after all these years I’m leaving Cork for good…
I’ve thought about how to start this blog a million times. This is the best I could come up with.
It’s been 17 years! Almost half of my life and most of my adult one. Although, to be fair, I wouldn’t call myself an adult. I keep saying that I’m 17 since I turned 13.
The real capital of Ireland, Cork, will always be in my heart. It’s been part of me, or rather I’ve been a tiny part of it, for some time. Either way, Cork was home to me.
It’s been a ball, that’s for sure. The person I was and the one I am today are very different in many ways, but I want to believe that my core principles and values had always been there. I’ve met wonderful people that have shared their knowledge and life experiences with me and who have, I hope, learned something from me too. I’m an educator after all. I’ve made great friends whom I leave behind now, but I’m sure I’ll see again somewhere.
It’s sad to say goodbye and difficult to change your whole life and routine. But that’s what life is, really. A constant flow of places, events, people, circumstances, moments, experiences… Because life is constantly changing. It’s a journey that takes you to places where you learn from others as you pass by and keep moving.
And that’s why I decided to take this trip. I want it to be a journey. I will have to make all the decisions for myself. Always following my gut. I am going to be on my own, outdoors, in nature, so I better learn how to survive. I want to enjoy the road and relish the path, whichever surface or conditions, as it changes from turn to turn, from town to town, from country to country. It’s a unique opportunity to do what I’ve been wanting to do for so long. A big adventure on my bicycle.
I had a great life in Cork. I loved my jobs working with people of all ages. I enjoyed going to class every day because I knew I was always going to encounter a new challenge. I was also involved with some charity organisations and community groups, which gave me the opportunity to work with and alongside great people. I travelled to, explored and experienced other places and cultures. I had, still have and will have for many years to come, very good and close friends. I was living in the north side of the city, I’m a Norrie after all, and it was just perfect.
But I had to leave the house and move on. After several months trying to find a solution to my situation, I decided that I was going to make the most of this opportunity. I was going to cycle from Cork to Madrí.
Why not? I cycle every day, mostly in the rain, carrying my stuff in my panniers. I don’t own a car, I just cycle everywhere. My bicycle is my vehicle. I have all the gear I’ll need for a trip like this as I’ve been planning it for a long time . I love being outdoors and as close as possible to nature. I live a frugal life and can get by with just the bare necessities. Therefore, I have some money saved to get me by for a good while, I think. I don’t have any attachments, commitments or debt. I have done a lot of research and tested my setup and overall plan on a regular basis for a long time. I am healthy and can take care of myself. And, I have the right mindset and approach one needs to do something like this.
I want to do this!
I can do this!
So, I’m going to get on my bicycle and start pedalling…
I know there are many aspects to consider when embarking on a journey like this. Believe me, I know, I did my research. (I’ll talk more a bout it in other blog posts during my journey.) So I’m going to do it my way. I was going to anyway, to be honest. See how it goes. And change anything that may need to be adjusted. Eventually, I’m sure I’ll manage to organise all my stuff and pitch my tent wherever looks most convenient. Every day is going to be a new road, a new place, new people, and a new bedroom. Sounds perfect to me!
I have an idea of the route I want to follow. Starting in Cork, Ireland, all the way to Madrid, Spain. With Athens as my ‘turning back’ point. I’ll be using several networks of cycle lanes and greenways across the European countries I visit. Yet, the route keeps changing. All the time. And that’s what I know it will happen once I’m on the road, anyway. Which way will I get there, or how long will it take me, no one knows. Not even me.The uncertainty and not knowing what’s going to happen are so exciting and nerve-racking at the same time… but I can’t wait to be on the road, on the move!
I know some people living in the continent, so I hope they’re home whenever I may happen to be around. I have family in a few places along the route, so I’ll definitely visit them. Some friends might join me as I pass by certain areas and even cycle with me! I’m sure I will also meet many good and interesting people every day.
So, after all these years I’m leaving Cork for good… It’s my time and I’m as ready as I could ever be. Life has offered me this chance and I’m going to take it!
As I advance in my journey, I’ll write any ideas that come to mind. I want to read a lot, all kinds of books that I’ve been meaning to read for a long time, and take many photos of the beautiful places I’ll se on my journey. I’ll be sharing thoughts, words and images in this blog on an ‘irregular basis.’