Getting away from kids
In 2019 I did my first child-free vacation. Ten days in Alicante, 7 of those at Shahab's boxing camp. It was bliss! Physical exhaustion has - so far - never ever come close to the level of emotional exhaustion I have felt over the years. More importantly, after a couple of days I realized how much I needed this holiday. How I needed to be away from the constant stream of questions and requests. My intention was to do this every year, but then, yeah, covid. While I was not able to get a week of vacation, I spent some weekends away. It is a poor substitute. By the time you unwind mentally, you are back in the midst of it.
I knew that our family vacation in Ireland is not going to be the type of vacation I needed. I had this secret desire to go on a hike alone, but didn't plan for it. I left all my gear at home. But when my mother-in-law asked if I was going away for some days leaving the kids with her and, most importantly in Ireland, the weather on the notoriously west coast looked dry (enough), I sprang into motion to organise my hike (my friend's saved the trip by lending me the equipment I needed). You see, there was a trail I wanted to do. The Bangor trail. It is up in County Mayo. What other place than this to get away from all. Best of all: Cellular connection is weak at best. It is described as the most remote place of Ireland. As it used to be an old transport route, the trail is not too steep, but also avoids the really boggy areas.
Imagine walking 40km over two days. What would you do? You can't listen to anything on your phone because you need to save battery for emergencies. It's just you and your thoughts. It turned out I didn't spent much time thinking. Just walking, wondering where to put my feet without getting them completely soaking wet. I remember seeing patches of bog and swearing out loud, feeling completely drained by the seemingly useless effort of finding a route through it that isn't too wet. I couldn't think about work, or day dream or wonder about our future. Just look at my feet and make quick, ad-hoc decisions where to place them.