Did you go with it?

It was over 20 years ago. I had decided to take a
trip with an old friend to the west of Ireland.
It was a typical late summer’s day. It was
raining and windy, with bouts of sunshine trying
to burst through.

We wanted to go over to the Aran Islands from
Galway; this meant a short crossing on a ferry.

The sea was rough and we could hear and feel the
wind and waves, the rain stopping and starting as
we set out on the journey across the bay.

I have always loved boats, ever since my father
took me fishing as a young child. My instinct is
to stay out in the wind and breathe in the fresh
air, feel the spray and rain on my face.

I left my friend and weaved my way to the stern of
the ferry, I wanted to be outside.

Up ahead another woman was doing the same thing.
Her walk was lilting with the waves and what I
learned later was difficult post-operative hips
(and perhaps some whiskey too!).

She had sneaked out for the air and a cigarette!

I was immediately drawn to this wild looking woman
with grey long hair, a very colorful jumper and a
mischievous grin on her face.

I introduced myself and we began chatting. I
immediately loved her!

Mo was a true free spirit. She had up and left
her two x husbands and adult kids, her restaurant
business and she had sold her house. She bought a
camper van and was travelling around the
world.

She went where she could find temporary cooking jobs
and then as her spirit guided her, moved on to new places.
Within 15 minutes she invited me to come with her
to Scotland and work as her galley slave on a
boat. I immediately said yes!

That night, in a pub on the Island, accompanied by
traditional Irish Music, stories and some great
whiskey, we planned the next few months.

It was as wonderful as it sounds. Mo taught me
how to make the best bread (fresh every day), how
to chop lettuce to the tiniest strips and how to
keep vegetable dressings crispy fresh when you
garnish fish.

We had some of the funniest times;
balancing on the underside of a harbor wall with a
bucket and a stick as Mo yelled where the best
mussels were so I could knock them off and we’d
cook them for dinner!

We worked hard together and played even harder.
We told stories, sang, laughed and cried together.

Just a few months ago, I learned that Mo passed
away in the village that had become her home and
her community for the last few years of her life.

With all her joy and fun, she had an immense
sadness in her. I am glad she found a home and
peace throughout those years.

She was a true inspiration for me; a free spirit
with a deeply adventurous soul.

She taught me tofollow your instinct and go
where your heart leads you.

She showed me that life is full of fun, joy
and freedom, if you can only reach out and grab
them!

I am blessed by her brief presence and lasting
resonance in my life.

Who has inspired you with tears of joy, laughter
and adventure?

When have you listened to your instinct and jumped
at a chance that will change your life?

Please leave a comment and tell your story!

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6 comments on “Did you go with it?

  1. Dear Lisa and all your readers,
    (I’m writing from Italy so sorry for my horrible english!).

    I’ve red your story and I like to answer with mine.
    I’ve worked for many years like educator for people with mental problems and people in Aids.
    They have taught me the importance of realize dreams, live my life and my health like a every-day-gift, and don’t postpone anything.
    It’s why, one day, I woke up and I went into the Post Office for sending two letters: first was for the owner of my apartment and second was to my boss at work. I wrote them that it was my decision to leave my house, and my job.
    I didn’t know what to do after it! But I felt FREE, excited, new. I was 30 years old.
    After some months, when my house was empty (I gave everything to my friends! Fornitures, books, dresses.. everything!) I’ve tooken my little car, my bird in his cage, my notebook, some dresses, a few important-for-life books of poetry.. and I left my town driving to the South of Italy (I live near Milan, in the North).
    Nobody was waiting for me, and there was nothing behind me (no more job, no more house… and not so much money too!!!).
    But I was sure about the beauty of life, and this bagage was the only thing I needed.
    I thougth to make the tour of the world, with my car, and my sentence was “Something will happen, someday, somewehere”.
    The funny thing is this: the first stop (after 5 hours of travel) was also the last.
    I stopped in a old farm place in the Center of Italy, it was opened from 2 months like hotel. I rent a room for the night, but it was December, and it became to snow very much. So I rent the second night, the third… and waiting for the sun, I met the owners of this place. They were looking for a manager.
    I leaved and worked there for 7 years.
    If I hadn’t known people near death in my job before this story, probably I’d never left my house for discover a new place, a new job and, above all this… me.
    It’s why I always thank them in my heart, before to sleep.

    Thanks for reading my experience!
    Baci from Italy, Francesca.

  2. When have you listened to your instinct and jumped
    at a chance that will change your life?

    Ah! 1970, I’d hitched across the U.S. to Seattle with the intention of finding a merchant marine ship, making it to Japan, and studying zen gardens. But there was no work to be found. Plan B emerged. Perhaps I could find work in the woods. But it was February and in the office of a logging camp I found out work was shut down for the winter. There was another young lad there who made the same discovery and came storming out of the office agitated and angry. ” The hell with this,” he said, I’m going to Alaska!”

    “Alaska?” I said. “When are you going to Alaska?”

    “Right (bleeping) now. Wanna come?”

    I remembered that Kurt Vonnegut said that ” peculiar travel suggestions are dancing lessons from God.”

    I nodded my head, threw my backpack in the back of his truck and we were on our way.

    I arrived in Alaska in the middle of the winter with eleven dollars in my pocket, at the begining of a wonderful 10 year adventure that did indeed change my life and which set me on the storytelling path.

    And in a few weeks, I’ll return to Alaska to tell stories at the Kenai River Festival!, the Anchorage libraries, and spend a week with friends far off the road system in the company of wolves, bears and moose.

  3. I was very moved by this story and felt like I had received a gift of getting to know you (Lisa) at a deeper level. Reading it lead to thoughts of my own stories and to valuing them at a deeper level. I look forward to these weekly stories. They motivate me to move forward with my own story telling. This is a true demonstration of the power of story.

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