After wrestling with my luggage, trying to find the mysterious way it all fit the first time, I readied myself for the strenuous trek back to Newark. A couple long flights sandwiched my 4am stop in Keflavik airport, where I reminisced about my trip to Iceland by indulging in a skyr, salted licorice and an Einstok white ale. And then finally the clouds parted to reveal a green patchwork quilt of fields signalling my imminent arrival in Ireland.
Martin, my new boss, picked me up at the airport to shuttle me to the small town of Sligo – my new home for the next four months. I first met Martin at Surf and Social Good camp in Portugal last fall. He was intrigued by my bold sabbatical plan and, a few weeks after my vacation, Martin suggested that I come work at his small custom-orthotics company, Firefly. Martin and I discussed very few details before I agreed and you may be wondering what I would be doing in an orthotics company – and the honest answer is I have no idea yet. In fact, when I asked Martin about pre-arrival prep (i.e. budgets, strategic plans etc to review), Martin responded with specific instructions to read some poems by W.B. Yeats (who is closely associated with Sligo). Nope, I’m not joking... I got ready by reading poems.
So why was I willing to dive into the unknown with so little information? At surf camp Martin had told me an extraordinary story about meeting a bubbly Tesco-grocery store cashier who made a serious impression during their interaction that he left thinking “she’s a firefly”. So when his company had an opening, he went back to the Tesco five times trying to find her but had no luck spotting her. (Not so extraordinary yet... hold on...)
Martin has no shortage of persistence and in their first conversation he learned she was studying accounting at the local college so when he couldn’t find her at Tesco, he contacted their office and described her personality and they immediately knew who he was referring so they put her in contact with him (getting more extraordinary, right?).... and a short while later she showed up for her first day at work.
So while I was still a little unsure what I might offer in his company (especially since he didn’t have the traditional list of deliverables and I know squat about manufacturing), I was reassured by the fact that he knows a ‘firefly’ when he meets one. This small anecdote allowed me to put my faith in his confidence... plus I was fascinated by his leadership style and wanted to spend more time around it.
A few months later, I was hopping into a jeep with a relative stranger who had Jarryd James’s brooding tune, Do You Remember, thudding through the speakers. The bass and his haunting voice created a menacing vibe and I couldn't help imagining what the music would be foreshadowing for my fate if this a scene in a movie. And for a flash I thought, “what have I done?”
And then we were off....
Nice to meet you...
I'm Andi (hence the blog name). I'm a travel aficionado, passionate eater, tireless explorer of internet rabbit-holes, and amateur thinker. Join me as I give it all up (ok, that's a bit of an exaggeration) and go around the world on a mid-career "soul sabbatical" & year-of-learning to figure out what to be NEXT when I grow up. Won’t you grab a cup of chai and stay a while?
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