Move on. Right. That’s what I’m going to do. In a few months, I’ll be fine, I’ll just grow a new heart.

Sam Baldwin (Tom Hanks)

I cannot believe it, but here we are.

In Seattle.


It’s midnight in Dublin and we are about to go out for a walk and have a bite to eat. We’re thinking Lobster Rolls. The kind people brought into Cape Cod Hospital for us when we couldn’t eat a thing.

After a long flight, we now have a day, which is really a night, to recover a bit, before we’ll get onto the boat tomorrow at around lunch time, which will really be dinner time, to bring us up North. It’s all mixed up.

When Pádraig worked on Cape Cod in 2013, he and a friend had planned to go to Alaska, going Into the Wild, following the journey of Christopher McCandless as described first by Jon Krakauer in his book, and then in by Sean Penn in his 2007 movie of the same name.

It’s one of my favourite movies. Then I learned after Pádraig’s accident that it was also one of his.

Pádraig never made it to Alaska. Instead, we were trying to cope as best as we could with our broken hearts, our broken dreams, trying to find hope in what we never accepted as a hopeless situation.

Over these past ten years, I had promised Pádraig and myself that, one day, we were going to go onto that journey. We were going to make happen what didn’t look like very likely to happen. Those broken hearts and those broken dreams were not going to stay broken forever.. They could be fixed.

There were times when it looked like we were going to fail. For all sorts of serious reasons.

When I was planning our journey, I saw it happening over many weeks, slowly, in a bus.

Eventually, we settled for what seemed to be the most sensible way of doing it.

One direct flight. A single base on a ship. Day excursions. All in just over a week.

The flight was tough. Not much room to move. Nine hours are a long time on a plane for anybody. They must have been an eternity for Pádraig. Even getting from the airport to our hotel was a challenge. I don’t think that taxi driver had ever taken four guests, one of them in a pretty big wheelchair, with half a dozen suitcases in one go into his car. We were just tired. He was very nervous.

But we got here. In one piece. And we slept a few hours.

In Seattle. The city where coffee was invented. The city of Frazier. Starbucks, Boeing, and Microsoft. Where people ask you about your day, what you’re up to, and all sorts of other things, when you’re just interested in buying a straight coffee. And they’re so nice about it that you couldn’t really tell them to mind their own bloody business. There is no way you could be bad humoured or impolite in such an environment. And, as we know, even fake laughter has the same (health) effects as the real thing.

This morning, or was it this evening, when we went out for bit to eat, Pádraig was the happiest man under the sun. As content as anybody could be. The real thing.

So were we all. Really happy. Perfectly content.

We haven’t really talked about it. In my head, I couldn’t think of a much bigger thing to happen than making it up the Inside Passage, direction Skagway.

As close as we can make it.

Into the Wild.

Sleepless in Seattle. Eating the Lobster Rolls we couldn’t eat ten years ago because we just could not eat back then with our broken hearts. Now we know that nothing is impossible. We’ll be fine. We’re growing new hearts. And we’re eating, drinking, and enjoying life again.