Falsehood

Pity in your eyes

You find me alone and assumed lonely

But I am my best friend

I take care of my needs

Better than any man can

Your eyes mirror mine in the past

Your complaints, the ones you keep hidden

Beneath the facade that marriage equals happiness

That solitude is a horror to dread

But hearing your tale

Stings of too many unspoken words

To close to the truth, that I face

Marriage is not a truth of life

Just a consequence of cultured drive

That monogomy is the only goal

With an abundance of screams

But we are different

Your pity unjust

As mine is buffering your arrogance

That I want your life, when clearly I have my freedom

 

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End of 2017

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So the end of the year is coming to a close, and I always find this is a time where I reflect a lot on the positives and negatives that have happened throughout the year. And the hopes, goals and anticipated adventures I will have over the next year.

The end of last year I’d flown back to Dublin, suddenly knowing that my husband left me out of the blue and I was going to be alone, in a city we planned on moving too together. I’d started that painful time of having to convince friends and family that yes, my husband really had left me, and no he wasn’t going to suddenly change his mind. I knew him, when he set his mind to something that was it. Regardless of whether this was the right decision or not.

There were a lot of low moments I felt during the year. I lost half of my family overnight (as typically happens during a divorce). Had to watch as the man who’d been my world disappeared over night, and then promptly moved another woman’s things into my home in London (whilst simultaneously seeing him lie about it). Looking back now, I’m surprised I didn’t have a breakdown at the beginning of the year to be honest. I came exceptionally close 3 times and the last of those moments terrified me, to the point I decided to take a year out from what was my life. In the hopes that I would heal myself. I’d like to point out this wasn’t to ‘get over my ex’. This is something that always rankles me, people assume I wasn’t over him. The thing I hadn’t come to terms with was that I’d spent the last 9 years of my life pursuing a white picket fenced dream that didn’t make me happy. And in the process, I’d completely lost myself.

There were some exceptionally positive moments during this year though where I gained more than I could have expected, or thought I deserved…

I realized what it’s like to have a family to support you no matter what. Got to know my sister on a completely different basis and finally understood what people say, when they say they couldn’t imagine life without her. Experienced my mother’s unfaltering support, to the level that in her mid- 70’s helped me pack up my life in Dublin, after I decided to take a year out of a high- pressured career.

Began to overcome my obsessive compulsive eating disorder and lost about 7 stone (which is about 98 pounds or 44.5kg). Started to write again, which has helped me to slowly find new ways to express my emotions (rather than eating through them). Took on my first outdoor challenge and travelled over 250k across Costa Rica coast to coast. Fell in love with walking, which has lead me to walk 1,000 miles on the Camino (raising ~€900 for Syrian refugees on the way).

I felt unexpected real friendship, when someone says ‘We’re not picking a side, I love you both’. Had endless visits, drinks and ears who listened unjudging. Had the joyful sparks of new friendships blossom and grow in Dublin, and then again with the walkers I meet on my Camino across Europe. And was completely blown away when one friend dropped everything to help me pack up my home in London (after, yes, you’ve guess, my minds 3rd attempt at having a nervous breakdown).

The bitter sweet edge at the end of year was falling in love again. But having to swallow the bitter pill when I realised I still hadn’t spent enough time alone, to know who I am, or at least not enough to be in a relationship again (without losing myself completely). But I’m trying to learn to be patient with myself on this. But patience has never been my strong suit!

And my hopes, goals and adventures for next year? Well, I’m hoping to kick my eating disorder permanently in the butt! Finish writing my first book (hopefully), or at least making a good start on it whilst lying on a sunny exotic beach. Walking 1,000 miles across Europe didn’t sate my love of walking, so I’ll be heading out on the Appalachian trail (2,200 miles) going from South to North USA. Then I’m hoping to head home to Dublin!

I hope you all have a wonderful end to your 2017 and all your dreams and wishes come true for 2018. See you in the new year!!

Ricochet

Get a job

Stay in the city

Be in a relationship

Have a child when I say

I know you

I know whats best

Live your life

In the shades of my own

My black, my white

I’ve watched you from the outside

I know whats right

I know whats wrong

Holiday here

Go there

Do this yoga

Live in this meditation

I know your addicitions

I know your mistakes

And all your solutions

Get married

No, why? Get divorced

You should have listened

Why are you so blind?

