One sunny afternoon in April 2004 Greg, baby Tommy (6 months) and I wandered through the enchanting city of Venice, or, as the Italians call it Venetzia. We fell head over heels in love with this romantic city. We rambled through the cobblestone streets without direction. Many memories were made during this trip and the Venetian mask I bought there has survived 6 or so house moves, my minimising and it now sits all whimsey on my typical Dutch window sill. The type that has plants and edges so closely to the street that you feel part of the daily life that walks and cycles past throughout the day. The mask has been broken and glued back together. It cracked in half again this trip, the feathers look a little worse for wear but it still lives here. I treasure this mask with it’s own story. It reminds me of how Venice felt to me that trip, mystery to uncover. On our most recent adventure I walked over the bridge into Venice with a question a friend had recently asked me on my mind. If I had a perfect memory would I risk it by going back and trying to recreate that moment again?
The gentle unfolding of what I would do in The Netherlands began here. In this moment, at the Sagrada Familia. I didn’t realise it then but a significant shift was moving within me.
‘In the shadows’ I called the shot. I’d looked for the typical tourist shot. The one that would capture this grand, whimsical masterpiece of Antoni Gaudí, architect and artist.
I enjoy running, I always have. I’m not a fast runner nor will I ever be. I don’t run for speed or times (I did years ago). Now, it’s purely about the meditation, time out, fitness and endorphins.
This trip I am endeavouring to run often. It can be scary heading down a path you don’t know. Really scary. Some days there are overgrown paths, graffitied abandoned buildings, some days the paths are silent bush paths, others the beach is alongside me and my fellow joggers pass by with a “bonjour” or a “hola”.
Many thoughts come when I run and on some days, I’ll get the big brain farts. A new term I picked up from the lovely Cybele Masterman of Blah Blah Magazine. It’s the brain farts I’m going to write about while I travel.
Around this time last year I watched a few insta friends as they took to the streets snapping photos for the @24hourproject.
Could I do that? No way. a. I would need to ask people if I could snap them (remember I am a shy introvert). And b. I’m a photo-taking hack, not a photographer.
Fast forward a year and a I’ve taken a whole lot of photos. I have built some confidence after helping Zoë with her One Girl fundraiser. That fundraiser showed me that one of the reasons I keep my life simple is so that I can jump on board when something I care about crosses my path.
So, when this year’s project came up and it turned out that I would be in Dublin on my own for the weekend and a little gentle encouragement from Rachael aka @thebowerbirdgirl (an actual real street photographer), I signed up.
It would have been easy to say no but what an adventure I would have missed out on. I’m not sure how it happened but I adopted the persona of Fran the street photographer. I actually thought I was one, maybe I really was.
Some time ago I decided to create a life that I didn’t need to holiday from.
The majority of my life has been lived in this way, moving, adventuring, trying new things.
It’s not that I can’t commit or that I don’t like to nest, I love both of those things. I’m just a mover.
When I was younger it was just me, and then just Greg and me. No one questions you when you’re young and moving. Everyone’s doing it.
I am also a minimalist. Again, I’ve always lived like this, wanting less, letting go, moving on from situations that don’t serve me well.
As we leave Ireland after 3 months of slow, quiet living to hit the road in our 6 berth camper for the next 5 months I think it’s important to acknowledge that a trip like this and living like this isn’t something that you do overnight. It’s also why this doesn’t feel like a holiday for me, it’s the next life chapter.
This post uses photos from a recent camper trip to County Kerry, no doubt Ireland has a little of my heart. It’s a lyrical country with a language that sings and a landscape that touches your soul. There’s a reason so many poets and writers come from Ireland. As Seamus Heaney said ‘it’s the thing that’s in the air and part of who we are’.
Oh Ireland, you are lovely as your seasons change.
February has breezed through (sometimes howled) and with it new learnings, adventures, family visits, a change of season and the arrival of ‘The Travelodge’.
In the background a little niggle, some uneasiness. Something is shifting, in part the season and definitely me. I’m changing, adjusting.
March is now upon us and the shift is slowly unfurling and we’re in Spring, full blown Spring.
A layer of clothing has been shed and we’re surrounded by daffodils and blossoms. The tiny buds are appearing on those big, strong, bare winter trees.
Here I sit at a destination, a desk in a country village in Ireland. There is only the noise that I’ve chosen to hear, our possessions are minimal and there is freedom, freedom to make time for what matters. It’s also a beginning, the year is new, there is much unknown, the path is fresh, open and deliciously exciting. What to create?
Leaving Sydney wasn’t hard, time was up. This realisation of this travel dream is not only about the travel but also the chance to have a family adventure, to create a chapter where we will grow as independently yet together as a family. Time together for what matters, each other. After three years of long hours and a massive decline in lifestyle it was time for Greg to come back to us. It’s his time to renew, find his fitness and free himself from the grind. Continue Reading