Collecting wood in hushed, wind-swept forests, Toby and I talk about our passions. His photography, mine surfing. Both pay more in experiences rather than cold hard cash. We agree that we may never be rich, but will always be happy plying our trades. It feels right to do what you love. As the tarmac turned to dirt beneath the tyres, I realised our dreams were becoming our realities.
The sunset over lost lands, and we too were becoming lost. Lost in a beautiful expanse of possibilities. We spent a long time in the truck after we crossed the border, winding our way through curving mountain passes. The light faded.
I itched with expectation. Maps were useless, freedom spanning out before us in every direction visible. I first met Toby a few years ago. He came over to the west coast of Ireland to take photos, working as an intern for a local photographer. He tagged along, somewhat wide eyed and unprepared on a couple of wave finding sojourns that winter. That winter, Toby rented a small room in a moldy hotel, and only came out to take pictures when the sun tried to shine.
We surfed Mullaghmore almost every swell. The wind blew and the rain fell, as it always seems to do on Mullaghmore days. After weeks on the same program Toby started to show me his photos. I was blown away. This quiet, cold kid from the UK had a nice way of doing things — he let his photos do the talking. Fast forward a few winters, I find an email in my inbox. Toby is coming out again. The surf forecast is not looking great, but we still hash out a plan to hit the road to search for lesser known places along the coastline instead of focusing solely on waves.
We plan to pass through ancient mountain ranges, camp in forests, and explore old school parts of Ireland that can so easily be overlooked when the surf is firing. Our van slips down country lanes in the slanted winter sunlight. No warmth radiates from the sun this time of year, only oblique light that give stone walls a warm orange glow, while are green to the point of unreality.
We turn off the tar road and bounce our way down a dirt track towards a wave I stumbled across a decade ago. My brother and I were camping out here and ended up seeing it by chance during a coastal walk. There are a few hardy locals out this way, but we end up sharing the waves with seals and sea birds. Fia enjoys her time in the evening air, smelling tufts of grass and running free for the first time in hours. Toby and I get ready to settle into our new home for the night.
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In the morning the swell is too raw and the wind carries a freezing bite. I lie in my sleeping bag, and enjoy that feeling of being warm yet so close to the elements. After breakfast we do the dishes in the rock pools on the shoreline, using sand instead of detergent. One more coffee and we hit the trail again. We drive along mountain passes stopping to look over the edge into the North Atlantic.
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The wind whips. Low broken clouds scuttle across from the horizon. Gulls use the updraft from the cliff to hover high above, watching us. Romantic Sad Sentimental. Sexy Trippy All Moods. Drinking Hanging Out In Love.
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