Now that I’ve reached the decision to make the transition from the institutionalised existence of a full-time Civil Servant and Mother, to an Irish Granny on the run, living from day to day from a rucksack, with the uncertainty that lies ahead, I would be lying if I said that I didn’t have mixed feelings about this whole thing.  (When starting this blog I committed to giving an honest account, warts and all, of the journey I am about to embark on)! The fear of entering the realms of the unknown is palpable.  I have really known nothing outside of the regular routine of a full-time job in the Irish Civil Service coupled with the responsibilities of being a full-time Mum (mostly as a lone parent) to three amazing, grown up children for the past 32 years.  (I have, of course, travelled for short-burst holiday’s abroad. However, there is a particular level of comfort in knowing that after a few weeks you can come home to the familiarity of surroundings and get back to the routine of daily life).  I guess such a huge change will take a bit of getting used to under the circumstances. The unwavering support of my best friend and husband Colm joining me on this journey is without doubt the greatest comfort of all.

It certainly feels like I’m about to jump off a cliff!  But nonetheless, the excitement of taking such a quantum leap into this “life-adventure” at my age, coupled with the wonderful anticipation of meeting new people from various cultures, experiencing a completely unfamiliar way of life, not just travelling to holiday destinations but actually integrating with different cultures around the world, will, I’ve no doubt, be a mind-blowing and educational experience!

My first thought is that preparation is the key to making this work! That preparation involves, for the foreseeable future, letting go of many things that give me great comfort in my life.  I will be relating to the advice continuously given by the Dalai Lama and Buddhists generally, not to overly attach to any material things in life.  The little that I know about this principle will most definitely be tested now.

Living in a different country to my adult children will certainly be an excruciatingly painful step, (despite their reassurance that they’ll be fine and that I will be bringing them out to wherever we are at every given opportunity).  Leaving friends and family for such a long time (albeit only 2 years to start).  Putting the family home on the rental market.  The thoughts of someone else cooking big Irish fry-ups and bacon and cabbage in my kitchen, sleeping in my bedroom and my children’s bedrooms! Strangers using my showers and bathrooms!  Material things like my piano, my cosy couch with my snuggle blanket.  Not to mention my daily routines; the luxury of putting my make-up on in my magnified mirror, shopping in Aldi, Tesco, Dunnes, and oh the pain of not having the excuse of popping into Penny’s for a pair of socks and coming out with half of the clothes on display!That is almost too difficult to endure ha! I’ll be lucky to have shampoo and shower-gel for parts of this trip and clean underwear will be a luxury I believe!  Although Colm assures me that he has found a site that sells underwear with three leg-holes that can be rotated each day and then turned inside out and rotated again…a good weeks supply in one go 😜 😜

Giving up my full-time job might not be so difficult from a work perspective, but leaving behind my family of incredible work colleagues who have had to endure the whole minutiae of my daily life for years;  being subjected to continuous photos of my kids and grandson, my new husband and our wedding preparations for our big day in huge wigwam tents overlooking the Atlantic Ocean in Dingle, Co. Kerry. And the whole aftermath that goes with that. Sharing almost every waking moment with these people!

Not having them around will be hard.  Not for them mind you!  (I was sure I heard a muffled sigh of relief and a “yippee” when I announced my plans to travel 😂) On the absolute plus side…spending time with my only daughter, her husband and of course Harry, my Grandson who lives in Chicago. Every son-in-laws dream, eh? Having his mother-in-law come for a lengthy stay 👍👌

So, warts and all, it’s happening… we leave after Christmas for Iceland to start..there’s no going back now.  Look out World…here we come!  And now, just to finalise flights and accommodation. We have the pins, we have the map!   Oh…I hear choirs of angels singing…”Freedom…oh Freedom”

So, if any of you have any recommendations on places to visit, or travel tips (I’ve already had the incontinent pads tips and they’re packed lol) please let me know in comments below. Be back soon with more updates! Now for some Complan and a bit of Sudoku before bedtime 🤪🤪

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