Posted in An Trek Fada

Day 2 – Ja well, but why?

My favourite pose in Shankill Road, with my South African Beanie one... In reconciliation with one self all is possible
My favourite pose in Shankill Road, with my South African Beanie one… In reconciliation with one self all is possible

The flesh was willing, but the get up and go did not want to play with at the start.

The body was surprisingly fit after yesterday, but what started off as a sunny day – yes I even have a bit of sunburn – ended up being a day with gusts and showers.

So I am inspired by a comment by Gisela to write the reason tonight why I am doing this walk, and particularly in this outfit.

I am truly astounded every day how conscious young kids are already about their dietary habits, or lack of – and what they look like.

I respect and appreciate the Jamie Oliver’s of this world and all attempts to make kids eat more healthy, but even the healthiest eating child can have self image issues – and hence lead to eating disorders.

What you never hear about is that genetics also dictates what you will look like and how you will be built – and that we can do absolutely nothing about. So where are they explaining THAT to kids?

Where do they teach them coping mechanisms to deal with not being little Brad Pitts and Claudia Schiffers? Do they teach them other skills, or park it with a “ah you’ll be grand”

So I learnt when I was not going to be the next Ms South Africa to develop a keen sense of humour, or something akin to what is referred to as a personality.

I also learnt that when you are not “normal”, best to learn to laugh at yourself, before others do! Simple really!

So this walk is to raise funds for BodyWhys first and foremost, to help them help those who are not blessed with the confidence to deal with whatever causes their attitude with food.

But it is also for me. To remind myself that just before I take myself too seriously, and become too corporate – that at the core of who and what I am is having a bit of a laugh… even at my own expense.

When I read up on BodyWhys’s function in today’s society I realised that is exactly what they deal with. And I wonder how much time and hurt in my own life could have been avoided had I that type of support in my early teens, when it could have made such a difference.

Posted in An Trek Fada

Day 1 – Belfast #1

Terrence & Myrtle holding my hand for the first leg send off!
Terrence & Myrtle holding my hand for the first leg send off!
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There has been curiosity as to why I actually started in Belfast, when Dublin would have equally gotten the message across.

Well, it’s a very personal reason (and I apologise to other Irish cities in advance) – Belfast is my favourite city in Ireland (ouch – stop that stoning please!!)

The other reason is that now that I am officially Irish, I can cross the border “legally”.

What I have loved about Belfast since the very first visit is the tangible history embedded in every nook and cranny. This is not an old history, and the undercurrents of the political strifes are still very evident, but at least it is real.

The Titanic Centre is amazing, the walk up Shankill, and then through the storm gates down to Falls Road is like walking in time with history, rather than reading it in a book.

The Europa Hotel, the Crowne Bar, the Linen Library, and the list goes on. Most importantly the Taxi Tours are a must – but you have to do both a Protestant and Catholic one to get full perspective. The respect within the taxi tourism community is something I think many can learn from. Civility, some safety words but most importantly a mutual respect for each other’s turf.

Not an agreement, just a respect and understanding that everyone is different, but deserve their space.

So when we parked in front of the Titanic Centre today – may I add ON THE TAXI RANK as a man kept on reminding us (where is their sense of charity…. sinking! whahahahaha) – we had a car park behind us and in a thick Natal accent ask us if “This is parking”

What a co-incidence! Terrence and Myrtle are on holidays in Ireland in their winter woolies and fleeces! There they randomly park at the titanic centre – lo and behold only to meet more Saffas! And one that proceeded to strip for them! They of course now think I have been touched by Irish madness, but it was such a great send off. Unexpected but somehow as it should have been!

So with the Belfast Marathon just at an end, people’s initial reaction was not of surprise, as there were many lycra wearing folks around, albeit that they might have looked a little more sporty, if not less drenched. But yes, I did get a couple of lads commenting on “Look what this guy is wearing!” Really – lad – my job for BodyWhys is FAR from done!

