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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Closing one door...

It's only been 7 days and a new stage of the book feels to have approached. So much has happened and things seem to be changing already. The amount of people who are sending their congrats, is really amazing. It's something I never acknowledged would happen. When choosing to 'write about the writing', it was to keep track of all that's involved when creating a book (especially as it's only my first one ;)). I did have doubts whether or not to keep others updated, but then I figured that because this is a travelblog - and travelling is what I'll still be doing - then there was no need to stop this line of communication... And I'm ecstatic that I didn't!

On Friday I felt I was closing one door and opening another. In the literal sense; I was closing the door to the office where I'd spent hours upon hours sitting at the desk, gazing through the window and taking every ounce of inspiration I could from the feelings I was having and the world I was able to envision through my mind. It was suddenly closed, as I 'let the world know' about the completion of my first draft. And with that, I was opening the door to the world again. But I was taking something extra with me. I was taking the computer file containing my story and taking the lessons these past 4 months have given me, out into the world. Where was I heading? Once I opened that front door and felt safe to give all that I've got, to those around me - which was something I wasn't always able to do, for fear of stopping the flow - I was heading down the main street, to meet Kelly! In the afternoon, this special backpacking buddy, who I hadn't seen for nearly 3 years, felt to have come falling out of the sky and landed herself in the main street of Arklow: the town I'd aways rejected as being my place of origin yet suddenly the town that had given me the opportunity to make one of my lifetime dreams become a reality!

Her visit. To talk about perfect timing, would be an understatement. And to say it was amazing the way in which we still connected, wouldn't reflect how strongly our had become - even in our distance. Spending 2 days together represented the next and new stage of... the book and of my life... However over the top that may sound, it doesn't bother me. Because the book 'simply' was my life; my past and my present and it will definitely take-up a part of my future too ;)

Opening another!

This leads me to answer questions that others have been asking.. What's the next step? Well, as with any BABY, it needs to be introduced to the world, it needs to be loved and cared for, it needs the best of the best in terms of support and recognition. All so it develops into what it's meant to be, and so much more! As I'm writing this, it's being read by the most important person: my Mam. Once that's done, I'll know if I'm comfortable with how it is, in its current state and if things should be added or taken away and then I'll find out how to protect it (COPYWRITE!!!!).

It's all very odd, because it's still totally up to me who I approach and what route I take in order for it to grow. I'm searching for a publishers that will see it for what it is, maybe suggest some edits that need to be made - which also could confirm a few doubts that I have myself regarding some of the content. That sounds like a perfect world??!!! Well, guess what? It can be a perfect world, if I choose to see it in that light. Rejection is something I can only grow stronger from and it will challenge me to stand in my truth - in the truth that IS the book. Not everyone will like it, not everyone will approve and many will find it too painful, difficult, deep or dark. But, again, it's my story and it's what I've been carrying around with me, ever since I left Ireland in April 2009.

I realized that I was in India, dreaming of writing, I even knew the title and what it was that needed to be brought into the world. And that's exactly what I've done, it's what I've created and it's not to seek approval from anybody or anything. The book has become an expression of who I was and how I've become who I am today. It's what I aimed to create. I can do whatever I please with the opinions, suggestions and constructive criticism of the world - be that on a personal or a professional level. It's an inevitable element of the next stage.

So the coming month, this is what I must do... Simply be with my baby without fear of it being wrong or right. It's something I've dreamt of doing, and I made it happen. That alone gives me all the strength and reassurance I need when 'gelling' with the world that lies behind the book we simply see on the shelves in every bookshop!!!

The world, and whatever aspect of it we're opening ourselves up to, can be as challenging, easy, harsh or perfect as we ourselves make it out to be!!!
And for me, this next stage of the book, is filled with just as many lessons and revelations as the first stage... For now, I'm in Holland, until the 31st to spend Christmas with the family. I'm keeping these days as light as light can be and once Mam has been properly introduced to my baby, I'll know what to do: Trust, trust and trust some more - that everything is working as it should!!!

Friday, December 17, 2010

The delivery room

I first of all wasn’t going to spill this part of the story, but I just can’t contain myself, so I don’t see why I should..!!! Here it goes.

On Thursday I personally made my way to Dublin, with my baby in my bag. I had 320 A4 pages, put into a huge envelope and I was setting out to approach the publishers who were miraculously holding a competition for those who had written a book! All entrants had to have their manuscript in their publishing house... by the 17th!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Can you believe the coincidence!!!!! The deadline I’d set for myself and the deadline this publishing house had set, were the same!!!!!!!! This was too much for me to take in. But I did I take it in, because it was reason number 3 for me to put the pressure on myself in terms of finishing the first draft! So yesterday, the 16th, turned out to one of the biggest milestones of my life. Really really really! Even with the doubts I was having of what had eventually become my story, I still felt like I was floating on air, as I made my way to Dublin, to hand deliver my baby! Yes, the news is, I’ve been secretly giving birth for the past... 9 weeks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And the step I took yesterday, made every single moment worthwhile!

I had no clue of where I was going, my shoulder was aching with this heavy manuscript that contained so many details of my past and of which I was about to unburden my body and soul (!!!!!) from! Finding the publishers, turned out to be so easy - absolutely everything was working in my favour. People helped me to get to where I needed to be, and suddenly there it stood! The place where magic happens: The publishers. Man, I got goose-bumps when I first set eyes on it and I felt like this was only the beginning... of the rest of my life!!! Wow... All those feelings of panic, exhaustion, sleepless nights, they were all in aid of that moment: I stood in the doorway and was greeted by a guy who works there. He was delighted to see my baby! I opened my bag and wanted to hand it to him, but my baby was stuck! The envelope was jammed and sitting so snugly in my bag! The baby was reluctant for us to part ways. But this guy was so excited that I was hand-delivering, and so he was only too happy to help! His exact words were: “Your baby won’t come out!” I’m like: “it’s stuck!” But together we brought my 'first' into the world!!!!!!! I was ecstatic... 2 minutes after the delivery, I was walking away; 2 kilo’s lighter (without any extra baby weight!) and feeling brighter than ever before. I cried some tears of relief and joy (yet again.. seems to be something I’ve been doing quite a lot of lately) and with that, a whole new stage of creating my first (and definitely not my last) future book has started.

What an amazing day! To say that I was excited wouldn’t come close to how I felt yesterday. As I said already, it was one of the biggest days of my life! Whatever happens from here on in, I haven’t a clue. But I know I need to stay calm and I need to see the coming month (or however long) as a new phase. I know the book is still changing. It isn’t set in stone and it was only the first publishers I’ve approached. But the fact that I’ve now something ‘concrete’ enough that can be classed as a complete manuscript is already huge and will definitely lead to bigger things – it simply has to! I’m winding down the tale and will slowly distance myself. But at the same time, there’ll still be work to be done. There’ll also be more outside help, in whatever form that may be! Yay!!! It’s like with any child that first comes into the world; it still needs care, nourishment and will inevitably undergo a lot of change. It needs more attention after the birth than before birth! And that’s what I have to see that coming period as being!

When I was editing, I truly felt, I had nothing left to say... on that particular subject anyhow. Because, yes, I still have so much more to tell through the words I choose to write. But... I’m taking onboard what my Mam said to me the other week “Niamh, you could keep on writing forever!!! At some stage, you have to say for now, it’s enough”. And this is probably exactly what you’re thinking right now, as you’re reading about my writing adventures! So, I’ll take this as a hint! I’ve revealed enough for the moment. And after 6 weeks of research and ‘training’ and 9 weeks of proper focus, concentration and daily devotion to the manuscript, and maybe... 143,988 litres of green, herbal, ginger, peppermint and camomile tea later... The baby has been delivered!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I’ll be sure to update you with any more breaking news!!!!

Giving birth

2 weeks ago I set my deadline. The first draft of the manuscript had to be finished by that particular date. It was to be finished by the 17th of December... Today it’s the 17th. And I can tell you know that hoooollllly ssshhhhmmmmoooooly.... I MADE IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I can’t quite believe how the past 2 weeks have unfolded since I put that date in my head. At first I didn’t know if it was possible, I didn’t know if it was too much pressure. So why apply such pressure in extreme measures? Because of the Christmas break – going to Holland for 10 days on the 21st till the 31st was bound to throw the whole flow of the book, out the window. As well, a dear travel buddy of mine, Kelly, is coming to stay this weekend and I knew I’d get too distracted if the story hadn’t completed itself by the times she’d arrive. So these 2 reasons were enough for me to put the pressure on and it worked!

Something happened and I became possessed almost. Even before the deadline, the book was already taking me more and more into its grips. It was a rare day if I was able to resist temptation and not sit down and devote some hours to it. But over the past 14 days it became even more intense. I was having more insights, panic attacks, sleepless nights and tears of despair, worry, joy and relief whilst gaining so much love for what I was going through. I had days of not wanting to speak, but still feeling I had to create a balance between the world I was creating and the world in which I was living. I had days of feeling physically distraught with achingly weak legs and sore back muscles. I had evenings where all I could do was curl up, feel yuck and sleep and sleep and sleep... and throughout these hours, again new insights would come and the cycle just kept ongoing... This was all happening in the surroundings of a relatively chaotic and exciting homely environment, with a 1-year-old precious little man bringing so much liveliness to each day. Sometimes the ‘chaos’ was enough for me to want to stay locked away, because I was scared almost for what could happen to the writing and the story that was unfolding, if I were to engage too much with everybody around me.

