Why I Gave up my 6-Digit Salary, Moved to Westport and Joined the Middle Way Project

paul feeney

The 4 Reasons Why I Gave up a 6-Digit Salary, Sold my Company and Moved to Westport to Join the Middle Way Project!

What began as an ordinary marketing meeting resulted in me selling my company, uprooting my entire life and moving to the little coastal town of Westport in Co. Mayo.

How the hell did this happen?

I first met Damian and Austin at the start of the Summer, 2019.
We were meeting to discuss the brand development of their new project – the build of a new purpose-built hostel which was to be built on The Wild Atlantic Way in Westport, Co. Mayo.

The project began as a straight forward brand and web project. 

I was to develop their story, identity and logo and bring this brand to life through online marketing and their new e-commerce website.

As with the development of any brand project, you peer into the people behind the company, you ask questions, you poke and prod to uncover the purpose – their ‘why’. 

Why do they want to build this business?

Uncovering the brother’s “why” moved me one step closer to moving to Westport.

Reason 1
the middle way hostel westport
The Middle Way Hostel, Westport, Co. Mayo

1. The Development of a Hostel

The more I got to know Austin and Damian, the more I realised they wanted to build much more than a hostel.

The hostel was not going to be simply a cheap place to lay your head, but a space to rejuvenate, reconnect and recharge.

More questions led to more questions until I came to the brother’s ultimate “why” – “We want to help people become better”, said Austin.

“The hostel will be the first part of a much larger vision with regards to the development of schools or “Success Academy’s,” they told me.

Austin and Damian believe strongly that now is a time for change, and as brothers who have seen their fair share of ups and downs, they want to do whatever they can to facilitate this change on a national and international level.

Reason 2

The Success Academy
The Success Academy, The Future of Education

2. The Success Academy

The Success Academy is a passion project of the brothers which will provide a curriculum for teaching life skills, leadership skills and the principles of success to young people all over the world. 

Their schools will be designed to offer training in key life skills that are not covered in traditional education.

The Purpose - The Why

The brothers want to provide people with the necessary skills to help them fulfil their innate potential, engage in a process of self-discovery and apply key learning principles to their future roles as leaders in their communities; thus creating self-realised, empowered communities.

“To meet these challenges the next generation must be skilled in all ways …… emotional, spiritual, mental and physical development will be very important,” says Damian.

Teaching Life Skills

Through weekend workshops, talks, seminars and programmes the Success Academy will bring together a multitude of skills ranging from: 

The Middle Way Hostel

However, as with anything, to move forward on such an enormous task, you must start with a smaller step. 

In the ambitious eyes of Austin and Damian, this meant the development of a Hostel!

The hostel will be the place to bring together and refine all the elements needed to build a successful “Success Academy”!

From beautiful spaces to yoga rooms, open plan theatres to dining areas, recreational spaces to outdoor workshops – what is the perfect set up, atmosphere and interior for a space of true change?!

Which brings us to the Middle Way Hostel and me being one step closer to moving to Westport.

Reason 3

the middle way hostel westport
The Middle Way Hostel - Where Inner Peace Meets Outdoor Adventure

3. The Middle Way Hostel

The more I learned the more I became intrigued with the vision and purpose of the project and how its aims intertwined with my own.

“The Middle Way Hostel” was born.

I am well aware if you lined up 100 people and asked them to pick their favourite name from: 

“The Middle Way Hostel”

“The Wolfhound Hostel”

“The Old Steelworks Hostel”


…very few people would choose “The Middle Way Hostel”.

However, once you know the story, you begin to see that “The Middle Way Hostel” will not be a hostel, but a way of life.

Every aspect of the hostel will be designed to help its guests bring more balance into their lives. A hostel designed, built and run to help guests transition, purify and reconnect with nature and love. 

What does "The Middle Way' mean?​

“The Middle Way” stems from the idea that if you seek happiness through indulgence, you will not be free. And if you fight against yourself and the world you will not be free. It is only the middle path that will bring you freedom and balance.

This unique balance of indulgence and peace couldn’t be more prevalent in the town of Westport.

The town itself is a perfect location for such a unique hostel.

Westport offers fine food, amazing hotels, luxury spas and the best pubs Ireland has to offer. 