I had a young boy on in Lisburn Road ask me if I was cold and needed an umbrella (Bless), and I made a few oldies giggle outside a home where they were watching the passing parade (under a canopy).

When I hit the A1 however, many tooted encouragingly, and although the last 4 kilometres were really hard going (a lot to be said for long slow rising slopes), a day done and dusted.

Now to wait and see what the joints think tomorrow (and not the ones I can smoke and fly with either )

Anyhow – one down and 12 to go… who’s scared?

Posted in An Trek Fada

– 14hours – The Casey Cup

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Stuart Ryan with the winning trophy just before he heads off to Canada…. Cutie ūüėČ

Today I spent a few hours at the Wexford Wanderer’s Rugby Club for the 11th annual Casey Cup. For those not in the know, the Casey Cup is an annual May Bank Holiday event in conjunction with Greystones RFC to commemorate the untimely passing of a very young Casey Ryan.

The Casey Cup will have it’s own memories for me, but what struck me, as did the earlier post of the message in a bottle of George O’Hanlon, was indeed how many young people we loose before their time.

So I have been overwhelmed with word like “bravery”, “inspiration” and the list goes on for this challenge I have taken on …. of course including “mad” and “certifiable”. But before I set off on this journey, I am reminded that a couple of day’s trek does not make up for the unconditional and repetitive giving¬†of others.

To loose a child like Pat & Helen Ryan did, a brother, friend, grandson, would debilitate many for life. But people like the Ryan’s continue to give selflessly in spite of their grief and longing.

It’s through the community of people coming together even after all these years in support that you realise what an incredible place Wexford, and indeed Mankind¬†is, and with what care people respect and support each other. In those places in the world where this is not a given, we should be reminded how very grateful we are for all we have – the freedoms, the choices, the friends and a sense of community.

Before I embark on my trip to Belfast to start the walk back home (and I mean home in it’s truest form), I am again humbled by the support, but most importantly¬†– I ask that we remember those quiet and unsung heroes like the Ryans that simply keep on giving¬†in their own generous of spirit and quiet way.

So on that note – best I get a bit of rest now – An Trek Fada is still only a couple of words needing to be turned into action – LIKE DONATIONS!

Please donate at the top for BodyWhys Ireland.

Posted in An Trek Fada

-2 Days – Wet! Wet! Wet!

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It’s official on 4 apps…. 70-80% chance of rain on Monday! Well, as a wise man once said, there is no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong clothes.

Enter the full on Transparent Mac. Belt, pockets… The works. It is now taken out and aired in advance.

I would be lying if I said I was not disappointed, as dry weather would obviously make the first day that little easier, but hey! It’s all for a good cause.

That said, keep those donations coming in… It’s now a case of wet and lost dignity for a great unsung charity that is BodyWhys Ireland, but that affects almost everyone at some level!

See the DONATE HERE! At the top of the page and Just do It!

You know I will!

p

Posted in An Trek Fada

-3 Days – Fear

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It’s extraordinary how debilitating fear and self doubt can be.

Those who know me knows that I am not half as opinionated, obnoxious and confident as many would believe. In fact, when I tell folks that I am painstakingly shy they find it hard to fathom…. Verging on ridiculous.

But that in itself is one of my greatest fears I face, that someone might see through me and read me as a pushover.

This new fear is the one of disappointment. The outpouring towards my chosen charity BodyWhys.ie has been overwhelming, their support phenomenal and hence the fear that I might fail them has become gut churning.

I am exhausted…. Not from work or walking, but from a pitted knot in my stomach that I might fail. And not only fail them, but fail myself.

The hardest thing in the world is sometimes to forgive ourselves in advance. So tonight, I am saying to me:

“What’s the worst that can happen?”
You could break a leg. Cramp. Blister. The list goes on.

But I sure is going to give it my best, and in the end that is all we can do. Our very and most determined best.

Posted in An Trek Fada

-4 Days – Message in a Bottle

Meant to be
Letter from Cumbria

Whenever I receive post at the hotel addressed to previous owners or staff that are long gone – I simply put it in the bin, as by this stage I assume it is junk mail.

Return to sender...
Return to sender…

This morning – for whatever reason – was different. I was about to put this hand written envelope from the UK, addressed to a Mr G O’Hanlon, in the bin when something told me open it. And so I did….

In there, was this letter from Margaret Battrick from Lancashire in UK, explaining how she was walking on the beach on 17th April 2014 whilst visiting her mother-in-law in Braystones, Cumbria – and amongst the rubbish she found this bottle with a message in it. The message had a reward of ¬£5 – no less – for the person who returned the message to Mr G O’Hanlon at the Brandon House, New Ross, County Wexford.

Very quickly we put the story together, and I decided to contact Mr O’Hanlon’s mother to tell her about this most extraordinary happening.

George O’Hanlon was her son, and was born on 7/7/77. She can’t quite recall when George sent the message in a bottle, but she can recall that he did as a young child. She was filled with joy and love, and told me what a creative, wonderful and imaginative child he was. How much she missed him and how wonderful it would be for her to get this, and to share it with his friends.

George O’Hanlon left us on 1 December 1998 – but through this extraordinary circumstance, I ask that just for a brief moment we pause to think of a creative young man – a dreamer – who sent a message in a bottle.

That message found it’s way to me today, so I am now adding George’s memory, and all those who left us too early – to An Trek Fada.

 

 

 

 

Posted in An Trek Fada

-5 Days – Agape

Two First time voters living the dream of the Rainbow nation in Ireland
Two First time voters living the dream of the Rainbow nation in Ireland

You would be forgiven if you are staring at the screen – agape with surprise. But alas, this is Agape – the Greek for Unconditional Love –¬†and it is Agape standing next to¬†my son, Helmut.

Meet Lutando – a 24 year old DA supporter living in Dublin who also voted for the first time today. He asked us – “Are we Christian?” A strange question to be asked as you have just cast your vote.

The answer is irrelevant – because his name is Agape.

The camaraderie, bonds, laughs and memories shared across the world today with all of us that travelled no matter how far or long, was a true Agape moment. The unconditional love of and for a country, a people and roots that define us in One Love.

So I reflect this evening on how truly very blessed I am with the incredible response over the past couple of days since I launched An Trek Fada, I am grateful for the blessing of being able to call this my home, and having the foundations of my roots firmly in Africa. I am grateful for my freedom, my equality, and my ability to raise my voice.

All of my roots are nourished by the reminder of the wrongs of the past, but in this picture Рthe possibilities of the future.

Unconditional brotherly love. Amen.

Posted in An Trek Fada

-6 Days – Read all about it

New Ross Standard - 29.04.2014Again, it’s been a very long day with much to be done before I can set off on my walk.

That said, today I have blushed like a virgin bride after seeing myself sprawled out on the front page of the New Ross Standard! I hope everyone donates very generously, as whatever dignity I had left is now there for the world to see, and I am realising that I might need counselling after this myself. Truly – how and why did I get myself into this?

Now I have to get some rest for my other great event – and that is to be at the South African embassy tomorrow morning at 8am to vote for the first time with my son.

My posts will be far better once the holidays start and all my attention will be on making it to the other side.

Posted in An Trek Fada

-7 Days

The Official Logo for An Trek Fada proudly designed and sponsored by Fleur Creative - thanks Mandy as always!
The Official Logo for An Trek Fada proudly designed and sponsored by Fleur Creative – thanks Mandy as always!

Today in a week’s time I will be standing at the steps of the Titanic Centre ready to embark on my journey back home to Wexford.

Right now I am scared of failing, and am thinking how much more I have to do before I can set off.

It is my intention to take you on this journey with me, but as with all things, there are only so many hours in the day, and until the walking is the only thing I have to do, then my posts will be brief. That should relieve those that know if a blog was a spoken word I would never stop talking!

Yesterday I successfully finished my longest training walk yet – 23km – and am in remarkably good shape today, bar maybe highlighting that my feet must not be forgotten.