sláinte, st. john’s

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Two of my favorite photos from The Rooms:

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Today is sunny, windy, warmer than yesterday. I sit in the airport drinking one last Quidi Vidi Iceberg beer and wait to fly out of St. John’s, feeling somewhat sad to leave and, at the same time, totally gratified.

My weekend in St. John’s was full of good things: coffee, conversation, food and drink. I dove deeper into Newfoundland history at The Rooms, played tourist and drove out to Cape Spear–the most easterly point in North America–heard live celtic music in an old fishing village over brunch on Sunday, hiked a beautiful portion of the East Coast Trail, took a tour of Quidi Vidi Brewery, and had dinner with John and Jan at the Merchant Tavern!

At dinner on Saturday, Philipp and I met a younger couple who was in St. John’s for a wedding. Fairly early into the evening they bid us farewell and headed home to get some sleep before “flying back to responsibility” in the morning.

Hmmm, I thought. How odd! For the first time since childhood I have little to no responsibility, which feels quite weird, especially now as I’m waiting to board a flight to Ireland instead of going home and heading back to work.

The pilgrimage continues, which makes today feel a bit unreal.

The image of a parachute opening up came to me this morning. I associated it with my time in Newfoundland and how it–the people, places, unexplainable enchantments–has taken good care of me. (Funny that I should think of sky-diving, since it scares the shit out of me, but today I saw it from a different perspective).

Before I left for Newfoundland (and beyond) any fear that I had was associated with the first steps of actually embarking on the journey–buying tickets, boarding the plane, and what the hell I’d do once I got there (i.e. anything that confirmed my dreams as a reality). My fear fluctuated around the “not knowings” and “wonderings” and “what ifs” and all of the not-so-present things that ran through my mind as I tinkered with telling the future (and calculated my chances of liking the outcome).

After only 1 month, I realize that my fear was totally misplaced. Once I boarded the plane and landed (or jumped from the plane, to stick with my analogy), a parachute of hospitable people and places hovered in and around me and guided me in and out of my time here.

Newfoundland taught me that once you start doing this–once you jump and start living with a “this is it” mentality, start living the things that scare you, shake hands with the things that guarantee no security or safety or stillness–fear leaves the mind like a final breath leaves the body; all is so well in a strangely serene way.

So, this is it. If Ireland is half as amazing as Newfoundland was, I am the luckiest.

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