Category Archives: sometimes adventure

Hell & Back: Out Of My Comfort Zone And Into The Mud

Last Saturday I took part in Hell & Back in County Wicklow. For those who don’t know it, it’s a 7km obstacle course which pushes the body, mind and tolerance for dirt. It involves climbing over walls, jumping into an ice-bath, climbing bales of hay and wading through a swamp of mud. It pretty much resembled most of my childhood of growing up on a farm in Ireland (with a photographer and a lot more people thrown in).


I sat in my house the morning of the event and seriously questioned my sanity. Why was I doing this? Did it make sense to jump through mud to reach out of my comfort zone? Or was going to the gym sufficient enough?

At that stage, it was too late to turn back. Nine of us has committed and we were in it together.

My manager in work is always talking about the ‘why?’ Why do we do the things that we do? What motivates us to take certain actions? Indeed, everything we do is for a reason but what reason matters to us -this is what will lead to our perceived success or not.


My why for doing hell and back was to challenge myself. Whatever I achieve, I always look to push myself to the next step. So much so that I’ll push myself beyond what I need to at several moments in my life. Physically, I don’t exert myself too much generally. I committed to Zumba for two years because I liked the latin music (that was my why). Then when I hurt my back, I joined the pool (getting over my injury was my why) then more recently, I started running (this was so that I could be do Hell & Back without failing). There was a reason for each of them and generally, that’s why will drive me forward.

When I got to the finish line of Hell and Back, I felt two emotions. One of them was that of achievement as I had set myself that goal and ticked it off. Secondly, it was one of relief as I allowed my body to push me beyond its usual routine and it had succeeded. I had faced a fear of sliding into a deep river (which was freezing cold) and did that. Then I had worked with a team of amazing people to get to the finish line – another reason for signing up.

The point of this post isn’t to brag about how great I am for working towards that goal. It’s to highlight that whatever we do, we need to understand why we want to do it and set out accordingly. There were people in my life who straight out said ‘no’ to joining Hell & Back with me. Their ‘why’ for doing it wasn’t strong enough. Then there are those who had a why and couldn’t make it so, it’s on their bucket list for 2019.

There are hundreds of runs, obstacle courses and general challenges taking place around the country this Autumn/Winter and beyond. If they make sense for you then go for it.

Whatever you’re working towards, make you sure you record the reason for why you’re doing it.

Happy adventuring! Here’s to working towards what drives you towards your idea of success.

Movie Twice Shy: Getting Real About Real Issues

Once again, I feel super lucky with my ever expanding circle of inspiring contacts across the world. People who achieve great things, are go-getters and want to make a real difference. One person who is no exception to this fact is Tom Ryan. A film director, writer and now, lecturer, Tom has quite a lot of success under his belt as a thirty-something year old. His 2017 release, Twice Shy has been the recipient of many awards, exceptional reviews and well-needed addressing of delicate subjects. Indeed Twice Shy has catapulted Irish films’ reputation into another dimension.

The movie has been on tour across Ireland and the world. Last year, it screened in the Lighthouse cinema for a week (later extended to a second week). This was followed by screenings in Cannes Film festival and more recently, in Berlin. Its cast includes rising stars and familiar faces including Pat Short, Ardal O’Hanlon and Emmet Byrne. Meanwhile, Shane-Murray Corcoran and Iseult Casey portray the developing relationship of a young couple in Ireland having to face a stressful trip to the UK for an abortion.

Abortion isn’t the only topic that has its reality brought to life in the movie. Mental health is addressed in a touching and real way. One scene in particular features a true and honest conversation that banishes stigmatisation and instead shows it is OK not to be OK.

We need this in Ireland at the moment. A movie that’s real and ensures light is shed on tricky topics. When we say ‘like in the movies’, we really need that to reflect real-life and vice-versa. Want predictable endings and cringey romantic scenes? Then don’t watch Twice Shy. How about pure constant happiness without ups and downs? Then really, don’t watch it. If however you’d like to walk away from your screen feeling contemplative, informed and like you’ve had a genuine experience, then do watch it.

During the movie, you’ll recognise not just faces you know but locations also. Filming predominantly took place between Dublin and Tom’s native Nenagh in County Tipperary. Hot spots like the Grand Canal and Una’s pub, provide a perfect setting. Colloquial references to school day familiarities such as Leaving Cert night, having the craic and moving up to Dublin from the country spring up. Sure we can all relate to something as an Irish person. On the other hand, as a non-Irish spectator, there’s so much to learn about how we operate as a people and our soft and genuine connection to life. We’re down to earth, family-focused and supportive. Even though our political systems appear to be letting us down, at least we have voices we can use and connections we can make. I don’t want to spoil the movie but the raw and real connection is an ongoing theme. Whether it’s between best friends, father and son or lovers, realness conquers all including trials and tribulations.

Twice Shy is available to stream on 

You can also follow the Facebook page, Twitter or Tom himself to learn about his upcoming movies and projects.

Cancelled Flights And Falling For Snowmen

We’re indoors. It’s been approximately 12 hours since we’ve driven the car anywhere and Andrew is nicely intact outside. Andrew is our snowman you see. He is approximately 5ft 5″, pale with a big head and great dress sense. He’s a great example of how, when it snows so much your flight gets cancelled, you use that snow to avoid turning to feeling overly disappointed. Keeping the mind busy is vital especially if it involves creating something on a decent scale.

I was supposed to head to Budapest tonight at 19.30 from Dublin Airport. It was a long awaited treat with lots of planning gone in and my case already half packed due to the sheer excitement. I had the notion of going swimming outdoors in the thermals on a few occasions and staying in a fancy hotel room. Meanwhile, I’d be spending time with a  great friend and reflecting on why life is so great and saying “Isn’t it lovely that we can get flights and trips so cheap and easily in 2018?”. Sure you can’t stop the weather.

When things didn’t go as planned, my mother would always quote my late grandfather (who clearly quoted another guy) ” Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference”. That’s life you see. There’s always going to be something around the corner that doesn’t work out. Not to be a pessimist but flights will get cancelled, challenges will occur and something you’ve built up in your head and elsewhere will not come into fruition. It sucks but well, there’s always something else around to look forward to.


I’m using my free time to get blogging done (overdue blogging I might add), I’m planning some trips for the Summer and I’m having lots of downtime to chill and reflect on weeks gone by and, what’s to come.

And of course, there’s Andrew.

If you’re stuck indoors this week or stuck in a disappointing twist in your life. There’s a few things you can do to turn it around and hopefully, feel better.

*Plan something else! When do you next have some free time? What have you been thinking about for ages and not planned or booked? Do it! Life’s short. I’ve just looked up flights for my Summer trip in July.

*Write a list of the positives to come from the situation. Did you save some cash by not partaking in a certain adventure? Has this time allowed you to achieve something you’ve been procrastinating? What goodness has come from it?

*What does this mean to you? Having a twist or turn in your day, week or life can evoke certain feelings. This can teach us something about the path we’re on and what we’d like to achieve in the future. For me, I feel disappointed that I didn’t get to travel today as I love visiting other places and don’t enjoy being stagnant for too long. What have you learned?

*Life can be a bit unfair and certain situations will remind us of that. You never know what’s around the corner. Make the most of the current moment and think of how lucky we are to have it.

Mind yourselves wherever you are.