So long, Sydney!

So, I’m off!

A 2am wake-up, a 3am pick-up, a 6am take-off. Ireland, here I come!

I think I’m a seasoned traveller, however I’ve never in my years of travelling (first international flight was in 1999) taken a photo in front of that daggy “Departures” sign at Sydney Airport. Today I relented to the pressure. Sorry, dignity…

You may also have noticed a little red crab on my shoulder – ladies and gents, meet Clarence Campion Crab. On this trip he will be my bae, my travel companion, my not-so-secret lover (not really). If I don’t lose him, he will feature in some of my photos — here’s hoping!

You may also have noticed a Celtic cross around my neck. This is my “Kairos Cross”, a cross given to those who have completed/attended a Kairos retreat. I got this on my first Kairos retreat in 2007. It’s not particularly valuable, but it holds huge sentimental value to me.

Anyway, I’m currently sitting in the Emirates Lounge (hell yeah!). I’ve had an omelette and poached egg with hollandaise sauce for breakfast, followed by an espresso. I feel so fancy. I should be getting on the plane in about 45 minutes, where I hope to have a mad sleep for a few hours before waking up and enjoying the service of Emirates Business Class.

Finally, just before I sign off … I have to reflect on how loved I feel (I genuinely have amazing people in my life, and it would be remiss of me not to show gratitude and acknowledge this). Seeing my friends for lunch last Sunday and being surrounded by a billion little babies was freaking amazing. Having my sisters and nephew come over last night to laugh at my luggage packing skills (or lack, thereof) while keeping the mood light for my mum is not unappreciated (thanks, Sue & Georgina & Chris!). Having my mum wake up before 2am to make sure I was awake – and then to let me go, even though it’s incredibly difficult for her to do so – how much can a mother love a child!! (even if he’s turning 35 in a couple of months lol).

And, then, all the well-wishes from my amazing kids – the Year 12s who I’m leaving behind to fend for themselves (sorry!) in these final weeks of their education. The emails, the snapchats, the FB messages. My heart bursts with love for my boys – yes, I’m more than comfortable saying that, to their faces and in public, because I love what I do for work, and what I do for work is to build human relationships and accompany these kids as they grow into adulthood and, hopefully, “set the world on fire” (right, St Ignatius?).

So, yes… here’s to 4 and a half months of rekindling old friendships in Europe and North America, making new connections and being the joyful sojourner.

~ Ach

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