This is both a short blog post, and a goodbye to Facebook. As some of you may have noticed, I stopped posting to Facebook (FB) a few months ago. Since that time, I also quit checking the site for updates and articles from friends and family. This was a conscious decision.
The reasons behind this decision ranges, from the amount of time I spent on the site, to the manner and method by which the platform utilizes user’s information, to how it helps to spread propaganda, hate, and fear. The long and short is that I no longer value putting my time and effort into FB, as it currently functions, and I have chosen to reduce my overall social media footprint.
This self-study and examination has proven worthwhile, as I have utilized my time in other ways that have reduced the background noise in my mind, while providing me with more time to pursue other interests. But, I have determined that I do miss the personal communication that comes about via social media connections. The opportunity to interact with distant, or long lost friends is a piece of the equation I aim to retain.
As such, I am hear-by giving all of my connections notice that I will be deactivating my FB account at the end of the month. If you wish to start to, or would like to continue to stay in contact with me, please DM me. I will keep my messenger app to facilitate these connections, but welcome emails, texts, phone calls and What’s App chats. Stepping away from FB has helped to demonstrate how much I value a conversation, even if virtual and periodic.
The struggle I am currently working through is that I will miss sharing some of the unique sights from my travels and adventures. I get a lot of feedback from people who enjoy seeing places or experiencing adventures that they most likely will never see or undertake on their own. I will also miss being inspired by others as they share images from their lives and adventures.
The best option that I have found at this point is to create an Instagram account. This medium will allow for the sharing of photos (my primary goal of any social media platform) and cuts out the articles, news, and overall firehose of distractions that comes through on other platforms. Even though they are owned by FB, a fact that has given me pause, I hope this will prove to be a more healthy means by which I can share images of our adventures. If you wish to follow me, you can find me on Instagram @seanbgavin.
Thank you to all of my friends and family for your support and interactions throughout the years on FB. I am reminded of a saying that a friend of ours lives by, and one that I feel captures a lot of my approach to life. His nickname is “Cash”. He is originally from Nepal, but has been a doctor in Ireland for the past 20 years. We had dinner with him and his wife earlier this month and his philosophy is as follows: “carry less luggage, travel light and enjoy the journey”.
Now for my final “Facebook” post: Liz and I are wrapping up three weeks in Ireland. We are staying with and visiting dear friends. As some of you may remember, we came here for 5-weeks, two winters ago, to help them with lambing season on their sheep farm. And we have been doing just that once again, since Christmas Day this season.
We truly enjoy working with the animals and spending time with our Irish friends, and spend between two and five hours a day working with the sheep. Working in the shed (barn) and fields a couple of times a day, helping the expectant mothers, new mothers and wee little lambs is hard work, but super rewarding and fun. From helping during a delivery, to filling water buckets and hay troughs, to bottle feeding lambs, it is truly a grand experience to work on a proper Irish sheep farm.
I can’t express how much we enjoy and learn from spending time with our friends. From just sharing day to day activities, to talking about life in our respective countries, the education and relationships gained are priceless.
Along with this post is some photos from our time, this season, on the farm and from our exploration of the surrounding areas. As this is our third trip to Ireland in the past 5 years, and having spent just shy of three months on the island spread across those trips, I can easily say that the Irish people are just lovely, the landscapes from mountains to sea are jaw dropping, and the overall experience is not to be missed.
We rented a car for a few days while the boys were still out of school on winter holiday. This meant that they could help more with the sheep during the day, and we could go explore the surrounding area a bit more. Driving a manual car on the left side of the road quickly came back to me. With Liz as our navigator, we did hikes in the surrounding Forrests and visited a number of beaches, cliff sides, pubs and restaurants.
Most people don’t know it, but this part of western Ireland (we are just 7 kilometers south of Sligo) is known for its’ surfing. The waves here are huge. The largest known waved to be surfed here was 55 feet! With waves consistently reaching 40 feet, there are plenty of smaller breaks too. There are surf schools in every little village and hamlet, and they all provide students with full coverage, thick wetsuits as the water is a wee bit chilly.
This year the weather is much warmer and not quite as wet as our last lambing season. The average high has been in the mid-40’s, with a couple of days in the 50’s. While there have only been three or four sunny days, we haven’t had nearly as much rain as we did two years ago. Although, as I type this, the whole country is under a weather warning from Storm Brendan, which is bringing 130 km/hr winds and flooding rain. Feeding in the fields this morning was sporty.
Well, that is it. Keep in touch if you wish, follow our adventures if you like, be good to yourself and remember one of my favorite quotes, from Mark Twain – “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”