Anyhow. Last week, this is what was happening. I’d finished the book, Tuesday the 7th. I was a bag of joyful emotions. I wanted to scream, shout, run, jump and tell the whole world! But but but. I then started to edit on Thursday... Something came over me, I wasn’t happy with what the whole thing had become. Oh no! What to do...???? I was exhausted and had been working on the laptop for nearly 10 hours... Didn’t know if I was thinking rationally or not, but for some reason, I changed the whole thing. I took out maybe 10% of ‘snippets’, I threw them in the recycle bin (on the laptop of course...so they could be redeemed if necessary), and I went to bed, feeling sick. I felt like I’d lost something. Because the snippets I’d taken out, made the story into something different than it was actually meant to be! Friday morning, the 10th, I was terrified – at this stage I couldn’t believe how big of an effect this book was having on me. What was I scared of? Of what I could come across, when reviewing the whole story. I couldn’t remember what I’d done throughout the weeks and weeks of writing... This might sound strange, but the book takes on a life of it own and there’s such a flow going that you don’t question or look back too much - I did this once, and it wrecked my head with doubts, panic and so much upset - so it’s a matter of going and going and going.. But Friday I was terrified! Were there loopholes? Was it any good? What about my grammar? What style of writing do I actually have? Have I spoken badly of others? Have I gone too deep? Question after question.... And there’s no way to find out the answer!

I thought it was over. I thought it had all ended and I’d never get the script the way it ‘should’ be and I’d never make the deadline! But I used an open-mind and a constant reassurance that the story has already been written and the words are simply the form of communication I’m using so I can bring this baby to where it’s needed... which is THE WORLD.I kept a distance from others, for 36 hours – again afraid to take the head off everyone and to spill the disaster that I felt to be unravelling upstairs on the precious laptop that had been performing miracles for the 2 months. I stayed focused and let all expectations go, as to how the new version of my manuscript was meant to come together. And I could only say by Friday evening – which was also when I felt more to be civil and speak to Ma and Eileen about what had been going on with me - that the first 50 pages of the script, felt to be AB FAB!!!! (in my opinion..others will think differently and I’m totally fine with that!). I was still scared, up until Tuesday evening, when I’d completed the editing (for now)and realized that it all fitted together as if by magic! Yes Yes Yes... I’d gone through the whole 105.000 words and I was so ecstatic for what it had become!!!!

Then Wednesday I was brushing up on a few things. I was tempted to run through everything again. Then doubts were popping up, left, right and centre! But I thought, no! I realized I’d come to a stage in the process of writing a book, where someone from outside of myself needs to have a peak! So, me and Mam, went to the printers that afternoon where the first 2 samples were suddenly on paper. One was for me, but the other... was for publishers!!!!!!!!!! This part of the adventure leads to whole new one....It’s all so exciting!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Hibernating for winter

Oh, the weather outside is frightful, but the fire is so delightful, and since there’s no place to go, let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!!! Yes, that’s exactly what’s happening, here in Arklow at the moment! A blanket of snow is covering the town, the east coast and probably most of the country. So it’s just as well there’s no place to go, because there’s no way of anybody getting anywhere!! For 6 days now, Arklow has been forced to close it’s doors to all, because of the snow. I’ve never seen it so white before in all my life! The temperatures are hitting record-breaking lows… -10!! It’s crazy.. Global warming is effecting the whole world, and Ireland too! What a strange place to be and to witness this is freaky.

Everywhere stops, when the snow starts. The kids are delighted to get a week off school and the parents complain about the cold toes, fingers and noses, the cost of the heating and the dangers of driving. Not a car is on the road and there‘s an eerie silence almost everywhere. People are walking and the Christmas songs feel even more cosy than ever before (and there’s still weeks before the festivities truly hit the world!). The teenagers hang around, firing snowballs, and feel as if to be on holidays.. The happy ones wish passers-by ‘happy snow day’ and the ones eager to torment, simply throw snowballs at strangers!

As for me, I love it! I haven’t been in these temperatures since… 2005..?? That was the last time I’ve seen snow, it was when I was working in Austria. And it so gorgeous to have these memories, whilst being in Arklow. A great experience! I feel to be hibernating for winter and the snow is making me feel so settled. When I relate this to what’s going on in my life right now, it’s just perfect! What’s going on? Well, my life has temporarily become my book. I’m literally starting to live and breathe it.

I’m dreaming of it all night, I’m thinking of it all day. I work on it, just about everyday. I need to often force myself to focus my mind on other things, so as to keep the creative juices fresh! But when I’m getting stuck in to other things, I get these breakthroughs that reveal the ‘plot’ a little bit more. Other times I wake-up and need to grab my pen, because something new suddenly has come to me in my sleep. During the week I was actually speaking the words I’d been writing, in my dream! I was talking in book-form! And all of these insights and ‘knowledge’ I never knew I had, has been popping up out of nowhere! It’s an amazing experience - but the strangest thing too.

I had my 2nd or 3rd writers block, last weekend. It made me panic, freak out and I got so scared! I felt lost and couldn‘t see where I was going. I’d learnt by overcoming the past few ‘blocks’ what I had to do. I simply told myself: “Niamh, walk away from it and steer clear of the delete button!!” So that’s what I did and the next day, things were fresh and flowing once again! It can be the strangest thing, when a block is stumbled upon. Last weekend, it was severe. I got to a stage where I wasn’t going to leave the room until the book was complete! I was determined to stay away from the world for as long as I needed, so as to get through the mental block. I was serious when thoughts came to mind of skipping the Christmas celebrations with the family, if it wasn’t totally finished! This made me realize just how important this book has become to me. It’s like I’m giving birth to something. It’s like this book is my baby and it’s all I care about at the moment and so I’m standing strong by what I said: there’s no Christmas for me this year, if I haven’t pressed the final full-stop that will complete the story!!

So my book is at a stage now, where it needs me to totally hold my focus. There can’t be any distractions and nothing is allowed to stop the flow! It’s like the snow is urging the flow of the book. It’s freaky, but I’m taking this eerie feeling of stillness that’s everywhere around me, to keep me driven in terms of writing. It’s like I’m experiencing the calm before the storm - the storm that may either occur in my life, or in the world(I’m not too sure where it’s going to be!).

But, whatever may be about to happen; it’s snowing and my book is flowing. I’m seeing this as an opportunity to work towards a deadline, by which I want the manuscript finished. I don’t know if it’s wise to put my deadline in writing, here on this blog. It’s putting pressure on myself. But maybe that’s what I need! I don’t know if it’s do-able or not... Because the thing is, I’m new to this whole “book-world” and I haven’t a clue how long it could take to re-read, to edit and make any necessary adjustments. But having said that, I can feel that it’s coming to an end and I know more or less what I still want to bring into the story. I can feel, more or less, that I’m nearly there! Yes, it’s all “more or less..” I’ve been going with the flow ever since I started the ‘job’ and I’m still am. Flowing means I haven’t got too much to hold on to, but, at the same time, I’ve got just about enough to know what I have to do.

So… The deadline has been set with the pack of snow that sits on the roof, keeping me settled and warm, safe and cosy! How happy I am for global warming to take such a turning. It’s gorgeous and I love it!! The countdown has begun and all that’s left now for me to do.. is to continue as before… my desk awaits!! Thank you thank you thank you!! And I wish you such a happy snow day!!!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Sneak peek

I can hardly believe how this has happened! Suddenly I’m walking around town and there’s Christmas lights everywhere and the shops are full of festivities and every child I hear speaking, is talking about what Santa will be bringing them. Wow! This really is speaking of something I never saw coming. How unplanned this is - but then again, I had no plans to start with.

4 whole months ago I came back to Ireland, I got off a Ryan Air flight, and I’ll never forget the feeling of Irish summer air that hit me - with the clouds sitting so snugly on the terminal building. My Mam asked: “So Niamh, how long do we have you for… A week?” I was afraid to answer, because I didn’t have a clue. Mam was putting as little pressure on me as possible, so as to still give me the freedom to stay or to move, without the guilt of visiting either too short or too long. Nobody here at home had any expectations, neither did I - and this “common ground” in family relations is such a precious thing to have…

Anyhow, the season that I was initially reluctant to experience here in Ireland this year, has suddenly started. And it’s been the thing that’s forced me to make a decision for the first time in ages. Up until 2 weeks ago, I kept on flowing and had no plans. Even though I was constantly eager to move, so I could focus on travel, as well as eager to ground myself, so I could focus on writing. Such a contradiction was going, because I was so afraid I’d loose my passion for travel by totally giving way to something I’ve been wanting to do for the past year and half. And by possibly hitting the road I was afraid I’d loose my passion for writing something more than this blog contains. Either way, one thing has been happening and I’ve managed to ground myself in the process that is now ongoing. And I can honestly say, there’s no stopping me now!

Getting slightly sidetracked… Christmas…: to be or not to be? I had to make some sort of a decision 2 weeks ago - at least for as far as the next 6 weeks are concerned. It felt like such a big one though! I’d been pushing the decision away and didn’t want to think about it. But time stands still for nobody and it was approaching! The thoughts of ‘committing’ to staying up until the end of December were making me panic and I felt like a failure for still being here, because I initially was only passing through! I really had a mental block I needed to remove, which was actually easily done once I thought rationally about how far along I was with the writing and about what organizing would be involved, if I really wanted to get myself on the road before Christmas. I found myself secretly setting goals that wouldn’t be achievable, even if I worked day and night… This would have meant the love for the work I’m doing would be out the window and my brain would probably have crashed and burnt! And for what? For who? Just to prove that I didn’t want or need to be here for the festive season? Just to prove that I’m still ’travelling’? When rationality hit and I placed both feet on the ground (all for 15 whole minutes) I realized that I can experience Christmas with my precious family, share in the love and see the materialistic values and needs simply as the way in which the world works, whether I like it or not! Because really it’s a special time of year and I don’t need to reject it, just to keep myself distant from values in life that are determined by the amount of money that’s spent, instead of the amount of love that’s shared!