And yes! if on a holiday you should indeed enjoy such physical indulgences! 

However, just make sure you rise early to surf at Louisburgh, cycle the Greenway or climb the Holy Mountain 😉 

It is only through the combination of rest and exertion, calm and energy where true peace to the mind can occur.

It is this balance which results in a rejuvenating getaway.

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Reason 4

bodhi coworking space westport

4. The Bodhi Coworking & Business Centre

The final reason which tied it all together and had me packing my bags for Westport was how my own goals overlapped with the overall vision of the lads.

At the end of our last meeting I jokingly handed Austin a business card with the words “Bodhi” written on it, exclaiming “I’m the perfect man for this project”.

On the business cards were the words…

“Bodhi” an environment to enlightenment, the perfect mix of health work and diet.

Bodhi Coworking Space Westport Mayo
The Bodhi Coworking & Business Centre. An Environment to Enlightenment

Austin seemed taken aback and asked the one question which no one had ever asked me before.

“Have you been to the Bodhi Tree!?”

austin gibbons at bodhi tree india
Austin at the Bodhi Tree in Bodh Gaya, India where Siddhartha Gautama (Buddha) attained enlightenment

I was amazed to hear that Austin had not only visited the tree but had visited the tree (like many other spiritual places around the world) to meditate 

A few days later Austin rang me to ask me more about Bodhi. 

I told Austin about how I travelled the world for years living and working in dozens of countries.

Throughout this time I studied, read and pushed myself to find and build a life of balance.

As years passed I had realised that (for me, as an online entrepreneur) this balance stemmed from the environment in which I worked.

That in life, perhaps it is a ‘Path to Enlightenment’, but that in business it was an ‘Environment to Enlightenment’. 

I explained how I felt entrepreneurship was going to be the future and that Ireland, in particular, had to move with vision and purpose in this direction. 

I told Austin how I wanted to build a business centre to help business owners and entrepreneurs find success – true success – and that this success stemmed from a healthy mind.

Austin told me about the ‘Success Academy’ and talked about his aims to help children around the world.

It was within these conversations that my life began to change.

In Conclusion

From Whim Hof to the power of nature, Brehon Law to Buddhism the more I got to know Austin and Damian the more our goals lined up.

They say where focus goes, energy flows.

I bought the domain name www.bodhi.ie in 2016!

For year, The Bodhi Business Centre was just an idea I have been visualising and now it was manifesting itself around me.

I decided to take a leap of faith.

My energy and focus landed me in Westport, Co. Mayo on the cusp of being a part of building a truly unique Hostel and a building a truly unique workspace.

I’m here, I’m excited and I’m all in.

How it will all unfold I have no idea.

We can only work hard, remain true to our ideas and believe was we want to achieve is possible

If you want to follow the story(s) of:
– The development of Bodhi,
– The development of The Middle Way, 
– The on-going development of me as a person you can find our channels below.

We are looking for people with passion. If you are someone who wants to help others and you feel you have more to offer get in touch. We’d love to hear from you.

About the Author

paul feeney of middle way hostel

Paul Feeney

Brand Strategist & Marketer

On a lifelong journey to understand, build and maintain a stable Work-Life Balance.

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Exploring Westport, A Day in Pictures

Another day, another dollar 🙂

You wake up, take a shower, have some breakfast and you’re out the door to work.

Into the car, automatically turn on the radio to your usual channel and before you know it, you begin your days work as you have so many others.

8 hours pass and as you drive home, all you want is to eat and sleep.

Every day, it’s the same story.

Repetition, repetition, repetition.

It is not good for your soul.

We are conscious of this. We know deep down we have to take care of our mental and spiritual needs. We need to replenish our souls with healthy foods, fresh air and nature, but sometimes we find ourselves stuck in the day to day.

Healthy breakfasts, random smiles, deep breaths, time spent with hobbies – these are more important to each of us than we know (but we know)

So one day, you decide to go for a stroll.

You break your routine and let the wind and fresh air guide you.

You watch rows of green fields instead of rows of cars.

You wake up your senses with the smell of nature instead of a petrol station.

You listen to the birds singing not politicians ranting.

You decide you want to be free.

You decide to take a much-deserved stroll around Westport.

Westport is blessed with a calming inner spirit surrounded by an active energy.

