It’s 3.20am and I am awake – gripped with a sense of uncertainty that I have not experienced for a long time. In actual fact, I think the last time I was this scared was just before I had to sing in an amateur production in my hometown in South Africa in French, ala Edith Piaf – I speak no French!
When I woke up about six months ago with this “epiphany” that I could create awareness by walking to Dublin, it was just a small seed, and when mentioning it to one or two people they thought I might have lost the plot slightly. But as the talk of global gloom got more prevalent, and here in my new adoptive home all seemed equally forlorn, I just felt that I had to do something to brighten the day a bit. If no one else’s – then at least my own.
From there the seed grew, and once “Big Chief” and “Mrs. HQ” gave me the go ahead, it was with great fun that we all systematically got involved to turn this into a reality – a reality that is about to hit me step by step, mile by mile all the way to Dublin. (my apologies to Liza Minelli fans everywhere – Mein Herr!)
I decided to do this blog purely on a personal level. Although the most important reason for this walk is creating awareness around New Ross and the Brandon House Hotel & Solas Croi Spa, it is also an opportunity for me to do a little social experimentation.
When I moved to Ireland about 8 years ago, it was a little by default, and was meant to be a short sojourn in this beautiful country. Eight years later people ask me why I stayed, and don’t I miss South Africa – I can honestly say this is now my home. Of course I miss my family and friends, but there is something here that kept me rooted on Irish soil. I do have to confess though – over the past 8 years I have seen a country change, and having been privy to “quick change” before, it was also interesting how self absorbed people seemed to get. Not so much that no one cared, but more a case of no one had time to care – too busy to chase the dream and keep the home fires burning, keep up with the Jones’s and to jet to foreign climes.
So I wondered – will people still open their homes to strangers. Does this warm Irish welcome still exist, or have we all become so weary and skeptical, that we cannot trust anymore?
So in that lies my quest – I am looking for a place to stay along the way. Because of the nature of my walk, and the size of my bulk – there are one or two prerequisites! The bed has to be comfortable and I need a bit of quiet to sleep solid for at least 8 hours. Oh yes – and the hosts have a duty of care to make sure I do not have more than 2 pints of Guinness a day – as per the strict instructions of Emmet and Martin – my “fitness” gurus. God bless them – they tried!
At the end of my first phase today, or even along the way if I have time – I will keep this blog to report on my experiences, and to hopefully in my private capacity get some sponsorship along the way for the two charities that lie near my heart – Aware Ireland (suicide awareness), and Compassionate Friends (a new Ross based charity that helps bereaved parents)
Now that I have cast this writ to cyber stone – let the journey begin! Roll on 10am – I’m ready!