So, yes I’ve decided to stay until after Christmas, and I’m happy to do so. I know in my heart that I can’t let myself move freely or go anywhere until I’ve totally completed this part of my journey (the book). I don’t like to over-emphasize what I’m doing, but it’s happening either way. I reckon by speaking about it so much, I’m making it even more real. Others are encouraging me, which I also use as a positive drive to keep my flow going. Because, yes, the story is unfolding and it excites me so much and the fact that I’m here at this time of year, I can choose to see as an extra bonus. Because I don’t know where I’ll be over the next year. I know so little really. But knowing so little is why life is so exciting and it’s where we can embrace every moment, because we don’t know how long it will last or if it will ever be experienced again. It’s why my everyday is so unique when I sit down to write in the mornings; it’s unknown what will happen on the screen of the computer as my imagination takes me everywhere, just from the chair that sits behind the desk. I just realized: Being grounded here in Ireland - through writing each day - is giving me all the flights and travels I need which will sustain me until this chapter is done! This is truly proof that we can be happy anywhere in the world, as long as we’re doing what we love doing most.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

A magical morning - 2

We ended-up continuing along the path I was first reluctant to follow. I was brought to the B&B and introduced to the loveliest bunch of people from Ireland and other parts of the world! They were all really intrigued and wondering where I had sprung from! “Winnie (which is this special ladys’ name) goes for a walk and suddenly she comes back with this girl, who has obviously just gotten up out of bed - judging by how untidily she has her hair tied back into 4 little buns - and is also a local but sounds strangely foreign, how odd!” Anyhow, the group of 20 welcomed me and they were happy for me to sit in with the service they had planned. But first, Winnie and I had time to kill, or actually, the clock was ticking way too fast and we only had an hour to continue this extremely interesting conversation.

Well, never before have I met an African woman who I’ve gotten so closely acquainted with in such a short space of time. Never before have I been offered an insight into the harsh life of crime, injustice, struggle and poverty that is their natural way of African life. Never before has a 5 minute walk on a Sunday morning in late October blown me away so much due to the randomness in meeting such a gentle woman who looks amazing yet seems to have lived 9 lives! Never before have I been asked to write a book on her tales! Which is what she did. Who knows what lies ahead…

The service took place in a sunroom and it was like we were in this huge glass cabinet that hung above a view that was out of this world! But I was only 5 minutes away from home!! These words were constantly screaming in my ears! These people felt so lucky to be staying in such a place……… and I LIVED JUST DOWN THE ROAD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Well, I questioned who exactly was the lucky one. I felt it was me!

I sat and listened to the service. Some of them gave talks on life situations, lessons and growth. A lady from Dublin, a guy from Korea and a lady from South Africa. I related to them but had these fleeting moments of being unable to grasp how I had landed myself in this glass cabinet with 20 people who were so welcoming and open. I was sitting beside a lady who I had only met 2 hours ago, who was so warm and cosy, so wise and yet still questioning her past, her present and her future - she was 20 years my senior and still on a journey to find out what the purpose of her suffering was. Does it ever end? Will we forever be searching for our faith and questioning our beliefs with every circumstance life presents us with? A question that has answers without end..

So there I was, in Arklow, my hometown. I was looking out over the Irish sea, the bright blue sky, the green hills, the cows in the field, the heat of the sun coming through the glass ceiling. I was surrounded by people who didn’t question my faith, who didn’t judge my beliefs, who didn’t preach me to take on theirs. I couldn’t help but question religion, beliefs, Christianity, spirituality, diversity, unity, journey‘s of life.. And so many others things. Did I agree with everything I heard? No I didn’t. Did I feel like a hypocrite for being there even though I don’t believe? No, which I actually thought I would. Did I feel out of place? No, because I didn’t even feel to experiencing this, it was too random! And so, when you don’t feel to be in a certain place, you don’t feel to “out of a certain place” either!

What a morning this turned out to be! It was 1pm by the time the service ended. Winnie brought me back to that spot where she had so magically appeared out of the shadows. We wandered that same path again. She said she approached me because I too seemed to have appeared out of nowhere. This was a meeting that happened for some strange reason. And I was already becoming aware of them. Just on my doorstep here in Ireland, there lies so much magic. Do we have to go the ends of the earth to find that magic and to have such experiences? Some people wander their whole lives and this whole earth, in search of just such moments that will offer a spark to brighten their days. And, I was offered it without straying more than 5 minutes from my desk on a bright Sunday morning in Arklow. On your doorstep there can be just as much magic as there can be anywhere in the world. All you need to do is open your eyes, open your front door and become aware.. Because it really is all there!

A magical morning - 1

The morning on which this random meeting took place, was last Sunday the 24th of October. I got up bright and early, full of the joys of Spring, even though it’s the middle of Autumn. But it didn’t look like Autumn when I was gazing out the bedroom window as I sat down to start writing. Spring was in the air and also in my step and I had to let it bounce! The weather was way too nice, so I set-off for a short walk before diving into the writing and I left everyone sleeping. The whole house was having a lie-in, taking advantage of Cian - our bundle of joy and energy in the body of a 1 year old young man - who was acting the role of sleeping beauty!

I walked along this path leading away from the town. It’s a country-road I’ve been down many times before. I like to call it my “playground”. It’s got the most amazing views on a clear day and I always feel to be somewhere else, other than Arklow. This time I followed a path that was leading off the country-road. Usually I’d never head down that particular road, because I figured it was private property. But it’s actually just for everyone to walk along! Yay!

I was so happy. It was cold but it was such a bright morning at the same time and I was high on life! I had literally taken a “leave of absence” from this life here, and I felt like Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz.. following the yellow brick road in search of something but I had no clue of what! The difference between my road and Dororthys’, was that this one wasn’t yellow; just plane tarmac! It was winding, twisting and I hadn’t a clue where it would lead me. I didn’t care and I was hopping, skipping, running and jumping in the magic of the moment. I even ventured through fields, climbed over fences, dodged nettles and bushes and ran with my skirt, cardigan, scarf and boots.. Then I felt the “wolly” in me was happy to get back home and start work! A wolly is what others would’ve called me, if they’d witnessed my “shenanigans.. especially as the majority of people my age would be lying in bed with a hangover knocking on their bedroom door at that same moment in time!

So I stopped. I stood for a minute, totally out of breath. I hadn’t ran like that in ages! Man, I’m unfit! I gazed back over the fields and the path I’d just ran along. For a moment I wanted to venture onwards and find out where the path would lead. But I kept standing still, gazing. I looked back over my shoulder and suddenly a woman appeared. She just came walking towards me, from that destination unknown! It was the freakiest thing. I didn’t see her coming out of the shadows. She had a scarf on her head and was walking so calmly. I wondered if we’d get to talking. And, of course we did! She casually started a conversation and turned out to be the nicest woman ever! Within a few minutes we’d already made some kind of a connection. I don’t know why I told her the things I did, within only moments of meeting her. And she did the same. It was so interesting. I was yearning to get back home though! The laptop was waiting! The book needed to be written!

But, where had this woman come from? Originally she came from Zimbabwe, but what was she doing here?? The path I wasn’t planning on venturing down, led to a B&B where she was staying for the weekend with a Christian group. Our talk was so interesting and the way we met was even more striking, so it seemed a shame for me to break away. She asked if I wanted to attend a service they had planned at 11am (at this stage it was 9.30). I hesitated for a short moment because my laptop was calling me and I wasn’t too sure how the service and the group would “fit” with me or how I would “fit” with them. For religious reasons that is. I’ve been raised Catholic. But that’s it. I don’t practise the religion and I have my own beliefs. Hestiations. Humm.. What to do? But I figured, this lady is accepting of me. She wants to get to know me and I want to get to know her too. This meeting is too random to let religious beliefs stop me from seeing what’s in store! I was curious to find out more about this special lady from Zimbabwe!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Goal setting

The flow of a book. I’ve questioned how long it would take to complete it. I’ve wondered if I’ve been devoting enough hours to it each day. I’ve set myself target dates. And even wondered if this would benefit the process or not. Setting a goal, will it force the process of creating a book and therefore stop it from flowing? Or will it keep the process unfolding at a nice pace to prevent it from suddenly stopping?

Goal-setting has different effects on everybody. Different things work differently for different people. So how does it urge me along? It’s important to not get fixated on the date by which I want the manuscript complete, just like it's important for me to not fixate on the timeline I have in my head. It’s a work of quality and not quantity. Quality isn’t measured by the amount of hours, days, weeks or months that’s been put into “getting something done”. It’s about the enjoyment experienced throughout and the knowledge that it’s reaching it’s fullest potential, no matter how short or long something takes to bring it into the world. And then the question arises: who determines what’s short and what’s long? Only the person who has set the goal; which is also the only one applying some pressure.

Pressure applied to get it done. Why? Because the surrounding world is always in need of someone to experience it, wholeheartedly so she jump around it, bounce on it and set alight a fire on earth by using the already lighting fire that’s burning within her heart. And then, to once again, get to a place where the "world of the book" can be created, by what’s been learnt and experienced in the surrounding world. This is the sole reason for that healthy application of pressure, just on certain points, to keep the energy flowing. It’s almost like acupuncture! A steady flow of energy created by applying needles on certain pressure points to then bring balance into the body leading to better general health. It’s just vital that the right points are found and the sufficient pressure is applied. Then the results will benefit not only that one body, but all those who are open to what the outcome has to offer.

In terms of writing, I’m applying the desired pressure, I’m re-creating balance where needs be, which is making me feel motivated and trusting that this process is working as it should and will take the directions it’s meant to take, leading me to places even I’m not yet aware of.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

World 1 & World 2

Suddenly being the writer, feels to be living in 2 worlds. Or, when taking into account all of what I’m juggling, each day, I might be living in 3 or 4 worlds. This is probably what most people experience each day of their busy lives and therefore it may simply be ‘the way of the world today‘. But, to keep my focus, I’ll enlighten the main task I’m undertaking, which is the writing. It creates a world different than to the one I’m living. It’s world number 2. And I live in world number 1; which is where I met you guys “)

It took quite some weeks to actually feel like I’m where I need to be - in terms of WHERE I’m writing (my place of peace) and HOW I’m writing (the concept and form the book is taking). And when both of these feel to be so good, then WHAT exactly comes to life in world number 2, can ONLY be good! Then all that’s needed is to keep in mind what exactly the purpose is of each step, or chapter, as the book unfolds around the concept I‘ve created; this is the thread that needs to be followed. And whatever else comes to life is an added bonus which stimulates me even more to keep going and most importantly, the keep on flowing.