Walk along the oceanside, climb its hills, relax with a coffee or enjoy a beer – the traditional way.

Because Westport is a ‌town‌ ‌with‌ ‌more‌ ‌life‌‌ than‌ ‌most cities. Nurtured‌ ‌by‌ ‌‌ ‌summer‌ ‌tourism‌ ‌the‌ ‌sun‌ ‌constantly dances across the big Atlantic sky creating ethereal‌ ‌landscapes worthy‌ ‌of‌ ‌being‌ ‌photographed.‌ ‌


A perfect setting to create a deserved rest 😉

Day 1

Maybe you start with a creamy latte in O’Cees coffee shop at 8 am.

Being the first in you sit by the window, (because you’re smart like that 😉

Sitting by the window you will watch the world go by as the town and it’s inhabitants come to life.

We need a connection to nature, so we hit the greenway.

Watch as early birds catch the worms. They’re bouncing flighty enthusiasm distils into you and you decide to stroll to The Quay.

Surrounded by nature and gorgeous scenery you are then hit by the delightful aroma of the Atlantic Ocean.

A pedestrian recommends The Creel, a cosy cafe where you order a deserved water and a freshly baked, takeaway scone.

Today is a day to stand on the edge staring out at sea.

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Walking on with coffee and carbs bursting through you discover Aughavale cemetery. You are reminded of the past and know you should take more pleasure in the present.

When you arrive at the location you will discover Aughavale cemetery. a place that will impose you respect. A lot of past lives rest in it a big meadows since there you can see the Groagh Patrick Mountain.

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Surrounded by meadow, you breathe deep staring at the mighty Croagh Patrick Mountain.

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Walking on you experience Roman island, its history, beauty and splendid panoramic views.

Day 2

You awake to feel slightly more alive.

You begin to enjoy the feeling of energy.

You decide to try a continental breakfast in Knockranny hotel while watching Westport rise.

From your table, you see Croagh Patrick, and you think, will I?

Climbing Croagh Patrick would be crazy, but you do decide to rent a bike and cycle to the foot of the mountain.

You finish your healthy breakfast and before you know you’re pedalling past the picturesque world of Westport.

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Westport (56)


Arriving at Croagh Patrick you walk to the man himself, Saint Patrick. Standing below him, you see the inviting mountain behind him.

Taking some food from your backpack, you decide to just put one foot in front of the other; just for a little while.

Breathing, walking and listening to your favourite podcast you reach the summit. Getting out into the fresh air and pushing your body to feel alive is not as tricky as you thought it was.

When you go down to come back to your favorite hostel, you see a magic sunset and you feel an inmense happiness.

Returning down, with a feeling of contentment you enjoy a sunset for the first time in a while.

You feel good.

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continental breakfast westport

Looking for a Lighter Breakfast? The 3 Best Continental Breakfasts in Westport

If for some strange reason you DO NOT want to enjoy an Irish breakfast (makes no sense to me 😉 and you are feeling like you want to light breakfast of fruits, yoghurts, jams and fresh breads below are few establishments in Westport which offer a delicious, fresh and healthy continental breakfast.

Knockranny Hotel

With a great selection of food and even better view, The Knockranny Hotel is a wonderful spot to enjoy a light breakfast in a bright atmosphere.

The open buffet style offers a great variety of fruits, cereals and natural yogurts, as well as juices, honey’s and pastries.

The  panoramic view of Westport is also a delight as you read your paper and awake to the world.

The Castlecourt Hotel

The Castlecourt Hotel is also a great choice if fancying a lighter, continental breakfast in Westport.

With large a selection, quality products and a nice atmosphere, it makes for a lovely morning breakfast.

The Westport Hotel

Inside the Westport Hotel situated in the heart of Westport is the Islands Bar and Restaurant offering a healthy buffet style breakfast everyday from 7.30am until 11am.

In a relaxed atmosphere, they offering a choice of freshly baked bread, fresh fruits, cold meats, fish and cheeses.

Of course the The Hot Buffet does offer traditional Full Irish Breakfast (if desired)

A great little side benefit of The Westport Hotel is its location. I always love a stroll after breakfast so grab your last coffee to go and enjoy roaming the grounds of Westport House right outside the door.

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