Prologue: Home is the Sailor.
I’ve just spent a week in Ireland and I’ve been meaning to write/blog about my adventures on the green island since I got back. Yet, I’ve been busy with work and somehow, my mind’s also been occupied with other things and stories that want out. Today, I finally have some time (or rather: I’m simply taking some time) to write and maybe, I can find a way to get it all out – I’ll try to let all the stories out at once and hopefully, they will get along with one another and peacefully play together without kicking, screaming, pinching and without me sending them into a far corner of my mind to take a time-out or call in a writer-story conference.
Oh, the places you’ll go.
I’ve always suffered from a chronic disease: cabin fever. The prospect of traveling – anywhere, really – has always had a soothing effect on my usually uneasy self. I love plane rides, train rides, even bus rides and bike rides. Next to ocean shores and mountains, bus and train stations and also airports are probably among my favorite places in the world (at least whenever I get to go somewhere or meet someone – seeing someone off is probably one of my least favorite things in the world, but that’s a different story). When I checked in my – apparently impressively small – bag, I felt as calm as I hadn’t felt in a quite a while. Especially knowing that this feeling would probably last the entire week – because what’s there to see in Ireland? Exactly. Ocean shores and mountains. And sheep. Many, many sheep (Bah bah baaah – that’s “I love Ireland” in Sheep; yes, I’m fluent).
Like most people, I have many habits. I need my coffee in the morning, I buy more books than I could ever read and I prefer to fall asleep to music rather than plain, dark silence. None of these are too bad (in my opinion). Another habit of mine, though: I smoke. I’m not a chain-smoker, at least, but still. I’m a stress-smoker. And I have been smoking way too much in my opinion, all through August and September, because I was stressed. Which is not an excuse. I’d like to kick the habit. I’ve heard it’s easier to kick any habit when you change your general routine. I didn’t touch even one cigarette while being in Ireland nor did I feel like it – it seems almost blaspheme to inhale cigarette smoke while being surrounded by sea air all the time. That being said, I’m back home now and general routine’s been rearing its ugly head since I got off the plane – and my only solution so far has been to blow cigarette smoke right into its face. Is it my unrest or really just a bad habit I can’t get rid off? Or is it the same in the end?
Few things feel better than standing on top of a mountain that you’ve just hiked up. Especially with the soft, leprechaun-green Irish grass beneath and the dark blue of the Atlantic ocean below your feet. Also, few things feel more awe-inspiring. One moment of negligent curiosity and you’re sleeping with the fish – or you find yourself inside one, meeting Pinocchio or Jonah, potentially. There are some rocks – the Skelligs – an hour-long boat ride from the Irish coast, we wanted to but in the end couldn’t climb up. Weather conditions made it too dangerous and thus impossible (let alone our personal condition after the boat ride – the sea was a bit rough that day; go figure the consequences). They are mostly famous because around 600, Christian monks built their monastery on top of the rocks. In fact, they built them from the rocks. I still cannot imagine how they managed to do that. How they defied nature like that. And how they defied it and yet somehow still respected it, worked with it really (instead of marching in and just destroying everything, like it seems to be in fashion these days – sorry the tiny environmentalist in me sometimes takes over, but it’s a funny and cute creature, I’m sure you’d like it. Kind of like the Lorax, just maybe not that fuzzy).
Epilogue: Home from the Sea.
I would have liked to stay longer (as always), but I’m back. And (as always), I feel more restless coming home than I do while traveling. Maybe I was a sailor in a former life (although then, I probably wouldn’t have become that seasick during the boat ride?). Home is the sailor, home from the sea – I found this quote on a gravestone in a small cemetery on a hill right next to the ocean. I really liked it and I took it home with me (okay, this is a metaphor but I also, literally, took a picture of it). Another option: maybe we’re all sailors and my chronic disease isn’t just chronic but also contagious and already wide-spread.