I know your life’s a mess

Do as I say, to fix it

And magically you’ll be happy

I’ll take a pause

And think to throw some stones

See when your glasshouse shatters

And point at the broken glass

See where you go now

My righteous friend

Judged

Pass your judgement

Condemn me with your words

Lies roll on your lips

False truths you peddle as reality

Let me live

My life anew-ed

Like a fresh child

My mistakes are mine to make

And consequences to live with

Let my future be mine

My life is mine alone

Mine to live and enjoy

Free of your burden of false responsibility

My choices weigh you down

But are not yours to bear

So pass your judgements

But keep them to yourself

For I’ll have none

ADAPT

My new wings unfurl

Drying in the sun

Crystallized, testing my resolve

Adapting me to my new world

My journey inspired them

Amazed them

To me it was mandated

No choice but change

My antennae curl out

Testing my new opportunities

Fooling myself that one road is right

Another wrong

I hesitantly take a step to one

Then understand

I can have them all

There’s no need to chose

Coast to Coast Traverse Part 2

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So I finished the journey extravaganza! But to start where I just left you, although the hardest part of the journey was over, the most enlightening part of it was still to come for me.

Day 4 had us set out from the beautiful wooden cabins at Orosi, and onto Taus with a much easier 14k cycle, followed by a slightly tougher 17k walk.

This day started me of with the huge news that my divorce is a couple of months away from being finalised. Key happy dance! Which is ironic, as when I first started on this path people would honestly ask me if I’d have a party to celebrate it. And my response then was why would you celebrate the death of a happy marriage. But now my rosy coloured glasses have gone and I know it wasn’t a happy marriage, so bring on the PPPPAAARRRTTTYYYYYYYYY!!!!! This has become the celebration of the end of a painful period in my life, but also a celebration of what I’ve gained. For example, I certainly wouldn’t have taken the time I needed to get the level of fitness I needed to do this trip if I were still with my ex.

The majority of my day was left in contemplation of my divorce and the attacks of Barcelona (which happened the day before) as we cycled through gently loping hills, and hiked into our first real view of the jungle. After stopping to try sugar cane with the group, I loped in front of everyone to get some quiet time and space to reflect on life. Heading out into the peaceful cloud forest with cricket buzzing, bright blue large butterflies floating everywhere, helped my head clear. After this the path gave way to fields with gently doe eyed beige cows.

Taus gave us the last of the most basic camp sites leaving us unconnected to the world, cold showers and basic conditions. But a swim in the river cured everything, taking away layers of stress I didn’t even know were there.

Day 5 gave us a long, but easy 45k bike ride, followed by a relaxing 18k white water rafting on the Pacuare river. Ending in camping at the best site yet, El Nido del Tigre, which translates to nest of tigers. The cycle took us across a tarmac road with field after field of sugar cane crops. Even passing a sugar cane factory from 1882 which mared the soft hills with its rusty and dilapidated appearance. The last of the cycle took us to a steep down hill stoney section. I defied my nerves and made it all the way down on my bike, with a continual mantra of ‘f**k, f**k, f**k, f**k, f**k’ mixed in with ‘sh1t, I’m going to die’.

Once we were in the raft one of my team mates did an awesome impression of superman and catapulted himself out of the raft (much to his wife’s chagrin). And a snake decided it might be fun to try to jump into a raft, but thankfully his aim wasn’t that great! The rest of the trip was fairly sedate much to my disappointed as a adrenaline addict. Although we had a quick stop off to swim in a waterfall pool which seemed more appropriate for the couples in the group (whilst being served chilled champagne and truffles). Sadly not though, instead they got the guide trying to demonstrate his manliness by climbing the waterfall and jumping off instead. But in fairness if I’m not getting any, it only seems fair their mood should be killed too!

