Travel has been one thing about which I have no regrets, no wishes for do-overs, no could-have-been-betters. My travels have been imperfect, dirty and haphazard sometimes, but they are un-retouchable. Those memories are precious to me just the way they are.
Today marks exactly one year since we set foot (and paw) in the Netherlands for our grandest adventure. We said six months, maybe a year, and now here we are. We'd put a check mark next to it on the ol' bucket list, but we're not done quite yet. This chapter isn't complete, and the journey's not over.
What I realized is that you can plan to see all you want in Rome, and probably fit in much more than you ever thought was possible, and still, it will never be enough. You want to see just one more thing, or you want to see it again, and you always notice something new. Rome really is a never-ending choose your own adventure.
The second half, closer to the Atlantic coast, was intense with about three hours of constant 30-50km/h wind, intermittent heavy rain and hail. During this time I was riding a very remote section of these parts through the Killeter forest and surrounding open bog lands, and I didn't see anybody for two hours. It was a truly awakening experience to realize "the weather sucks, nobody is coming if something happens, I am not prepared to camp, ride as fast as possible to get out of here before dark."
Everywhere I go, people ask where I'm from, why I'm riding a "push-bike" in the rain and how it's going. There were many epic hills again this day and ultra-fast descents with the wind at my back and rain in the face. Extreme adventure and fun! I was happy I made it, had a hot shower, and then ate the best fish and chips ever... but not before photographing "Let the Dance Begin", the purpose of my visit to Strabane.
I bicycled from Armagh to Enniskillen based on some advice from the previous night’s pub conversations. Both are in Northern Ireland, but I ended up cutting back into the Republic several times. I was told this route was very scenic and worth the trip, which was very accurate. My day began with a flat tire due to a small thorn, but I patched it up in no time and carried on.
I packed my bags and flew to Dublin, Ireland to ride around the country in memory of my mom, who passed away last year. I assumed it would be green, I would get rained on, I would drink beer, eat stew and converse with many strangers. I DID!
Brian rides around Ireland for his mom from May 7-12, starting in Dublin at a monument called "Wind and Water" which has two dancers back to back representing harmony. And, on Mother's Day (May 10th) he will be visiting a dance monument called "Let the Dance Begin" in Strabane. We will be posting updates on his progress and experiences on our social media in days to come.
On the bright side, we’re making great headway on downsizing, moving and storing our stuff. It feels really good, and absolutely liberating. Every day we’re crossing items off our list and we can see the light at the end of this very long tunnel. This week we’re going to spend time with family, start moving some furniture and attend a wedding, which sounds like a pretty cool week to us.