... Once in a while you can get shown the light,
In the strangest of places if you look at it right.
— The Grateful Dead, 'Scarlet Begonias', 1974

The Plan Evolves

During the time that my Grandparents were in the hospital, we contacted our relatives still living in Ireland to let them know what was happening. Once my Grandparents passed away, I started to get asked why I shouldn't go to Ireland instead of out West as I had planned. I strongly resisted the idea at first — to change my goal after so much work and commitment felt like I was turning my back on the very thing that had kept me going through a long Winter. I had put 4 years of thought and visualization into the journey west and now others were trying to mess with The Plan.

Yet there was something inevitable — almost preordained — about the idea though: my being home and able to care for them all those months, my motorcycle going away as it did — almost pulled out from under me. I could not escape the feeling that events were pushing me in a new direction. I felt that the door the west was now closed, but a door to the east had been opened. I had learned to trust my gut instinct in making big choices, and my gut was telling me to go to Ireland.


I received money from my family to replace the savings that I'd spent going to hospitals and I already had my backpack and sleeping bag. A few weeks after the last funeral I left Haddonfield and was dropped at the International Terminal of Newark Airport to begin the journey back to the place from which my Mother's family had come more than 60 years before.

I would later realize that I left for Ireland on June 17th, 1985 — one year to the day since I had arrived in Haddonfield for my 'year at home'.