How brilliant is that! Logic and rational to most, but to me, a big breakthrough! It’s like the perfect formula I’ve found, all by myself, and now it’s a matter of trust in my ability to pursue this dream and trust in the process of creation. I‘ve also realized: when there’s no urgency inside of you caused by the lack of peace in your surroundings when trying to write, then there’s nothing distracting or steering you away from what you’re eagerly bringing from that deeper place within, to the world. To put it more simply: When world number 1 is clinging on to you and bringing you feelings of discomfort and uneasiness then how can world number 2 ever be fully brought to life in the desired manner and become something that at least one person on this planet can class as a beauty? The ‘not so great’ feelings within world number 1 are brought into world number 2, and the creation can be influenced negatively and become something you may not have wanted it to be.

Finding my peaceful place to write has brought an ease; it’s within world number 1. This ease is strengthened due to the 2 guaranteed senses I have: I am always apart of world 1 (but have the ability to take my ‘leave of absence’ and enter world 2) and I will be able to expand within world world 1, once the expansion of world 2 is complete. So both guarantees bring so much ease; meaning world 2 gets all the energy and devotion it requires and the magic unfolds in whatever way it’s meant to.

Monday, October 25, 2010

The search...

For the past 2 months, I’ve been trying various methods to bring this “madness” into perspective; the “madness” of my days which would seem so very bland to an outsider who’s witnessing me conquer my dreams all within this small body with an un-styled head of hair. I’ve been trying to create many things and finding the balance between “them all”. It’s one between ‘writing-in-a-peaceful-place-and-totally-absorbing-myself-in-a-painful-part-of-my-past’ as I work eagerly to create my book, getting myself ’established’ as a travel writer and doing research and study on particular things that I need at this moment in my life. Along side, I engage with the commotion that comes with living in a full-house that feels a little fuller because of my precious 1-year old godson Cian, who is currently cutting some teeth.

But, it’s all so exciting. Because I’ve cracked the code for now! Finally I create a world of magic each day, when I step into my workspace. I no longer sit in the libraries, which have such depressing, cold and unfriendly vibes sparking off both the exterior and the interior of the buildings - especially the library here in Arklow. Up until 10 days ago, I was forcing myself to stick it out, in that cold and, most definitely, haunted building. It was torture and I felt like I was being punished. The clock was all I could see, instead of the story I was trying to write. The time was something I wasn’t embracing, which is what I usually do when I write. Usually I want time to stop because the moments are so precious. However, I was instead wishing them away. This was a tell-tale sign that the pleasure in creating, wasn’t all mine. So I had to find a different space for creation. A warm, homely, inviting yet peaceful environment is what I would wake-up each day longing to have. There had to be a special place! Where or where would I find that special “there”?

I searched high and low to find that place somewhere in this town. To search, I left the house each and everyday. Each morning for the past 2 months, I started my search from the front doorstep of this home, in search of home and warmth, all so I could create a book to help others and so I could fulfil what I feel is my purpose at this moment in time. So I actually left home in search of a peaceful home! Was I blinded by the bright green fields that I see when I open the front door? Or was I driven by the travelling energy within me, that simply needs reassurance that she’s still apart of the amazing world and still feeling to be “on the go” and always accepted by the community wherever she may go, as she engages with her town of origin? My answer to both is a definite yes.

The search forced me to constantly reassess my methods. It’s all apart of the learning process, and as I’m only starting-out as a writer (!!!!!), I need to experience this process. And I’m extremely grateful. Because when reassessing my methods and following my feelings, I was led back to the place of homely peace, from where my search started out: home.

So, the surroundings are stable and it’s all I need. There’s just enough background noise coming from the kitchen with Cians’ wee screams keeping me driven, motivated and feeling to be still in a place of recognition, plus an endless supply of green tea! This is now where I’ve managed to find my workspace; at home. Last week Monday was a big day, the 18th, when my “office” opened it ’s doors to me for the first time. I don’t have to clock-in with my employees’ pass “). I only check-in with my body-clock, that urges me each morning at around the same time of 08.30, to fill the pot with green tea, take my laptop upstairs and close the door to world number 1in order to open the door to world number 2. And then the magic has to happen.

Monday, October 18, 2010

2 dreams merging

After 10 weeks of being here in Ireland, the pause-button is still being pressed. It’s proving to be so many things; one word simply isn’t enough. It’s been revealing, enlightening, fulfilling, inspiring, relaxing and full-on. It’s also been occasionally uneasy, providing me with itchy feet and 10min minor panic attacks with tears of desperation - all with the belief that these feelings would speed up the process I’m going through and keep me on the road. Because I was fearing that to not focus on travels, I’d be letting my dreams slip and fade away into the distance.

So now, with the connections within the world, which are slowly becoming my world, I’ve been reassessing my situation. The question came to mind: how can a person follow one set task through, that takes so much time, motivation, dedication and love when there‘s something else brewing which is needing just as much time, motivation, dedication and love? This one set task is writing my book; which is a dream in the making. And the other dream in the making is travel. I so eagerly was and still am wanting both.

After going through a state of confusion, as you can imagine, I’ve realized that travel is my life. This is a given. I’ve realized that writing is my life. This is another given. I’ve also realized that if I’m so dead-set on both of these aspects to be all that my life is to revolve around, then there’s no need in crying tears of desperation to get myself moving as soon as possible. Because the travel will happen, sooner or later. When the time is right the ticket will present itself. The ticket to that amazing place in the world where my 2 dreams will merge into one. My dream of travel and my dream of writing will become one. And in order for that to happen, this period in Ireland is first a process I need to go through. It’s a process of writing and learning. And the lessons I’ll take with me on my travels and I’ll benefit from them forever.

The calling of the world which is telling me to “get a move on” but really is nowhere to be heard in my surroundings, will be answered once finishing this task. One dream is making the other dream happen. By answering the call, the 2 dreams will become 1. I’ll never need to neglect a part of what I feel is my purpose in life. When the call is being answered, there will no longer be a yearning for another dream to be lived. Because that other dream will be accomplished and it will be taking me higher; all through the amazing opportunities within the big wide world..

Worldly connections

To have a connection with certain people who are scattered around the world, is so amazing. Having daily meetings through email with dear friends who have their origins in places near and far - from India to France, from Thailand to England, from Holland to Japan, from Belgium to Ecuador, from America to Germany - keeps the heart so open to still and always feel and be apart of that big wide world. It really doesn’t matter how near or far these places are, from you current position on this planet. We are all within the world, apart of the world, of the world. The world is yours, is mine, is ours, if we so wish to keep our hearts so open to it all and embrace it.

Taking all the opportunities to connect with the world and the people within it, means to be apart of the bigger picture, no matter how insignificant we may feel or how small a space we occupy on earth. We then have the potential to belong anywhere and everywhere. Even if a place doesn’t feel to be the place where you 100% belong. Through connecting and embracing the world and the people, the place you belong will sooner or later be stumbled upon.

Life is about connecting and networking with the family, the community, the country and the world, to the extent each person feels comfortable with. The individual chooses a network around which to revolve their lives and it's what creates their world. It’s up to them to make their world as big or as small as they wish; filling it with friends, acquaintances and likeminded individuals. Feeling comfort with those connections, gives that opportunity to always belong; regardless of the piece of earth upon which they presently stand. It no longer matters; not now that the airwaves provide such a thing that lets time and space feel to be non-existent just by the necessary click of a few buttons. The airwaves that are able to almost “magically” send and receive the messages, the words, the vibes and the connection for maintenance of the lives of every individual and, ultimately, the world. The messages still travel the same distance as they once needed to travel, before there was such a thing as email. Before such brilliance however, the speed at which the mail travelled differed immensely. How privileged we are to have this connection with the world so large, yet increasingly smaller - due to this speed!

A world of opportunity and unlimited potential awaits; behind just one computer screen. It’s all there for us. The friends, the networking, the lives. We have access to it all and life suddenly has possibilities of being far more than we ever believed it could have been.

At the moment, I may be sitting in Arklow, Ireland, behind the computer screen, typing away. I may be back in a place I initially didn’t want to return to, for fear of getting stuck and getting down on life and for fear of seeming like a failure to the rest of the world and to myself as I’m not on the road and travelling physically. I may be here a lot longer than I anticipated. But none of these factors seem to matter. Not when my vision of the world is ever expanding. The way in which this chapter is unfolding, is making me feel to be just as much a part of the big wide world, as I did when I was moving from place to place. I didn’t think this was possible. But it is, due to the connectedness with certain people and the position I’m giving myself within this world from my “base“ of Arklow. Such a simple thing is offering me this amazing world.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

"Living" put into perspective

Opening your email can sometimes reveal things you never could have imagined. From one moment to the next, your perspective can change, be it for the good or the bad; depending on the news that is brought.

The email I received last night was from a friend of mine, who I was teaching with in India, Paul. He wrote to tell me that another English teacher we both worked closely with, has suddenly come to pass away. His name is Cliff, from the States. A middle-aged jolly traveller, with an approach to life that absolutely everybody could have learnt from. We worked together at the last school I was teaching in (Ebenezer) for 3 weeks. Cliff was one of the reasons I decided to stay for the length of time I did and Paul was another reason. Together we were the 3 musketeers, supporting each other whilst working and living so closely.

The length of time we were working together was relatively short. But when you’re travelling, and when you connect with someone, the level of friendship that evolves is far deeper than many friendships can ever reach, compared to when you’re living a settled life with security in your familiarized surroundings. When you’re travelling, the security is sought in the people you relate to; especially when there’s the instant connection due to a like-mindedness that isn’t always experienced.

He was such a wise man. I looked up to him in many ways and thought about him so often. The words he spoke to me and the advice he gave, never left my mind and they have proven to help me in more ways than he ever realized. He had big dreams and was ever evolving as a person and still so eager to find out how his personal life could serve the larger picture of life in general. He was a big dreamer, and with his 50 years he had enough experience and capabilities to make those dreams a reality. And that’s what he was doing. Yet he reached his fullest potential without even realizing it, by lives he's touched along his many many travels.

Cliff was in Thailand when he passed away. I haven’t heard how it happened. All I know is, he was working as yoga teacher in a resort one of the islands. He was a representation of pure life, of pure soul and of pure freedom. The peace he would unknowingly project would ground anybody is who doesn’t have the natural ability to keep their own 2 feet on this earth. He was rooted into the earth and others couldn’t help but follow suit, in his presence.

Many dosas we ate, many chai we drank, many hours we chatted. I remember the last words I spoke to him when I said goodbye on the morning of the 4th of July (which is when I moved from the school to the ashram he advised me to visit) and those were: “you made my time at Ebenezer complete”. He was shocked to hear me say that. And, quite frankly, so was I. But it was the simply truth. He then gave me the warmest of hugs I ever received while I was in India. I’ll never forget that embrace.

Last night, shock was all I felt. And then I felt suddenly so blessed. I felt so calm and lucky to have spent those weeks with him. That our paths came to cross was something extra special. It’s almost like a loss that I’m privileged to experience, no matter how strange that may sound. Leaving the sadness and the frustration behind when questioning why so soon, why him and why this unfairness has to be felt by the loved-ones he's left behind, I know that the spirit he connected so deeply to has brought him to some amazing place. Because he was simply amazing and had amazing travels, that will definitely not stop now. His presence may no longer be physically here on earth, but he surely left footprints in the sand due to his grounded nature - those footprints have even been set in places he never managed to walk along, Arklow amongst many others.

How precious this life is, and it feels like a smack in the mouth. How precious each day is, and it feels like awareness is rising. How precious each moment is, and it feels then so soothing. So short this life is. When relating this to the quote: “life isn’t measured by the breaths we take but by the moments that take our breath away” I can only take along with me the following lesson: aim for every moment to have the potential of taking your breath away, and continuous magic is your life. So, as Cliff did, I shall practise what I preach. He has set an example and I will lead by it.

Paul also said something in his email: "He was one of the best human beings to have walked this earth.."

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Being challenged patiently

I occasionally wonder why I can struggle to keep my focus here in Ireland, and on what I’m doing. Most mornings I wake up and am so full of beans of what this day will bring me. I get excited about where this road is heading. I cannot see the exact hurdles or the challenges that I’ll be brought to experience along the way. Because it’s unknown. But that’s what makes it exciting I guess. However on other mornings I wake up with ideas as to how I can move as quickly as possible through this process. The process of creation is never to be forced. How can it be? But that’s what I do. Often times I know that the urgency to move, will help me to get things done. Because so easily I could float through each day and trust that I’m doing all I can and let one week roll into the next. It’s too easy and feels like the "lazy-mans-approach". But it can actually be an amazing way to approach life. If I switching-off the urges I have to the force things along, then I'll be letting it all come to a “stop” instead of the simple “pause” I’m currently pressing. I am reminded of my dreams as the impatience and the eagerness to leave, comes on a regular basis. This is so good!

So those urges are what keep me going. They keep on reassuring me everyday, to sit and give at least a little or preferably a lot, to this process of change I’m going through. The process of change, is the writing. To devote a few hours each day requires me to focus on something that’s new. And what is the new thing I‘m focussing on? I’m throwing myself into a world of books, of research, of illness and of emotions. It’s showing me a change in everything. Every moment feels like one I should be learning from. Everyday is one that should be a step towards creating the bigger picture. Each step is what’s needed in order to bring the creation to the hands of those in need. Those who are suffering and who may need guidance.

To call myself a writer, is to be a writer. That’s what I’m doing. And creating is now my life. My life needs to flow, as does my writing. It’s one and the same and that’s the way it is and will be. I tell myself each day that my writing is my freedom. No matter where I place myself on this earth, writing lets me experience any kind of freedom I want.

To attain freedom though, there’s still a need to focus on what’s here. My travelling is being put on pause because of this. Am I sacrificing one dream for the other? Will this dream lead me to experience the other?

The world is full of opportunities. It’s unreal. If I really wanted, I could take the jobs I’ve been offered in India as a teacher. I have the contacts still and they are urging me still to come back. I could go anywhere in the world and teach. It’s all out there. India however, is where I need to return to. But, right now, how could I get up and leave, when I’m smack-bang in the middle of something I knew I always needed to pursue? How can I choose to now suddenly let that go, just to press “play” again and show the world that I’m a free spirit? I could do this. Sometimes it would be far easier for me to pack my bags and leave. If doing this, I'd carry my dream with me. I’d turn-off the tap that is becoming a constant flow of words. Some days the tap only provides a drip, not nearly enough to quench my thirst, other days it provides enough to fill all the glasses that are on display in Ikea.

To speak about the writing so openly, I sometimes wonder if it’s wise. Am I trying to be someone I’m not? Am I jinxing everything by telling people what my priorities in life are, right now? Am I putting extra pressure on myself, by speaking of it? Does this pressure create doubts? Yes it does. But I need to tune-out to the expectations others have from me. This is MY journey. People are interested and I want to share. But that doesn’t mean I have to use their thoughts as a way to swamp myself and as a negative force that will encourage me to go against what I truly need to do in my life, at this moment in time. I can use the expectations of others to drive me along. Because I too expect certain things from myself. And without others around me, I would leave the expected travels to fill my dreams each night.

Travel isn’t just a whim for me any longer. It’s a must. It’s my life. So I am leaving so soon. And this certainty is what keeps me sane. It keeps me focussed, even when I get swamped and am convinced I’m not doing nearly enough to create the life I want. It keeps me focussed when I have the tendency to float through each day. I already have the life I want, because I have my words and so I have my freedom. Wherever I go in the world, the words will flow. This is a simple dream that is becoming a fact through the process I’m now keeping in motion.

So patience is what I need. I can rise to the challenge of keeping my feet on the Irish earth and when I rise to this challenge, I can be as happy and free to be doing what I am each day..

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Counting my blessings

The more time that passes, the more I realize just how important it is for me to do what I’m doing right now. This is no longer a pass-time. This is my work. This is my job. I feel it so strongly. What am I talking about? Of course, It has to be writing.

2 places I can describe I’m in. Or maybe 2 dreams that I’m living and needing to bring together. Which are, without a doubt; travel and writing. I’m focused on 1 of these ‘places’ in order to keep on experiencing the other ‘place’. I’m writing to keep me travelling. I’m writing so that it becomes my travel. I’ve been given this amazing chance here in Ireland, here where I have my roots, so I can write. And the more I get along with what I’m doing, the more important it’s becoming. The significance is huge. And it’s no longer just a hobby. It’s actually my lifeline and
it’s all I want my life to revolve around.

I can feel so certain that writing is going to keep me on the road. And when I take a step out of my life and look at the bigger picture, I can see how valuable this time here is. It’s precious, because I know it won’t last. It’s precious because of what I’m able to create. It’s precious because it’s going to set me up, in ways I never dared imagine. It’s precious because it’s also my freedom. It’s precious and therefore time feels to have stopped. It’s not of the essence. Instead what I do each moment is of the essence.

The subject I’m working on each day is one that most people know about. It’s regarding the time in my life when I was here in Ireland, for 10 months, whilst recovering from an illness. Back then, I wrote my way through everyday, As soon as I was back to full health, I was on a plane to Oz and my travel dreams were becoming a reality. However the thing that always stuck in my mind, was the writing I’d done throughout my recovery. And it was my dream to be able to work on it, and bring something into the world to help others and to set myself even freer in the knowledge that my experience with illness and journey to health would be used to its fullest potential. This is what I dreamed of when I was travelling Oz, living in a van, being on the road and having the most amazing time. My writing still was my dream.

However distracted by the amazement in everything I was seeing and doing each day, I never found the peace or the time to actually sit and get to work on what I felt was one of the main purposes for me to have gone through the illness. Even when I was in India, on several occasions I had made it my priority and main goal, to seclude myself and work on my old writing. Never, however, did I take the proper time-out I needed. I mean, who would? When you’re in the midst of magic, experiencing a country you thought you might never see, the last thing on your list is ‘seclusion to write’. This is something I’m only realizing now, by the way. But it still played on my mind and I’d dream of being able to devote precious time to it. But it’s not about devotion of time, is it? It’s a deeper form of devotion; is devotion classed as love? If so, then time has stopped and the days aren't revolving around what the hands on the clock are pointing to instead. The days instead are fuelled by the sense of love you get from doing that certain thing. This is something else I’m only realizing now too..

I was teaching English, I was jumping out of bed each morning, I was learning, growing. I was simply in awe of contrasts India was bringing into my world and yet STILL I NEEDED to work on that writing. My visa expired almost forcing me to leave, when really I didn’t want to go. I felt it was too soon. But I had no choice. However, magically and flowingly, I returned to Ireland and what I’d dreamed of doing when I was in India, was now the only thing I could do. It was like the opportunity was presented to me on a silver platter – every ingredient I needed in order to pursue this dream, I was being given! Without intending, my dream became real, when I stepped on the plane from Holland to Ireland on the 7th of August.
Each day I’m feeling that the more I do this, the more certain I am that it was a blessing in disguise: having been ‘forced’ to leave India, for at least 2 months, before being able to re-enter on a new visa. I know that otherwise I’d have stayed, I’d have gone to Nepal, and I’d still be dreaming of that writing. But now, it’s being lived and it’s amazing.

