The seeds and roots of how
I got involved in this swim reach
far back to this summer whilst I
was in Ireland. I mean sure I can
tell you exactly how I got involved
in the Round Ireland Swim. It
officially started little more then a month ago when Ripley Davenport
approached me and asked me if I’d be interested in being apart of the team,
which I eagerly accepted. But that’s not where this adventure and journey
began, it’s far more intricate and involved than that. So a little background
action needs to be laid down for it! So from the beginning here we go!
In Ireland there is this magical little place called The Eclipse Center nestled in the rolling hills down south (county Kerry). It’s a lovely place run by Athos and Anita Tsiopani offering a wide range of activities including horse riding/lessons, archery, an obstacle assault course, private fishing and much much more.
The house I stayed in.
It’s here where I found myself working in exchange for food and shelter through helpX (more on helpx in later posts, or google it!) The work was honest, laborious, long but so so good for the soul. There is no feeling like getting to truly work for your keep, earning respect and trust, and getting to do so in a completely new foreign environment. Not to mention it felt good to be worn out everyday when you knew your work was good, fruitful and actually meant something.
I’d be stirred from my slumber each day by a different song ranging from Lana Del Rey to the Game of Thrones Theme, awesome I know, around 7:30 . Every morning I’d be greeted by some of the most breath taking scenery I’d ever seen, a good breakfast, cup of tea, and the company of my fellow helpx workers. There couldn’t have been a better way to start everyday.
Mowing, strimming (weed eating). There were 90 acres, granted not all of it grass, but still it was a lot of land.From there my work day was pretty straight forward, I’d be responsible for any number of tasks ranging from…
- Setting up archery, kayaks, horsey stuff or food for the days patrons.
- Cleaning holiday homes.
- Being a team leader for various activities.
- Helping out with day and pony camps.
- Various grounds maintenance.
- Other small things here and there.
But work was only a tiny portion of the doings at Eclipse. Much more of an emphasis was placed on community, family, and fun. And not all the day was spent working, we’d always finish up around five in the evening and from there on time was all ours to do what we wanted with.
It was there at Eclipse I met Ripley. He was one of the main team leaders that Athos had around constantly to be an extra pair of knowledgeable hands, not to mention that Rip is just about one of the most personable people you’d ever meet.
I started working with him though pretty quickly though into my six week stay. I was paired up with him from time to time as group leaders and would often take his son kayaking on the private lake when things were a bit slower around the place. Where we’d have loads of fun racing around, splashing each other, laughing and playing games, no matter how freezing cold the water was that day. Nothing could stop our adventures.
Can’t tell you how much I miss that kid, for he quickly became like a little brother to me and I was always over joyed to see him and get the chance to stir up shenanigans.
Things really started to take shape though when coasteering became a regular thing around the house. I remember hearing murmurings of it when I’d first gotten to the house but had absolutely no idea what it was until I was invited to go myself one day with Athos, Rip, Andy, and Ginny. I quickly discovered it was one of my favorite things to do at Eclipse, because that’s where I got my adrenaline fix every few days on the later half of the stay. What a rush coasteering is as well. We’re talking
- Biking down to the coast, which the bikeride alone is breathtaking.
- Swimming down the BEAUTIFUL Irish coast for hours.
- Climbing cliff faces then bombing back into the wild sea.
- Exploring caves that many people didn’t even know where there by the sea.
- Getting to see a WHOLE new side of Ireland and experience like few have ever before.
- Fighting against current, jellyfish, cold, and fatigue.
I mean true adventure here. Being in the thick of swells and waves battling for fun, adventure and adrenaline. And just getting to do something unlike anything you’ve ever done or thought of before!
We ended up doing these little excursions quite often toward the end of my stay, and all in all I probably went on 6-10 ventures, all which were different, and more satisfying then the last. Just absolutely incredible fun.
Rip and me after taking a dive.
The core of our group that made it to every outing was Athos, Andy, Ripley and myself. So I’d like to imagine those bonds built through mutually body punishment and excitement is where some of the seeds and roots took hold and were planted, along with all our work together and hours spent talking and just shooting the shit.
From left to right: Andy, Ripley, Me, Athos
But while I now have the privilege to go on such a journey with an incredible crew I still can’t help but wonder why me? What set me apart from the probably countless other qualified people and adventures. What about this summer did it, or what trait or act was so great about myself? I can speculate that it may have been good work ethic, or personality, or who knows what else but I’m still not entirely sure.
Like I said I can tell you exactly how I got involved with this swim. I can tell you exactly how I know Rip and how I got to meet and know him, but I’m not sure exactly where those things and my invitation go together.
What the true reason was for my invitation was and I may never know. But that’s totally okay, I tend not to question good things to much but rather tend to just roll with them and make the most out of every situation that I’m presented with. For WE make our lives move forward. It’s up to us to mold the future the best we can for what we need.
We’re presented with opertunities, but once that opertunity has been presented to you it’s in your hands, and you can take that as far as you wish, and that’s on you.
For me personally I want to take this adventure and run with it. I want to learn and do all I can with it! I mean one day in the future it’ll be a memory and a done deal. And I’ll have what I made of it to apply to future adventures and help move my life forward to wherever or whatever that may be.
Dreaming isn’t hard, but chasing dreams sometimes is. Sometimes it’s not the easiest or most convenient. There may be road blocks in the way that need overcoming, or problems that only you can find the solution to. But what are those issues in the grand scheme of things?
When you look back one day, the trial of getting to that dream will have become just as much of an adventure as the adventure and dream itself… At least that’s how I look at it, and that’s why I chase dreams and pursue the impossible. That and it’s just FUN!!!
I’ll leave you with this though…
The first image taken with the first group of people I coasteered with.
From left to right: Ginny, Me, Sasha, Ripley, Sonny, and good ol’ Athos.