November 28, 2023 / CPOVs
CP Abroad With Brandy Shabowich
Brandy Shabowich, Assistant Marketing Manager
I vividly remember the day when Connelly Partners unveiled the CP Abroad Program. It seemed unreal that I could have the opportunity to live and work abroad for an extended period of time with colleagues from another CP office. Of course, I’d be lying if I didn’t say that it was also a little anxiety-inducing, especially as someone who had never lived, traveled, or even been on a plane alone before.
I knew that this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and with this in mind, I submitted my application. I told myself that no matter how “scary” it might seem, personal growth only comes when you step out of your comfort zone and push those intrusive thoughts away. So, on September 29, I stood in Logan Airport by myself, passport in hand, and boarded the bright green plane to Dublin. Seven hours later I had my first European stamp in my passport. One thing that stood out to me on my trip so far was the kindness and friendliness shown to me by everyone I encountered. It didn’t take long for Dublin to feel like home.
I was completely on my own which was the most freeing experience I’d ever felt in my life. I had to do things for myself, speak for myself and just figure it out. I finally realized that I could do what I wanted, when I wanted, at the pace I wanted. I traveled all around Ireland, alone. I went horseback riding, on a trail that was definitely not suited for a beginner like me. I was swept away by the beauty of Ireland. I am not kidding when I say that my jaw literally dropped on numerous occasions. Most importantly though, I met and connected with new people, from around the world. And I can’t forget to mention all the animals I saw. Especially the sheep. There were lots of sheep.
In the CP Dublin office, I was blessed to work alongside a stellar group of individuals. There was such a close-knit feeling among them and by the end of my first day, I felt like I had been working there for years. Each CP office has its own unique benefits and what I learned in Dublin is how seamlessly collaboration flows. Everyone sits together, which makes it so easy to approach one another. You don’t need to walk across the building to get to them.
My personal favorite observation came around lunchtime. Everyone left their desks to eat lunch together. No computers, no work. Just an actual break for lunch. In America, it’s common to eat lunch at your desk while working. I am guilty of this. But, while I was away, I embraced this practice. I got to know my colleagues on a more personal level and shared in so many laughs. Regardless of department, age, or position, folks just spent time with each other. It taught me the importance of remembering to prioritize yourself and your mental health.
From working with my fellow CPers in Dublin to embracing a new culture, and exploring on my own, I know now that I am capable of accomplishing whatever I set my mind to. If I could tell a past version of myself anything, it would be a reminder to be open to learning and connecting with others. Throughout my journey, I met so many amazing people from all different walks of life. Living and traveling solo might seem daunting at first, but you need to take that first step to see how empowering it actually is. Just use your head, be smart, and most importantly, believe in yourself.
This blog wouldn’t be complete without travel details, so here are a few:
- My favorite memories include horseback riding in Enniskerry, seeing the Wicklow Mountains, and watching a sheepdog demonstration near Glendalough.
- Farthest solo adventure: train trip to Cork, Cobh and Blarney Castle (yes, I kissed the Blarney Stone).
- Most spontaneous trip: visiting ancient ruins and burial grounds of the Boyne Valley, and contemplating what life was like thousands of years ago.
- After my time in Ireland, my mom joined me in London and Paris. The Changing of the Guard, Churchill War rooms, and lunch in the Eiffel Tower are all highlights.