Articles by Laura Lopuch

Laura Lopuch is a freelance writer. She is a bookworm, has gypsy blood running through her veins, and has flown on 35+ flights with just a carry-on. When not traveling, she can be found hiking Colorado's mountains with her dogs.

You can follow Laura on Twitter or Google+.

Saint Patrick’s Day is just about a month away and now is a great time to plan a little late winter-early spring getaway to celebrate with green beer, clover leaf kitsch, and and your “Kiss me, I’m Irish!” shirt. This year St. Patrick’s Day falls on a Friday, which provides the perfect excuse to throw a few things in your Outbreaker travel backpack and take a long weekend. Fly out Thursday after work, and be back Sunday night late.

St. Patrick, a priest and missionary to the Irish pagans, died March 17 461 CE. Hence, St. Patrick’s Day and the celebrations occurring on the day of his death. At first, March 17th was a religious holiday. According to rumor, Americans are the ones who turned this somber religious day into a drinking fest mashed with a parade.

The rest, they say, is history… and lots of green celebrations happening the world over.

In no particular order, here are 10 of the best destinations to visit to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day:

Dublin, Ireland

Ah, the motherland; let’s start here. It doesn’t get better than St. Patrick’s Day in green Dublin. This is the St. Patrick’s Day trip to make your other St. Paddy’s Day trips green with envy. (Green, get it? Ha.)

For more in-depth reading, Cailin, of Travel Yourself, has great tips for making your Dublin St. Patrick’s Day trip a success.

Why are you still reading this article? Just go and experience Dublin on St. Patrick’s Day already!

Best Irish Pub

Want the true old-fashioned Dublin pub life? Go to Grogan’s. Enjoy a Guinness at an outdoor table or inside at their bar where famous Irish writers once chased the muse in a pint glass.

Need something a little harder? Opt for The Palace Bar in Temple Bar. Upstairs, it’s a temple dedicated to Irish whiskey.

Must do:

  • Festival Treasure Hunt: Explore Dublin on an urban treasure hunt as you solve clues and see a new side of Dublin.
  • St. Patrick’s Day Parade: Starting at 12:01 p.m. on Friday, March 17, this St. Patrick’s Day parade is full of spectacular pageantry and imagination brought to life. Best advice: get there at least an hour early for a good spot.
  • Wander Dublin at Night: In celebration of St. Patrick’s Day, Dublin goes green. As in, many of the iconic buildings are lit up by green lights at night.
  • Guinness Storehouse: Tour the original location of the Guinness beer factory, but do it before or after the 17th. This tour is not to be missed.

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About one in five Americans suffer from a type of mental disorder in a given year, according to NAMI.

Travel, with the changes in routine and situations, is a huge trigger for mental disorders like anxiety and bipolar.

Does that mean you should deny your wanderlust and stay home? Only you (and your doctor) can answer that question. And your answer may vary, depending on the type of travel you’d like to do and your mental health at any given time.

If you do decide to travel, these resources might help you stay healthier on the road and find the connections you need in a crisis while traveling. Of course this list is not comprehensive, this just covers some of the resources for some of the more common mental health issues. You should always consult your doctor and make a mental health and safety plan for travel, just as you would for your physical health and safety.


The NAMI found that little over 18% of American adults have experienced an anxiety disorder.

Anxiety is especially hard when you’re traveling. Your ability to control the environment vanishes, and with it, your sense of well-being. That loss of control can lead to panic attacks.

Avid traveler and author, Lauren Juliff, writes honestly and extensively on her blog about traveling the world with an anxiety disorder.

At 16 years old, she had her first panic attack. By age 18, she stopped going outside for fear of having one of her multiple, debilitating panic attacks in public.

After ruining her sister’s birthday dinner, Lauren decided change had to happen. She had planned on traveling the world with her boyfriend, but when they broke up, she canceled her trip. But her desire to travel lingered. She couldn’t travel alone… could she?

After some intense soul-searching, she decided to find out. Her journey hasn’t stopped yet.

“I think part of the reason why travelling has helped my anxiety is the control it gives me over my life,” Lauren says. “A substantial amount of my panic attacks stemmed from feeling like I wasn’t in control — commitments like having to go to college or work every day would make me anxious because I was worrying I’d have a panic attack there and wouldn’t be able to escape.”

“With travel, I have no commitments and total freedom. If I’m struggling with anxiety, I can hide away in my room until I feel better, because I can do whatever I want, whenever I want.”

“Travel has been the one thing that helped me conquer my anxiety more than anything else. Sometimes it downright terrifies me, but it also challenges me by forcing me to leave my comfort zone and comforts me by giving me the freedom to do whatever I want, whenever I want.”

“The combination of all three has done wonders for my mental health. I’ve reached the point where I struggle to even think of something that would take me out of my comfort zone, and I’ve proven that it’s possible to travel the world with a debilitating anxiety disorder.”

“I can’t begin to describe just how hard conquering anxiety was, but it’s turned me into an incredibly strong person. Knowing that I was able to turn my life around — that ten years ago I wasn’t able even to step outside of my room, and now I’m traveling the world, and have been happily doing so for nearly three years — blows my mind,” says Lauren.

“It shows me that I can do anything I set my mind to.”
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“Don’t take this the wrong way, but leave your Tiffany necklace at home,” My boss said and leaned in to emphasize her point. “Keep the fancy jewelry at home.”

Our husband and wife clients, my boss — the named female partner of the law firm — and I were sitting around the enormous, sleek conference room table. It was the Friday before a Monday when our clients’ civil trial began.

Welcome to the talk on How to Dress at Trial.

“You don’t want to give the jury the wrong impression that you could afford a verdict against you,” My boss said. “Or they might feel persuaded to hand out a large monetary verdict.”

Wondering what this has to do with travel? Hang on, it’ll tie together.

I was a litigation paralegal before becoming a freelance writer. I worked for a law firm which represented defendants (aka the ones being sued) in civil cases like car accidents, slip and falls, and a weird variety of other crazy schemes dreamed up in our litigation-obsessed society.

“Wear plain stud earrings. Avoid big jewelry and brand names like your Tiffany necklace,” My boss said. The wife touched her silver Tiffany necklace, the trademark chain looped through a key.

My boss’ advice was delivered with the goal of winning the case (we did), but the intent translates to traveling with jewelry.

Consider the Jewelry You Travel With

We’re judged by our fellow humans on the trappings we adorn ourselves with. Trappings like jewelry, clothes, shoes, sunglasses, jackets, bags. As trite as it sounds, our incomes and bank accounts are summed up by the brands and size of diamonds that we wear. Spot a two carat diamond flashing in sunlight and I assume the wearer (or her significant other) has money to burn.

If I didn’t have two coins to rub together and I was desperate enough, I might consider robbing her two carats to buy myself the necessities… or a luxury.

Or, following her back to her lush hotel room and grabbing her jewelry bag, which must be overflowing with other costly, sparkly jewelry. Just sayin’.

Of course, not everyone thinks like this, but when you travel with expensive, irreplaceable jewelry, you worry about the simplest things. Like taking your rings off to wash your hands and forgetting your pile of rings next to the sink, as my college roommate did in our apartment.

Only when you travel, it’s much harder to return to that sink and reclaim your rings. Especially if you’re on a day-long bus ride from Rome to Salzburg and that sink is now 50 miles in the rear view mirror. Click to continue…