A Page From My Journal: Discussing Conamara National Park And The Concept of Perfection
I keep a journal. It wouldn’t feel right telling people that I want to be a writer if I didn’t write things down regularly. Usually I have a notebook in my bag and if I don’t then my phone’s notepad is my best friend. Hopefully one day I’ll be on Stephen King’s level where I can dedicate four or more hours to writing and four or more to reading every single day. For now, I work a job to fund my lifestyle, travel, write most of it down, and piece it together later.
In the summer of 2015, I took my first real solo trip to Ireland for a month and, afterward, through Eastern Europe with a backpack. Though I had the same journal for several years prior, this adventure marked the first time I finally started writing regularly. What else is there to do late at night when I’m alone and trying to remain safe by not going out when it’s dark? So I wrote. It took some time, but I did it. The pages began to fill up.
Here on Read To Travel, I’m always experimenting with writing styles, blog post frames, and today I’m trying something very new and very personal. I’m going to publish something that I wrote in my journal one year ago. When I write, my thoughts are extremely fragmented and I usually allow myself to just spout my stream of consciousness just to see what happens. Going back through my thoughts from one year ago, I think it’s incredibly interesting to see how much I’ve evolved and haven’t. I wanted to know what to do with myself and my life, and I think I always knew, but thought what I wanted was impossible.
Now, I have transcribed this entry onto the computer, into a blog post, and I’m just going to see what happens.
26 July 2015
Location: An Cheathrú Rua, Co. Galway, Ireland, Barbara’s dining room table aka my wifi (“wee-fee”) spot
I’ll start from right now and go backwards then jump forwards again. Today marks the 18th day of being away from home. (I just realized I journal in cursive and cursive isn’t even taught in elementary school anymore. That is wrong, just WRONG.)
At this moment in time it is 9:59 pm and I’ve finally found it in myself to write. Writing/the idea of writing terrifies me lately (or does it always?). Anyway. I read this quote:
“The sign of intelligence is that you are constantly wondering. Idiots are always dead sure about every damn thing they are doing in their life.” —Vasudev
And boom. I went to my room, got my journal, and I’m ready to talk. Today was amazingly phenomenal. I climbed a mountain. Bhí sé go halainn. It was beautiful. At 10 am, 11 people, including myself, took a minibus to Conamara National Park an hour away. Our ages range from 19 to 24, but we’re all here to do the same thing: study the Irish language. I say “thing” ambiguously because we’re definitely not all here for the same reason.
I love Ireland. I’ve been needing to come back here ever since the moment I left last year, and a one-month program in a beautiful village in Galway is perfect for me. (Or however close to my concept of perfection I can get. And whatever that concept or idea of perfect is I don’t even know) I suppose at this moment/series of moments in time I would describe “perfect” with serenity, confidence, adventure, home. I don’t know what those words mean to me entirely, but I want those words to envelope my ideal situation and life like a bubble.
We arrived at the park at 11:30 am and took the Red Trail up the big hill in front of us. Surrounded by green, I was amazed by the landscape. Ireland is the most gorgeous place I’ve ever seen. I could spend weeks at a time in different towns exploring every single corner until the day I die and that would be a dream come true. An Cheathrú Rua is on a peninsula in Galway. My bean an ti’s house is a half-mile walk from the ocean. We frequent the local pub, An Chístin, several nights a week. Recently I’ve been coming to understand how truly small this village is as I keep recognizing people from the pub at the Eurostar.
Back to the hike. There were several instances I was worried about slipping on the wet slopes down into the mist toward my death. Some people wanted to turn back. The group eventually spread thing and separated into mini groups of two of three hikers. But, alas, we made it to the top, several times. By “several times” I mean that several times I rejoiced, having believed I reached the top of the mountain, only to discover the trail continued up and over yet another stony peak. I made it. Adrenaline pumped through my veins. It felt as if I conquered Everest, rather than a small mountain/hill, but after six steep miles, I was up, over, and down something truly remarkable.