Many people may not understand how such a normal thing, can be all-consuming and how it can make somebody feel so happy, regardless of the surroundings. To be honest, I never would have been able to either. But it’s such a different level of happiness I’m experiencing. I know what I’m doing now, is how my journey was meant to flow. I know that by writing I’ll always have my freedom. I know that when I leave, I’ll be freer than ever before. A deeper journey is what I’m currently undertaking, and I’m putting the illness I was recovering from, into a more important part of myself. I’m reliving many things, as I work on it each day and I’m learning and growing. The exact same as I was doing in India – learning and growing – but through means of something that is nothing to be considered superficial or unworthy of this devotion. So suddenly, so happily and so freely; it all came to me. I feel like the luckiest person in the whole world to have experienced this through the circumstances and the support of my family.

Another blessing for being ‘forced’ to leave India, (I was never actually physically put onto the plane by the police or by the emigration department or anything like that!!) is that ‘pausing in Ireland’ is giving my body a chance to recuperate. Whilst travelling so intensely for those months in India I lost too much weight. Certain foods weren’t agreeing with me, the times at which they would eat weren’t easy on the stomach, nor did the viruses that I picked-up a few time encourage my food-intake to be sufficient or my weight to remain stable. These aspects, along with the general stress and chaos to be experienced each day as well as the heat, made it the ‘perfect’ environment to loose weight. But for me, that wasn’t really the ‘perfect’ thing. I didn’t need to loose any, It actually was vital that I didn’t. But it happened, leaving me with no reserves to fall back on, should I catch a virus of some sort. Taking my past illness into account, the family was worried on my return. All the good I’d done throughout my recovery, was now undone. Or so they felt. But I didn’t. Because good wasn’t undone; not mentally, not emotionally. It is now a mere physical aspect that’s needing to be addressed. And being here in Ireland is therefore another blessing.

I’ve taken the wise decision (if I may say so myself), and with some encouragement from Ma, to take supplement protein drinks. These are the same energy drinks I took throughout my recovery. I’ll be taking them until the middle of October, so I consciously put on weight and gain physical strength for when I feel it’s time to leave (which will be when my writing is as complete as can be!!).
I sometimes can’t believe how life takes these twists and turns. And I know even more now, in my heart, that this ‘pausing in Ireland’ is pure magic. It’s setting me free, it’s showing me more parts of myself that I thought I was already aware of but am now realizing there are even more, and I’m bringing 2 aspects that ARE my life, together. So I continue each moment in this amazing life to do what I feel I must. Simply live my life, as I travel and write!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Pressing PAUSE

My silence that has lasted for over 2 weeks, simply needs to be broken. How easy it can be to simply not log-on anymore, once a week or 2 goes by without blogging and connecting with those who still follow my whereabouts. It's scarily easy..

It's 6 weeks since I left Holland. 6 whole weeks!! Wouw.. It's 2 months since leaving India and was travelling with the magic of the world and going with the flow of life. I had the mindset of being on the road and everywhere I was going to "lay my hat, it was my home", no matter how long or short my stay was – be it 6 days, or 6 weeks. It didn’t matter, and it still doesn’t. Home was everywhere! And home still IS everywhere! Or to use a different and very familiar saying: ‘Home is where the heart is’. I felt, and still do that if there’s anybody that fills my heart or any connection to be made in that particular place where I choose to temporarily ‘lay my hat’, then that’s also my home!

Do I still have the mindset of being on the road? Yes, I do. It's not a thing of the past. I'm travelling and I'm using the present tense here, which is keeping it real! I don't even need to remind myself that I'm passing through. Because I don't need to convince myself that I am. I don't hear voices in my head telling me any different. The mindset I have of 'pressing pause on a passage I'm currently making through Ireland' is only being supported by everyone around me. Family are so supportive. Nobody asks me when I'm going, and nobody asks me how long I’m staying either. I'm simply here, in the present tense, that's all they know, that's all I know and it's brilliant!

Since being here, I've been secure enough to actually seriously question if this is where I'd like to press STOP instead of pressing a simple and less daring PAUSE. And, in all honesty, I don't want to press STOP, not now. Posing myself with this question was a big 'reveal' and a big 'truth'. If I had realized that I wanted to stay, I wouldn't have been able to go against it. I wouldn’t have wanted to go against it, especially not if it would make me happy. One very wise lesson I've learnt over the past year is that I can feel so strongly when a place or situation doesn’t fit; I can't function properly if it doesn't. But here in Ireland, I feel it can fit and because of the fact that me and Ireland can suit each other, on some level - which is totally new to me by the way - I purposely posed myself with this question: WOULD I SERIOUSLY CONSIDER STAYING, STOPPING AND SETTLING IN IRELAND? I considered, I wondered and I questioned and can now say honestly with all my heart that I don't want to at this moment in time.

It was so great that I was able to ask myself this question. It shows how settled and at ease I am with myself, and not ashamed to admit that Ireland would make me so happy; the person who always wants to embrace the whole entire world! The country I didn't want to return to! The fact that I'm here and seeing amazement everyday, loving it all and being excited as I jump out of bed each morning, really has the potential of offering me a place that would do me wonders. Wouw! I can't believe it! I'm 27 and finally not scared to admit that I can be happy here! Usually this consideration of staying in Ireland, would be one I'd put to the back of my mind. I'd not dare ask myself for fear that the answer might be a dreaded 'yes'; meaning all my traveldreams would be over and done with. I'm so certain that now, after being here for 6 weeks and feeling comfort but still yearning to travel, I'm no longer scared of the word 'settling'. I know I'm not running from having a possible settled and happy life in Ireland and I'd never say that Ireland can't make me happy. Because it can, it’s something I’ve learnt since being here.

But: happy and settled OR ecstatic, overwhelmed, challenged, inspired, learning, growing and jumping around the world? Never would I choose to give up living the second scenario to experience the first. As I'm typing this, I'm getting a slight pang in my chest and a feeling of panic is rising. Yes!! I'm sooooo grateful for that rising panic!! It's confirming what I was just expressing; my dreams are still being lived and needing to be followed through. Living out traveldreams! YEEEAAAAHHHH!!!!! I choose to see life as a dream. And if travels and dreams are forming the one word in my head, then travel is my life, just like dreaming is my life. They’re both one and the same. Right now, I’m travelling, pressing PAUSE. Each day does actually feel like a dream, so I’m doing all I must for now! What an amazing life. Now that I’ve established that I’m leaving soon, the next step needs to be addressed. When, where and how.. Humm. The game of life will show me the way, when I soon press that PLAY button!! How exciting!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Smiles for all

Out of India, 6 weeks. Have I distanced myself from it all? Have I forgotten about that place of magic? Am I so far away in time and space, that I can’t imagine I was ever there? Has too much happened since leaving that I haven’t been able to process the precious time I spent there?
The answer to these questions, is a simply “no”.

I may be focussed on other things right now, but I live India in my heart everyday. I can’t help it. I dream about it most nights. If it doesn’t come to me at night, there’s no escaping it coming to me during the day. I’ll regularly check what time it is over there (my mobile phone is still on Indian time), and I’ll think about what certain people are doing and seeing. I’ll hear the beeping of the horns and feel the manic driving, when the traffic here in Ireland is suddenly too civilized. I’ll sense the muggy air when the Irish wind feels fresh or even cold and I’ll feel the warm raindrops of a monsoon shower, when the drizzling starts and when people instantly stop smiling. But hang on! Were the people here on the streets smiling before it started to rain? Surely I would have noticed the smile of stranger, had it come my way! Those smiles can be so infrequent here that, when it does happen, it would definitely jump out at me! But they aren't jumping out at me! Even when I envision myself to be in a refreshing monsoon which is making me smile at this Irish world; I’m not attracting that smile back to me! But not everyone is that bothered to smile at strangers..

I won't be brought down by the faces that are exactly that: down. I see the world in a light manner and feeling India in my heart, keeps me distant from here, to a certain extent. I need that, for some reason. I know that engaging too much, can easily bring myself to also have that closed-off approach to the world; something I no longer appreciate and therefore want to avoid be. Just like negativity in every corner and complaining about nothing. Have people always been this way or am I only seeing this now? The art of complaining here, is second to none! People would be award winners, if such a competition would exist.

How can a person share all the joys that are being lived every day and every moment, when every single positive vibe or comment is being met with a negative? How can a person stay sane? Can’t a person express herself freely, without a “but” being the first word in the sentence of the reply she receives? Sometimes I really do wonder. I’m not wanting to send out these negative vibes myself, but I’m just being truthful about the way things are here. I’ve chosen to place myself in Ireland and therefore I’m experiencing myself differently amongst the people.

I’m questioning if I’ve really changed? Was I also closed off to meeting a stranger? Was I also starting every reply to positive remarks with a “but”? Who knows! But what I do know for sure, is the things that used to interest me, don’t anymore. I don’t watch the telly anymore. Commercial music sometimes resembles pure noise. Alcohol couldn’t be further from my mind. Shopping for clothes is not really a pass-time. I can’t listen to the radio; the news is aimed at depressing people and they’re succeeding; people are constantly feeding off each others’ misery and confusing their “compassion” for “giving their heads more worries to keep them awake at night and more things to gossip and complain about”.

This is the way of the world here so I can adjust and accept. It doesn’t so much get me down and instead of focusing too much attention on these aspects of society, I can choose to learn about what needs I have in regards to my surroundings, simply by relating to what I see around me, right here and now. I can realize where I feel comfortable and where I can express myself in whatever way I need to, and it will be appreciated.

