The Wicklow Way. If you are in Ireland or you are on your way, you must do it. Uphill, downhill, views that make you shit your pants, waterfalls, silence, drinking out of streams, no crowds, no people, so few yellow arrows that you are bound to get lost….132km of the fairytale Ireland that you thought only existed in the mind of an eager American tourist.
I am on it as I write. I don’t know where abouts, somewhere between Glendalough and Clonegal, there is no people here. No signpost or no coverage so I cannot find out. I have a feeling that I walked over 30 kms today, but I have no way of proving it, only to show you my weeping feet. We are camped beside a slowly churning river, my friend and I, in a dainty borrowed green tent. We are hidden from view by the trees . I sit while my friend naps beside me on his poncho.
Look at us. Envy us. For our existence is so simple. We ate baked beans and a hot pot from a packet for our dinner, a galaxy bar halved for dessert. We washed the pots, our feet and our faces in the river and now we sit in silence, just listening and thinking. How can anyone be unhappy when they have the ability to live like this. And everyone does, you don’t have to be clever, athletic, beautiful or rich. You just have to want, you just have to stop with all the bullshit. Step away from the drama and the expectations. You have to stop with the fear, the doubt, the excuses. Trust me, life is a lot easier out here then it is where you are, sitting in front of a computer screen in your warm house with all your bills and worries and unticked bucket lists.
Alas, the night swept in. The condensation crept up the walls of the tent and began to drip. I put on more layers, another pair of socks, a woolly hat. I curled up in the foetal position and all was well for about ten minutes and then I was cold, really cold and wide awake for the next seven hours. It took a few hours of plodding along the following morning for my spirits to climb back up and get on with it. Which begs the question, although my mind has decided what I want to do with my life, is my body built for it? Can gear compensate for a body that has to sleep in a dressing gown indoors in the middle of August?
At least I’m trying I suppose. How many people aren’t?