Ireland, my love affair…

This week I’ve been reading my early posts about Ireland and looking at the Instagram photos I posted back then that captured how Ireland felt for me as I begin to write about that time in my book.

It reads like a love affair.

It was.

An unexpected full blown love affair.

I was swept off my feet by the Emerald Isle. Continue Reading

A Modern Day Seanchaí…

“The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity.” ~ Dorothy Parker

As I write a book about my travels and the journey towards that decision I’m writing this weekly journal alongside it.

I suppose it would be normal then that the themes will overlap here as I look to my daily life for examples of the ideas I’m thinking about and exploring in writing.

My life makes sense to me when I see it through a bunch of connected stories.

‘I’m bored’ whined Lucas yesterday. ‘That is so brilliant’ I tell him. ‘That means you need to go and make something or think about what you’d like learn about or play with. Ask yourself Louie what you want to make?’ I challenge him.
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Words, words, words…

What the heck has happened here? It feels like Mount Inspiration the volcano has erupted. The lava is spilling and spurting, it’s in free flow. I can stop the lava, the words. There are stories at every turn, in every conversation, the words are forming sentences in my head as I run, they invade my dreams. Heck, last night I couldn’t even sleep on account of the words that wanted to be written. You’d think for someone who wants to write that’s a good thing right? Except the more I write those words, the more my heart goes out into the world and in creep the niggles followed by the doubts.

Aren’t kids the greatest teachers? Little mirrors into ourselves. This morning on our way to visit family Jimmy is wearing a shirt and it’s hot, so he asks me to take it off. ‘Wait, when we stop’ I say. Jimmy, who taught himself to ride before I could even think about the old ‘hold the bike with a scarf’ trick decides he won’t wait. He slowly works his way up those buttons and teaches himself to undo them. Of course he does, he is dogged that one.

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Re-creating a moment, would you?…

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?

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In the shadows…


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.
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Building Armour…

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.

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The difference every day makes…

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.

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Shedding…

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’.

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Where my heart is…

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.

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