I’ve adjusted and accepted the way things are here. But adjustment and acceptance don’t always lead to comfort. No matter how much I’m loving what I’m doing right now due to the “task” I’ve given myself (to write) and no matter how much I’ve learnt since being here and how gorgeous I’ve realized this Ireland really is, the fact of the matter is, I’ve come to appreciate other things in life and can often experience certain situations to simply be ones that I don’t want to find myself in. I’m not resisting, because I’m here and going with whatever comes my way. I’m just witnessing my place here now, and it’s changed. As have I. But change is good, it’s a welcome treat and can bring all kinds of different opportunities along with it. I don’t feel bad, I don’t feel odd, I don’t feel alien. I feel like me. And it’s so reassuring. So I can do and be wherever I need and I’ll find out along the way what’s right for me, simply by placing myself in different surroundings and situations. So wherever this chapter may lead, it can be nothing less than brilliant!! Care to join me…??

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Irish dreaming

Since being in Ireland, I’ve been trying to find a path. And I have. For now. I know this is what I must do and then I can move on. Each day I still wish for travel. I ask for answers and I dream of jet-setting night and day. Particular places, particular scenes and situations I create in my mind. And at this moment in time, I’m trusting that by starting my days with a drive through the green hills followed by 2 cups of green tea in a coffee shop so I can write my heart out about my current situation - before diving into other methods of writing in the library for some hours - I’m keeping my dream very much alive. Another thing that’s keeping my dream alive is the current home situation.

How can this be? And, more to the point, how IS the current home situation, with Ma, Eileen, Sean and the little bundle of joy Cian? Well, after travelling by myself for many months, I can find it difficult to live in surroundings that are often “manic”. Everybody is so busy and the pace is sometimes passing me by. But I don’t really need to keep up with it. I just let it go and stick to what I’m doing. Being in a house with such a gorgeous little man, of only 11 months, is definitely something I needed to adjust to. The space, peace and the time to spend doing what only I wanted to do, is what I was used to for quite some time. So this is great to experience; the contrast between calm and commotion; I’m not frustrated or regretting any of my decisions.

Today I actually sat and watched the whole scene of "family-life" in motion. I placed myself outside of what was going on and I disengaged from everyone and how they were relating to each other. I just watched and I loved what I was seeing. I felt so lucky and so spoilt for having a place within something of such "madness". I felt so lucky that this scene I was witnessing, is my base, that this is where I’m always welcomed with open arms, that this is where I’ll always fit-in and where I’ll always be accepted and understood if I can’t fit-in as easily as I once did. So why is this situation keeping my travel dream alive, if it feels so good? For some reason, it all encourages me NOT to settle.

Certain surroundings only work well for me, for a certain length of time. Especially if I want to keep that place as a special part of me. And with Ireland, this is what I want. I’m experiencing it more differently than I imagined, in such a positive way, and I don’t want to loose this. Also, I cannot settle in a place where what I’m wanting from my life on the whole, isn’t on offer. I see the life I want, when I take a look inside - I was going to say: when I take look into my future, but nobody can predict their future; it’s safer to follow a vision of what the heart shows you because this isn‘t a prediction but instead a simple truth!

For the moment, what I want from life is here. But I always feel when the change is coming and when a place will no longer offer me what I need. That time will come here too. Other things I need from life, besides writing, aren’t available to me when considering my current situation; I’m talking about independence, inspiration and expression through travel and writing, a deeper vision of the world and an environment that will teach and set me so free by simply placing myself in that amazing place.

I can feel that Ireland is great for now; because I have a purpose. When it’s done, I will be without; but I'll still be in Ireland. And what I'm certain of is that all else for me, is beyond Ireland. So I’ll be wanting to leave, and desperation will be mine; as time is so precious. The purpose of writing is setting me free right now. If that purpose is fulfilled, will I be soaring or will I then be trapped? I’ll only be trapped if I don’t use what I now know to prevent this from happening.

Preventing myself from feeling trapped is one of the challenges that being in Ireland brings me. And I know exactly how to do go about dealing with this challenge. Already I’m doing it by realizing the dream of travel! At present I’m not planning too much, but I know that my time is coming; I can be braching out again. Another way to prevent the feeling of being trapped in Ireland, and also to feed my travelbug, was by meeting my angel yesterday afternoon, who is always my source of inspiration. I met with my saving grace, Diann who helped me become free during difficult time, before I set off to Oz in April 09. We connected differently yesterday, deeper than before and I cannot say how grateful I am for this!

Also other opportunities have come my way and a few doors have been opened; they too are supporting my time here and making it even more worthwhile. When it comes to leaving, I shall be taking these new experiences, references and times of inspiration and growth with me along the way. This will aid me in future challenges that I’ll come to face. And it excites me so much! I do have a timeframe in mind, but I don‘t want to say too much right now, because it sometimes can backfire. So I'm letting life run it's course and still taking each week as it comes. I'll continue to do what I’m doing and also I'll continue to trust whilst dreaming the dream! Life is so magical..

Close to home

The town of Arklow - Not the place for me. The home front - so nice and cosy and easy to experience. 3 weeks since leaving Holland and arriving in Ireland. So fast time has been passing by. Everyday I’m filled with excitement for what will happen. Every single day, since deciding to focus on writing, has been precious. Every moment has been precious and the days don’t seem long enough.

Ireland is bringing me “up” at the moment. But, not for wanting to sound negative, Arklow is not. So, as much as possible, I get away from the town. If I had the choice it would be 7 days a week. Instead it’s 5. When I’m gone during the days, I seem to then be free and I feel like I’m travelling. I’m not at home, I’m by myself, I’m away from the town that doesn’t set me free and I put myself in places and choose to see them as having the potential of being anywhere in the world; when in reality I’m so close to my home. It’s so much fun!

When I go to Bray, at lunchtime, I have an hour at the beach. There are people from all over the world walking along the seafront, whether it‘s cloudy, windy, warm or wet. There are tourists, immigrants, locals and commuters.. All walks of life and the Irish Sea is right in front of me. It sometimes has a gorgeous deep blue shade, when the sun shines on it and the sea itself shows me the whole world! It’s amazing. It’s moments like those when I think to myself: who needs to be gallivanting around the world when there’s such things to experience, only 40 minutes from my front door! So that’s where I am most days, when I allow myself to leave the library for lunch; for the sight of the sea, the people and to be with the world again; because observed in writing for hours, can sometimes take me away to others places and my surroundings can seem to disappear. On the odd days, I’d go to Dublin and get a taste of the library in the “big city”, which is full of dedicated professionals working and studying hard. In between them all, sits a Niamh floating in and out of space, seeming to be doing nothing, but reliving past experiences, emotions and adventures that were once recorded with a purpose to set herself free. Again, this feels to be the purpose of what I’m doing now; I’m working at setting myself even freer than I already am.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Shocked by amazing Ireland

I have a little travel-buddha that sits on the kitchen windowsill here at home. It was a present I got last year, before I left for Australia in April. A friend of Orla’s gave it to me. I never took it with me on my travels; it was too heavy. Now that I’m back, I’ve seen it sitting there, looking out at the garden. It’s like it was waiting for me. The little Buddha wanted me to come back and collect him; this happy little thing I’d only be too delighted to have with me when the times comes for me to be leaving.

Everyday, since being back in Ireland, I‘ve given his belly a rub. For the next weeks to come, I’ll continue. Rubbing it and wishing for travel, is something I‘ve been needing to do. Because I can’t stop dreaming and hoping to get back on the road.. even though I’m doing something I love so much right now.

I’ve been throwing myself into the writing this week. And I can’t tell you how much I’ve been loving it. It’s so fulfilling and I feel like I’ve got a full-time job. I go to the library in both Dublin and Bray, and I can’t seem to get enough of the whole scene. I sit in silence, am totally absorbed in that moment and I forget about the world actually turning. It’s like I get transported each day, for hours at a time, to a world that’s far away from here. A world that I’m creating. And I love it! Still I trust though, that I’ll be needing to leave, once this is out of my system. Otherwise the urge to be rubbing the travel-Buddha‘s belly everyday, wouldn’t come. I don’t want to switch-off the travel urge. It’s very much alive. But at the same time, I’m shocked by how much I’m enjoying my time here in Ireland. And it’s all because I love what I’m doing each day.

Everything I now see in Ireland, amazes me. This amazement got stronger over the past few days. I can’t say for sure what’s happening. But all I know is that I love the things I’m seeing and experiencing. I love walking through Dublin - and seeing the people all looking so “Irish”. I love the way a total stranger would call me “pet” and treat me like somebody they’ve known for years. I love the ease as I walk down the street. I love the smells coming from the pubs, which is usually of vinegar and chips that’s being served for lunch, as I walk past. I love the scent of the freshly cut grass, that gets stronger, just as it starts to rain. I love the drive to Bray with Mam in the car every morning, along the road that passed the green hills. I love the sight of the little kids with their red hair and super strong Irish accent. I love getting the train to Dublin and feeling no pressure whatsoever in terms of the crowds of people or stares. And most of all, I love that this new appreciation has come, due to me having experienced a different country so extreme. This makes me automatically love a game I’ve started playing in my mind, as I sit on the train: comparing the people I see in the city to the people I would see in India. It makes me so happy; these differences!

I’m one and the same as them, of course I’m well aware of this. But I can still have the ability to witness everyone from the outside looking in. I can step away from it all; from both the people and the surrounding world. And the differences in mannerisms, in attitudes, in approaches towards life then start to jump out at me and I simply have to laugh, when they don’t give me a sense of wonder. Otherwise I’d simply cringe. But I don’t cringe! If I can’t see the wonder, I have to let go of any sense of frustration or sense of loss I may feel for no longer being in India. I can then realize that everybody sees life differently, and it doesn’t make their views, habits or ways of living and looking at the world either right or wrong. It’s just a simple fact of living. And to be apart of these contrasts, but at the same time to be the observer, is amazing. I can experience the best of both worlds, and that is so freeing!!

