Spanish Point → Doolin
Mileage: 22.1 miles Elevation gain: 1,278’
Total mileage so far: 477.7 miles Total elevation gain so far: 25,374’
You’re not going to believe this but it’s raining and quite windy on the west coast of Ireland this morning. I had two gloriously sunny days, which I suppose was some sort of record for the Wild Atlantic Way, and today the wind and rain have returned with a vengeance. Perhaps the sun is tired from all that shining and needs a nap.
Check-out in Spanish Point is not until 12:00 PM. I’ve got a short ride today so I’m snuggled into a comfy chair in the hotel lobby with a cup of tea. I can leave as late as I like and noon sounds about right.
In my inbox is an email from Paul, the owner of Wild Atlantic Cycling. Apparently my post about Simon had him in stitches. “Poor lad didn’t even get his shower!” he wrote with a chuckle. His reaction surprises me because when I was writing it I had felt so earnest, a sincerely conflicted solo traveler wrestling with deep-seated emotions far away from home.
Meanwhile Paul was laughing his arse off. And now another friend is congratulating me for “adulting with the Frenchie” via a text message from home.
I go back and read the post through their eyes. I can’t tell you how much it helps to lighten my mood. Does this entire month have to be a constant analysis of the depths of my overall loneliness, or can I relax and actually enjoy the experience? I admit that I do have a tendency to take myself, and life, a little too seriously. Europe may not be the best place to do that.
The rain and the wind are not letting up and at some point you just have to get up and get on with your day. I pack my panniers, prime á la Tony Robbins and pull up the hood on the new rain jacket I picked up in Dingle. Today I’m listening to my Peak State music playlist in my headphones for the first time and it’s making a huge difference. The rain pelts me but I don’t care because Katy Perry is passionately reminding me I’ve got the eye of the tiger / a fighter / Dancing through the fire / ‘Cause I am the champion / and you’re gonna hear me ROAR…
I’m flying with the wind at my back. This isn’t the prettiest ride so far but it’s the most exhilarating because finally my head is in the right place. Passing my 473rd cow pasture bobbing my head to Party Rock Anthem by LMFAO is a lot more fun today than it was yesterday without the tunes. And I think the cows are taking note as well. More and more of them are popping their heads up to check me out. “Hi guys!” I yell with a wave as usual.
Half way to Doolin I start to realize I haven’t been letting myself do enough of the things that keep me balanced. I’ve had my head down trying so hard to fully experience where I am that I’ve unintentionally bottled myself up. It’s gotta be OK to be me here, even if I look and sound like a dork at least I’m smiling and letting my guard down.
This month long trip is too long for me to not practice at least some of the daily rituals I’m accustomed to. For today, traditional Irish fiddling is dead to me. It’s just Katy and Gaga and PitBull from Spanish Point to Doolin. And with happy fun music in my ears the ancient ruins I’ve been avoiding on the sides of every road start to feel less creepy and a little bit more interesting.
Some of them make me grin. Seriously this is what I’ve been passing every day. You know, just some cows grazing below a medieval castle.
And I don’t think of the storm clouds as a hindrance so much as just a simple fact of every day and nothing worth worrying about.
Even the international hostel I check into is less annoying and much more comfortable than I would normally think.
Doolin is an adorable town on the Aille River. I’m looking forward to exploring it tomorrow and I’m feeling a little bit more like I can see this journey to the end. Sending love and light ❤