When the raft pulled into our campsite everyone’s sighs of happiness could probably be heard for miles away. But this day wouldn’t continue without some more adrenaline to satisfy me. So the ground literally shook whilst we were in the wooden open walled 2 story common room. The vibration ran through my body, whilst the steel bolts in the house screeched, and the timber creaked in response. And I think I could see the moment the guide bricked himself… literally…. Needless to say he’d never felt an earth quake out that far out but we were all safe and sound.

After a refreshing brief cold shower I spent the rest of the afternoon snuggled into a hammock with Silvia listening to bad music off my phone.

Day 6 we had to suffer another day in El Nido del Tigre. The campsite woke slowly with hummingbirds buzzing every where whilst I went hunting for the little tarantula I’d met the night before.

Although it was a free day we went on a hike through the jungle and the girls stereotypically squeaked every time they spotted a rather ferocious looking tiny spider, whilst I tried to get the angle right on my camera for my soon to be national geographical award winning shots of the deadly mites. But sadly no, none of them wanted to seem to do the poses I kept yelling at them. Why can’t they understand English?

The afternoon was spent jumping in the river again before it hammered it down with rain for the rest of the day. The river was a murky brown, with a small cable cart running across the top of the river. For the local Maleku indigenous tribe to run into the village for general products.

I spent the rest of the afternoon lazing in a hammock contemplating the next adventure on my list. Walking 1000 miles on the Camino across Europe. Unsure if I was really ready,  but trying for once to be kind to myself and accept that I’d done as much training as I could and the worst that could happen is that I would take longer over it than I wanted too.

Day 7 took us out of our little slice of paradise on the rafts for 18k, finishing at Finca Pacuarito. The river was abundant with Tiger Herons and King fishers. But unfortunately no matter how much I yelled at the monkey’s they funnily didn’t want to appear or even come into the boat with us. The guides spent the rest of the time trying to marry me off to one of the guides. With promises that he was an excellent cook, and only wanted 20 kids.  I told them that I wanted 30 and wouldn’t settled for less. Unfortunately I think this was too much for him. Shame, as I really can’t cook.

Day 8 was the last day of our epic journey across Costa Rica. We start off early cycling a brief 27k through banana plantations. Then finishing in what felt like the never ending kayaking of only 11k.

The cycling was the first time I felt the difference between the Pacific and Carribean sides of Costa Rica. Mainly as most of the time men kept yelling come here beautiful, and hello lover to me and Silvia. Which had us giggling like school girls.

At the end of the afternoon we finished at the Carribean coast, which was no where near as beautiful as I’d expected. Littered in rubbish with a grey beach. But hey ho, we’d just finished 258k journey coast to coast, so all I was really thinking was hand me the bubbly!

After this we jumped into a speed boat and I caught my one and only glimpse of a monkey, whilst the wind was making my hair look like a mad woman. We finished our trip in a hotel in Cano Blanco, where we partied till the incredibly late hour of 11pm. On the plus side though, I got a salsa lesson from the barman there. So it wasn’t a complete loss.

After a morning crashing out on the white sandy beach we jumped back into the truck for the long trip back to San Jose, before I flew onto Atlanta.

As my first serious physical adventure I think this has me a little prepared for the adventure of the Camino across Europe. Would I do it again? Probably not, as I’m definitely NOT a cyclist. If you are though, this would be an adventure I’d recommend to anyone for a introductory challenging cycle, whilst you get to sample Costa Rica’s culture and amazing wildlife.

Coast to Coast Traverse Part 1

I started the coast to coast traverse across Costa Rica with 6 other loco people and our guides. This basically involved us crossing the entirety of Costa Rica cycling and hiking (with a dash of rafting and kayaking for variety). To prepare before hand for this I did basically no cycling (except for a spot of training at the gym). But most weekends I could be caught hiking along the beach, or in the hills (mainly because I hate cycling). What was I thinking?! The majority of the 258k distance is cycling (like 170K!).

Costa Rica is a beautiful country in Central America which prides itself on its approach to taking care of their biodiversity. Which is to help bolster their main industries, tourism (the others being coffee and banana imports).

On the first day we did an ‘easy’ 24k cycle and 18k walk, starting out from the Pacific Coast, at Playa Quepos. It was a gentle introduction to get us over our jet lag and the extreme heat down here.

