Warning: This post contains unrecognizable and mildly disgusting photographs of a younger and less fashionable Ren.

The first trip Keeley and I took together was to New York City. It was also my first time in an airplane (I have more than made up for it since).

We saw Wicked on Broadway, tested out the Sorting Hat at FAO Schwarz on Fifth Avenue (now gone but forever in our hearts) and, in one afternoon, walked all the way from Battery Park to Central Park in Florida-grade humidity (and New York’s unique blend of urine and hot garbage stench).

Making like tourists in Times Square. You can see the ring I bought for Keeley.

Making like tourists in Times Square. You can see the ring I bought for Keeley.

One night, before we left for the show, I gave her a simple sapphire ring from Kays. We had been dating for two months, tops. She made me promise not to tell her mom.

For a reason I still can’t understand, we were scheduled for a brief layover in Boston on the way back to Buffalo. Our flight was delayed, and we were granted a full day in the Beantown courtesy of JetBlue. We waded through the waters of the Frog Pond and giggled at the bus driver’s unintelligible-to-our-ears accent. I had my first Sam Adams that night.

At the Frog Pond in Boston Commons. We had been wearing the same clothes for well over 24 hours.

At the Frog Pond in Boston Commons. We had been wearing the same clothes for well over 24 hours.

We didn’t mind that we had no clean clothes, no toothbrushes, no deodorant. We were freshly in love.

A month later and three days before our last fall semester at the University at Buffalo, we absconded to Toronto for the weekend. I blew off my grueling overnight job and never went back. So it goes.

At Casa Loma in Toronto. The place was nice and all, but the beds looked uncomfortable.

At Casa Loma in Toronto. The place was nice and all, but the beds looked uncomfortable.

In the morning, we pondered the meaning of the Dead Sea Scrolls on display at the Royal Ontario Museum. At night, we carried an $8 liter of strawberry Arbor Mist to our hotel room and rushed back out when we realized we didn’t have a bottle opener. It turned out we didn’t need one — cheap wine twists off. But we still have that bottle opener.

The traffic back was miserable.

In the fall, we visited Texas’s South Padre Island on a free trip for student journalists. We bought straw hats, tasted oyster shooters and were made fun of by a flamboyant Margaritaville-playing singer when our shrimp was delivered with intact faces. It was Keeley’s first visit to the Gulf of Mexico.

The ride tide was terrible at South Padre Island. We coughed and wheezed as we walked along the Gulf for the very first time.

The ride tide was terrible at South Padre Island. We coughed and wheezed as we walked along the Gulf for the very first time.

We moved, sight unseen, to a St. Petersburg apartment the next summer.

Since then, we’ve been to the Blue Ridge Mountains, Orlando, Miami and back to Buffalo more times than we can count.

 
We visited the Pisgah Inn at the Blue Ridge Mountains for Andy and Catie's wedding.

We visited the Pisgah Inn at the Blue Ridge Mountains for Andy and Catie’s wedding.

Our first trip to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando. Keeley was spellbound. Ren pledged for Slytherin.

Our first trip to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando. Keeley was spellbound. Ren pledged for Slytherin.

But we’ve never been overseas.

That’s changing later this month… because we’re going to Ireland for our honeymoon!

Our flight out of Buffalo airport is at 2:30 p.m. on the day after our wedding. I know, I know… we’re cutting it close. We have a brief layover in Washington D.C. before we arrive in Dublin at the lovely hour of 5:20 a.m. local time.

We plan to stay in Dublin until Wednesday, visiting landmarks like Dublin Castle, the Guinness Storehouse, the Old Jameson Distillery, Kilmainham Gaol and more. Then we’ll rent a car and head to Brú na Bóinne, a pre-Stonehenge temple that aligns to the light on the equinox. From there, it’s B&Bs in Galway and Killarney, the Cliffs of Moher and the Ring of Kerry, and then we head back to Dublin for a long flight home.

 

You may have seen that we decided to put together a Honeyfund instead of a more traditional wedding registry. We really do have all we need for a comfortable life in our apartment in St. Petersburg, but we’d love if you could help us see and do more during our week in Ireland. We’re so grateful to you all for helping us make our first overseas trip so special, and rest assured we’ll have plenty of pictures to share with you.

That said, what should we know? Do you have any tips for traveling overseas? Is an eyemask essential for a long flight? Are noise-canceling headphones worth it? Where should we exchange our dollars for euros? Is a money belt too dorky?

We’d love to hear your tips, either through comments here (or on Facebook) or at the wedding.