and tomatoes. But Singapore has pastries that feature eggs as the main ingredient, and spicy noodles and minty soup. I had bubble tea for the first time in Singapore, and it was perfectly refreshing after such a hot day in the sun. I also tried sugar cane juice for the first time, and I loved it. It’s not a thick sweetness, it’s pretty tasty. I buy it sometimes in American grocery stores now, when I want to remember my trip to Singapore.

 

 

 

I can’t think of a better way to start off 2022 than by traveling with family. I was so grateful to be in Ireland with my family and my Grandmom. I didn’t just eat and drink, of course. I climbed a tower at the Cliffs of Moher, hiked around ancient stone circles in fields full of sheep, and did some shopping in different towns along the way. My whole trip was so awesome. I highly recommend traveling, and trying as many new things as possible.

 

 

 

 

Where should I go next?