Modern life is hectic – it’s easy to get caught up in the routine of it all and put exciting adventure plans on the “someday” pile. This is a pile many of us know well. The “someday” pile is often reserved for a time when all debts are paid off and when all other terribly important things on the To Do list have been ticked off first. Although the default method of categorising many hopes and dreams, it seems the “someday” pile is the one we mostly ignore.
The Wild Atlantic Way is the world’s longest uninterrupted coastal route and it tracks along the beautifully dramatic (and breathtakingly hilly!) coastline of west Ireland. It had been on my “someday” pile for a while. When I was invited to my family wedding last year, also in Ireland, I decided it was the perfect opportunity. Adventures are born out of opportunity and if you’re looking closely enough, opportunities are everywhere. Adventures don’t have to be epic or clean out your savings – sometimes, they can just be a little detour, taking an unusual route to a familiar destination
I worked out a rough agenda that meant I could tackle the route and arrive just in time for the wedding – with a couple of weeks to plan, pack up and hit the road. With only a couple of weeks from deciding to go and actually beginning the trip, final preparations hadn’t included much actual cycling! This meant that on day 2 of the trip, having vastly underestimated the sheer scale of the mountain ranges, I was behind schedule for the day.
My legs had yet to adapt to this unforgiving terrain and as it began to get dark I conceded that it was time to start looking for a place to set up my pop up palace for the night. A quick check of google maps told me that I could drop down to a nearby beach or continue climbing up and around the winding hills – unsurprisingly, with legs screaming, I opted for the downhill option.
On so many adventures, I’ve met with an invisible little adventure fairy that just seems to conspire with the world to deliver you a bit of magic when you least expect it – serendipity in action. In this particular case, my adventure fairy delivered an absolutely stunning home – the stunning views a welcome distraction from weary legs.
Tent set up for the night I sat quietly looking out to the Atlantic sea; considering the task ahead, contemplating my rather unappealing dinner of instant noodles. My muscles were aching and the comforts of a warm shower and a comfy bed were still a tantalisingly close memory. The beginning of a journey is always tough as you acclimatise to your new routine.
In the midst of this reflection, a family arrived in their campervan – on an adventure of their own, they’d also stumbled across the beach by mistake and naturally with it being so gorgeous, they also decided to stay. Being neighbourly, I went over to say hello and within 5 minutes I had a freshly cooked burger in one hand and a glass of red wine in the other.
This night, like so many I’ve had whilst travelling, is symptomatic of why I think it’s so important to go roaming and to break away from the routine. It resets the balance. It helps you appreciate the simple things, like a cup of hot tea after a day battling relentless rain the mountains.
In a life filled with routine, adventure reminds you that life; this beautiful planet and the generous people that we share it with can still surprise you in the most brilliant of ways.
I was on the road for 4 weeks in total and every day the scenery seemed to compete with the scenery of the day before.
You just have to decide that the “someday” you’ve been holding out for is today, and begin
Perhaps most importantly, adventure makes you realise that you can surprise yourself. You don’t have to be an experienced cyclist to complete a cycle trip, you just have to decide that the “someday” you’ve been holding out for is today, and begin.
Find out about Laura’s next adventure at lauraexplorer.com