The first cycle took us quickly from tarmac roads, onto to rocky very stoney roads that would be the state of the majority of all roads we took.

We quickly broke into 2 groups, the faster paced group, and Silvia and I. Silvia is a beautiful woman I met from Barcelona, who is very patient with my awful Spanish! And we seemed to spend the entire time singing or listening to music during the entire trip. This kind of behavior isn’t conducive for others who wanted to commune with nature, but in Silvia’s words we had mucho fiesta! After walking to the point I manage to hold 2 tiny swimming pools in my boots, we arrived at the local school in Naranjillo that we’d be calling home for the night.

The rain in the afternoon was so extreme we set our tents up in the school. The school was to be one of the more basic campsites we set up at through the trip. The food was simple but very tasty. Which was to be a fairly continuous repeat of meat, a carbohydrate and vegetables through the whole trip. Of which rice and beans could be found most nights (and occasionally in the morning too), as this is the national stable food in Costa Rica. The night sky appeared promptly at 5-30pm, the few stars covered in grey, purple mottled clouds. Everyone crashed out fairly early (before 8pm) which would be a recurring factor most nights.

Day 2 was spent hiking 13k along side the coffee fields, followed by a simpler bike 13k down hill.

Once we started the walk we entered wide paths alongside large coffee fields.  Where the plants were at the beginning of showing their green beans, with the occasional bean turning a deep ruby red. Vultures punctuated the sky, with workers spraying pesticides and fertilisers from large canisters onto the crops.

The occasional truck drove past over crowded with workers on the grey graveled road. Peeking into one parked 30 year old red truck with peeling paint I could see the foam completely disappeared from the seats, leaving giant steel springs for seats.

When our guide passed a mother and son eating lunch, he stopped and gave them our left over chocolate biscuits. I became very conscious that chocolate biscuits are so common, to be a normality to me. But here their faces lit up. Where a good days work will give them over $20, when it’s coffee season. But with that pay it would be unlikely to stretch to chocolate biscuits, to the level of normality they are in the western world.

The rest of the day was spent on a simple down hill cycle, ending at Santa Maria.

Day 3 was the hardest day cycling 45k, starting with a steep 14k hill with multiple switch backs. The hill was a busy tarmac road with trucks and lorry’s passing me (along with the rest of the group!). As I reached the top of the hill, clouds descended and the wind actively started to push me backwards. It became an endurance battle, as my energy reserves were none existence from the small snack I ate beforehand. This lead me to think a lot on that hill about resilience and what it was to do this type of challenge as a single woman. The couples in our group had the women and men split the natural tasks, with the men typically carrying everything. I didn’t have any of this, and it made me wonder when do you start asking for help from those around you. Something I naturally feel uncomfortable with, as it lead me to feel indebted to people. But after today I wondered if this was a useless habit. Either that or I need to find a slave,  wait, sorry, man, yes sorry, a man, quickly.

After a much larger breakfast (which my body immediately rejected helpfully) we went down a stony road. Then onto some slightly harder up hill roads again. Before we hit the next main challenge of the day, down hill on clay pathways. With shaky legs after a near fall which left me bruised, I ended taking a slow walk down the majority of the hills, whilst the men and Silvia sped off into the distance.

The last challenge of the day was to cross a river, which I promptly fell sideways into laughing hysterically (which earned me a title of Mad Amy). We then went on a simple and fast pace tarmac road to the beautiful wooden homely cabins we were staying at in Orosi. Unknown to me at the time, this would prove to be our last day with WiFi connection, which threw me suddenly being out of touch with the world. And even worse..Matthew McConaughey had stayed here, and I wasn’t told till after wards. I am deeply scarred, as I could have very appropriately tried to sleep in the bed he’d had and try to sniff out what he’d smelt like…

Apples

I was one half

of a whole Apple

dangling on a branch

 

Till you cut yourself free

my friends poured Lemon Juice

to stop the rot

too late

 

I browned beneath

acid burning my eyes

turning the years stale

twisting against what had been

 

My seeds fell to earth

burrowing into fertile soil

my roots sprouting wings

leaves stretching forth

 

A whole tree is born

where my apple once was

your scar remains

but consumed and lost forever more