This is exactly why I’m appreciating Ireland in a different way. It’s getting me to connect properly with my roots. I can feel that now more than ever before. I can be so grateful. And whenever I get a sense of panic at the thoughts of not having a flight booked to anywhere in the world, I have to tell myself that there is nowhere else in the world I need to be, not just yet anyhow. I need to be here for now for different purposes. And connecting is one of them. Connecting with the family again, was my initial reason. And suddenly a few more have been presented to me. Connecting with Ireland in general and seeing it for the beauty it owns, and giving my mind the space it’s need to breathe and to express itself - hence the writing.

Connections on different levels - my roots, my family, myself. I’m so lucky to be getting this chance. And the thing that drove me to be here, was a priority I had when I was travelling; I needed to share my experiences with the family. It’s way different than sharing experiences and stories with fellow travellers. But now I’m getting the chance to share with the Kennys and the Keoghans! And not to the extent though where they think: “oh no, here comes Niamh again with her stories”. Not to such extremes. Putting these thoughts into their heads is actually something I’d much rather avoid. I’d rather keep my stories to myself, if I’d otherwise have the tendency to swamp them with my experiences.

When I was on the road, I often felt like I was changing so much, that I was becoming disconnected from those living their different lives at home. It would make me feel distant at times, and yet other times it would be a reason for me to continue travelling without making the effort to connect; at times it felt to be the easiest thing to do. But my family are too dear to me, to let a disconnection develop, due to differences in cultural experiences as well as distances in time and space. Therefore I’m positive that I’m where I need to be for now.

Yet, I still ask everyday for travel to be my life; supported by the writing. It’s a dream I’m hopefully in the process of making my reality, if I’m not already living it..

Monday, August 9, 2010

Facing my amazing truth

Many moments of contemplation later: Travelling and moving, with too much haste, may SEEM to be what I always do. It may SEEM that I never give myself enough time in the places I pass through. It may SEEM that I run. Am I, or have I been running though? This is something I’ve questioned many times - because others have also posed me with this question. And I can honestly say that I’ve never felt to be on the run. Leaving Holland last week, was natural; it’s what I needed. Leaving Italy 3 weeks ago, was a normal step to take; I simply left because there was nothing holding me there. Leaving India 4 weeks ago, was a must, because of the visa. Leaving Oz 7 months ago, was what I wanted.

This past week though, I was seriously wondering, if I was running from Ireland, by desperately trying to find “a way out”, by means of a teaching job. It sure felt to be that way! Voices inside my head were telling me to move.. NOW!!! But I had no real place I wanted to focus on. I still very much feel pulled back to India. It’s very strong. But it’s not possible yet, because of the visa. It can’t be renewed until I’ve been out of India for at least 2 months. As it stands, I’ve only been gone a month. Of course there are so many other countries I’m dreaming of travelling to; Nepal, China, Japan, more of South east Asia…

I realized though that there’s something else I need to focus on, and life has simply presented me with all the “ingredients” I need, in order to keep that focus on this one particular thing that drives me each and every day - besides travel. I can take this time, this opportunity, these weeks of being in a place of ease and comfort, to do what I must. I have no job or commitment in a sense. The only commitment I feel to have, is to myself. And committing to myself, is committing to writing. My burning passion sits inside and it needs more attention, it needs my focus. It’s been wanting to come to life for so many months now - but due to travel and work I was never in the proper space in my head to actually bring to life that potential it may have. So now I feel it’s my time.

I’m choosing to see the next while as an opportunity to finally focus and work on my writing. I’ve been wanting to properly do this while I was in India. And I tried, but I wasn’t able to, or not to the extent I wanted to. Over the past few days it took me quite some strength and a big adjustment was needed in order for me to change my mindset from “running towards a teaching job” to “listening to my heart and following my passion”. But with a little help from a very special aunt in Painstown, I did it. I needed to take this different approach. I needed to be honest with myself. And this is my truth. My priorities are in order and the chapter can start in order to be continued, which will keep me heading in the direction I‘m meant to be heading towards. I’m keeping my mind here in Ireland, with the writing I need to be doing. My heart is also here and because of this, nothing will be passing me by. My time here is suddenly so precious, valuable and I am free to breathe without worries, stress, pressure or judgement. My time here will remain to be so free, until I feel my words are doing the work they should. The next week will be insightful and inspiring and whatever comes my way over the next part of my journey, I’ll be sure to share.

The blind search for jobs

8 days of being in Ireland. I reckon each day has started counting as 2. That’s how long I feel to be here. I’ve been up and down, I’ve been panicked and at ease, I’ve been sane and insane. I’ve been all over the place. In between spending time with the family and getting into the swing of things on Irish soil, or just on the home-front (which I slotted back into without any problems whatsoever), everybody’s life has been continuing. And so has mine. But I started to question what exactly I wanted my life to consist of, at this moment in time..

So far, most of my days have revolved around me pushing myself to find a job. I’ve spent many hours wrecking my head with questions, about what where to go. I got swamped with opportunities presented to me online and was starting to feel desperate. I felt I’d never get a job soon enough. And all I was doing was letting the whole world around me, pass me by. I was at home, for an uncertain amount of time, and all I was doing was getting sucked into the worries and stress that searching for a job brings with it. I was pushing, forcing and so eager to get on the road.

In my mind, I was already everywhere in the world. I was in Spain, I was back in India, I was in Russia, I was in China, Japan, Thailand.. The list is endless. I even temporarily moved my mind to Saudi Arabia! Why so scattered? Because I had no focus, nor had I a direction. Yes, I wanted to still get a teaching job. Yes I wanted to travel. And the job agencies offer great opportunities. It’s also fun to teach and I’ve got a certain way that seems to fit with the job. But, as the week evolved, I realized it didn’t feel to be what I was supposed to be focussing on, in my life right now.

I was so absorbed in the internet though and found it so hard to stop. The search felt to be endless, because I was lacking in focus. Also I didn’t have a sincere passion and desire to go a particular place on this amazing earth so as to experience it differently than the tourist, by taking on a teaching job. It sent me into head-spins.

What I found out I was driven by, was my own critical self. I was judging myself so harshly just by the amount of time I would end-up spending in Ireland. That’s exactly it! I came here without any expectations. I came without a timeframe in mind. I simply came to reconnect with the family and I knew that I‘d find out what I wanted to do, once I‘d get here. But I wasn’t letting myself take the time to figure it out though! Oh no! I also wasn’t going to give myself time to refuel or to take it easy or to rest. Oh no! So, this urge to keep going, was my reason for aimlessly searching the globe for teaching jobs. It meant I was proving that I was only passing through and that I was on a whirlwind journey which I urgently needed to continue! I found out though, that this was doing me no good at all..

Green grass of home

Being reunited with Ma, felt so safe and was actually very emotional. I hadn’t expected it. We made our way home, and all the way I was thinking (in between talking) of the ease in being in the place where I’m from. I was comparing being here to being in India; for the first time since leaving that country 3 weeks ago.

The urge to compare came out of the blue. The weeks that had taken place in between leaving India and arriving in Ireland (when I was in both Italy and Holland), suddenly felt like clear spaces of transition that held-on to a lesser part of me, no matter how much my sisters and friends mean to me. The manner in how I’d be looked at, spoken to and approached, when I was in India, was coming back to me. I felt free here in Ireland, I felt a sense of belonging and there was no pressure. In India I’d constantly be explaining where I was from, why and how long I was in India for, why I wasn’t married, why I was alone, how big my family was and who was waiting for me in Ireland. I was told maybe 100 times to “convey regards to the family in Ireland” by the people I would either briefly or more closely meet. And Saturday morning, I was back in the place I had spoken so much of, when answering to the sometimes too nosey Indians on a daily basis for the past 6 months. I was in the country and heading towards the home that people were so interested in.

I felt that time had passed. I could feel that I had changed in certain ways. My outlook, of course, but only for the better. Life for both the family here in Arklow, as well as for myself, has brought different challenges, different lessons and different forms of happiness with it. The ways of living, for both them and myself, couldn’t have been more different. The home-life has changed for everyone, because of the extra addition. My godson Cian. It was brilliant to finally meet him! He’s now 10 months old, as handsome as can be, with big beautiful blue eyes, and just one dimple on his left cheek when he smiles so openly; which is what he welcomed me with on Saturday morning. I was now apart of his young little life and his small cute world.

So things here are no longer as they were. Not only because of that extra little life that fills the house with fresh air and love, but also because of what I see due to my different outlook. I’m experiencing being back, as being different. I feel fuller than I did, 17 months ago. I can see the world full of opportunities and I can see myself leaving too. I don’t know how just yet, or when. But I have to keep approaching my being here with a sense of simply “touching base” to reconnect, as well as a time to chill-out, to refuel, to breathe in the ease of fitting-in somewhere and to belonging to a home. And I will keep the open vision of the world, with me, each day, to keep me inspired and driven to continue how I want to live.

At first I almost felt like a guest, in my own home. This is because I’ve been so used to being in other family homes over the past months, where I didn’t belong nor where I could properly speak my mind and be as I wished, but where I was always welcomed with open arms. Now, I was in the one and only place on earth where I was HOME. So it was strange that, for the first instant, I couldn’t quite place myself. Maybe it was tiredness, maybe it was the change in me, maybe it was the change in the home-environment, maybe it was the fact that their lives have been evolving, and I had witnessed little to nothing of it over the past year. It was most definitely a combination of all of these things.

However I soon realized that I WAS home - regardless of my wanting to keep on moving. I WAS home, because I was able to speak my mind. I was able to tell Ma exactly what was going on and how I was adjusting, without being looked at differently, or without hurting anybody. I realized, through reconnecting again, that I can still embrace a feeling of comfort, a feeling of unconditional love and a feeling of belonging. This doesn’t mean I’ll get stuck (which is actually something I thought WOULD happen - just by being comfortable in my home) . My passion to travel is alive. It’s there and it will stay there until it no longer is my main priority in life. For now though, it is.

So, as I embrace these days of being at home, I can set myself up for the next chapter. I’m in the perfect place for now. I’m where I need to be, and time will tell how long this “passage through Ireland” is meant to last..