You only have one life …

… and it might be shorter than you think.

When arriving two weeks ago in Santiago my friends told me ‘… and next Sunday you will come with us to lunch, the Irish are coming!’ And so I went and so I met them. Today I received the message that one of them has died on the next leg of their epic journey.

I had heard of them several times over the years. They had built a traditional boat, a naomhóg (currach) and rowed from Ireland to the Galician coast in several stages. Last year, after arriving in Santiago, they left the boat with a friend here and now they would be back to pick up the boat, transport it to A Coruña and continue their voyage along the Spanish-Portuguese coastline towards Gibraltar.

That magical Sunday lunch was filled with good food & wine, laughter, stories, poetry and songs – a real ceilidh. We even would have danced if there would have been enough space. You can read a bit more about it here: http://egeria.house/travel-and-first-week/

They all were so full of life, kindness and joy. They lived their dream and they enjoyed it, but even more importantly perhaps, they infected others with their love:

… for music

… for poetry

… for the Gaelic language

… for building your own boat

… for taking the route less traveled

… for rediscovering old pilgrimage routes

… for following your dream

Just under two weeks later they reached the river Minho that marks the border between Portugal and Spain. Their boat capsized. All four made it to the shore. But one of them, Danny Sheehy, also known as Danny an tSíthigh or Domhnall Mac Síthigh, died shortly after, despite the efforts of the emergency services. (Source: https://www.rte.ie/news/2017/0610/881677-spain/) He died doing what he loved and now he has started his final pilgrimage. And even if I knew him only a very short while, I am sure that he preferred dying this way than dying with the regret never to have followed his dreams.

And there is a lesson in this sad event for all of us. We have only one life and it might be shorter than we think it would be. Let’s follow our dreams, let’s make the most out of the life we have, no matter if it is rowing a boat from Ireland to Spain or taking up painting. And let’s share our love of life and the things we do with others, like this pilgrim and his friends did with all that met them: