A leap into the dark. What have we got ourselves into? I wonder, as I begin a blog about our family of three giving up jobs and schools, renting our house and heading for a year to South and Central America. We’ve gone south before of course; as recently as last week we went camping to Doolin. This was where the doubt began to creep into my mind, as camping in Ireland is a leap too.
It is undoubtedly a test of character and resilience, but camping on a stormy night’s just crazy. Our four tents were heaving in the wind, lifting the pins out of the ground and leaking buckets. I turned over in my damp sleeping bag and saw my wife, hyper-alert, looking kinda like a mugger in the dim camp light, then I realised that it was just the beanie, the staring eyes and her threatening tone, ‘Is this thing going to blow away?‘ The other tents weren’t faring much better. One of the children had vomited inside her tent and another tent lay abandoned – my brother’s family had decamped and were trying to sleep in the car.
The following morning we were tired, wet and vulnerable. My brother tore off at first light. Mary, my sister-in-law and queen of camping, cooked rashers alone on a camp stove in the rain. I sat in the car and was planning our escape till the phone rang. Trish, my Clare-based buddy, wanted to meet up. We went to a local pub for coffee and when she suggested we should keep a blog, I was defenseless, jet-lagged and compliant. Sandwiched between Trish, who had worked for the BBC and BT my super-creative, social media-savvy, enthusiastic sister in law, I was easy prey. I agreed to whatever they suggested. “You need a good catchy name for the blog,” Trish said. “Something with ‘tres’- Spanish for three.” I was in creative company and they brainstormed back and forth until we had to leave when yet another child vomited from the combination of lack of sleep and gorging on sweets and snacks. On the way home,Trish texted,I’ve got it- 3gosouth.