An Ode to Da

When I was born and you held me in your arms, you just thirty one years old then, did it cross your mind that one day we would be sitting on opposite sides of the world emailing each other logistics, moulding out plans for an adventure? I can picture you now sitting in your study on the battered PC in the backarse of Ireland, a V of a frown etched between your brow, typing painfully slow, one letter at a time. Me, thousands of miles away, lying on my bed scratching my insect bites typing a reply on my laptop, somewhere lost in Vietnam.

All those years, all those abstract ideas flickering to life in our minds but fading out before they really got a chance to catch fire. But here we are finally, me twenty three, you fifty four, and finally we have committed. It’s going to be so tough, you are going to drive me nuts trying to over plan everything, fretting about the gear and the bikes, and you will get frustrated with me, with my slow pace, when I moan that my body aches, and when I want to wild camp, or befriend the rabbis ridden dogs…  but holy shit what an adventure it will be!

How lucky am I?

Who has the time nowadays to even while away an afternoon talking with their Da, laughing with him, telling him about their lives, asking advice, sharing funny stories… just the two of them?

Who gets to do that?

Now, we have four whole weeks in front of us, just us two.

Did you ever think, I’ve got three daughters and no sons perhaps all is lost?

Did you ever think, when I was six sitting on the stairs in the middle of the night in hysterics because I couldn’t sleep in my own bed, that one day we would be considering doing this?

Or did you think when I was seventeen when you were carrying me home paralytic drunk from the Meadowlands after Ciara’s eighteenth that we would be undertaking something along these lines?

We’ve come a long way from playing catch on the bales of hay in the back field, from shooting hoops on the tarmac outside the house, from summer evenings spent whacking tennis balls back and forth in the golf links, from coaching my soccer and football teams, from walking Rascal in the long grass in the woods across the road, from running laps of the GAA pitch to train for triathlons, from bodyboarding alongside me while I tried to surf in the baltic winter swell off the shores of Achill Island. Sport has always been our thing. Sport has always brought us together.

And now, I get to quit my job. I get to throw all my clothes, make up and hoarded trinkets in the bin. And I get to board a bus to Hanoi to meet my Daddy after not seeing him for seven months and cycle the length of Vietnam with him.

And already I know it will fluctuate between moments of pure brilliance that we will never forget and moments of horror when we will question what the hell we signed up for, but regardless I must repeat… holy shit what an adventure it will be!

“Every day, life tempts and teases us to settle for mediocrity.” – Sophie Radcliffe, Adventurer.

But I will continue to resist and I will continue to defy.

Because I am your daughter, and that’s how you raised me to be.

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