I once had a chance between jobs to take a few days off. I had an urge to do something, so I called my brother and a good friend and said, "Let's go to Doolin". They said yes and a road trip was born. This was about 6 years BC (before kids).
Doolin, if you've not heard, is a tiny village on the west coast of Ireland near the majestic cliffs of Mohar. At the time I was living in London. 2 days there, 2 days back for one hell of a night in the pub in Doolin.
I'd last been there when I hitch hiked around Ireland for a 2 week summer holiday when I was a student. It has a youth hostel, a shop and 3 pubs. That's pretty much it. People travel from all over the world to enjoy what's probably the best traditional Irish music to be found.
We arrived at the pub at 4 in the afternoon and left at 2 in the morning. By 9pm lots of local and not so local musicians had turned up and were starting to jam. By 11pm the party was in full flow and by midnight everyone was hoarse from singing along.
If you get a chance, go to Doolin, it's a real treat.
Although the evening in the pub was memorable (if not a little fuzzy), one of the most exciting things that happened to us was on the way there.
When you're a kid, everything is new. Everything you do can be exciting. As an adult you can get used to life. You get into a routine. Domesticated. Institutionalised. The novelty of the unknown is a great thing and to avoid boredom I've always believed that it's worth injecting some randomness into life. More randomness gives more chances for pleasant surprises, delight and serendipity.
As we were approaching Limerick late morning (having taken the overnight ferry from Fishguard to Rosslare), it was of course raining. To spice things up a bit we decided to inject some randomness and we did so by a throw of the dice. Literally.
We wrote down 6 things, one for each possibility when the dice was thrown. Whatever happened we all pledged that we would follow through. To keep up the adrenaline, one choice (number 6) was something that would take us out of our comfort zone, something we wouldn't want to do.
Here are the 6 outcomes;
1. Go to the most expensive restaurant in town and spend as much money
2. Go to the cinema
3. Bet on a horse
4. Play Bingo
5. Pub lunch
6. Buy instruments and go busking
Ready to commit, 10 miles outside Limerick, the dice was thrown. Up came number 3; bet on a horse. I had never bet on a horse. I was doing something new.
We had to first find a bookies. Driving around town we found one and parked up. Inside, we had a few decisions to make: which race, which horse and how much. All these decisions were made with throws of the dice (of course).
We ended up betting a tenner at 8 to 1 on a race in 90 minutes later that day. So, to pass the time we had a pint in a nearby pub and came back to watch our race. Excited.
As the race developed we got more excited. Our horse actually stood a chance of winning and was doing well. As the finish came near we were all on the edge of our seats. I couldn't believe it. Our bloody horse won!
With our winnings we drove that afternoon to Doolin in good spirits and when we left the pub at 2 in the morning we had just about managed to spend our winnings. What a day, what a night!
The best things in life often happen when you least expect.
So, a recipe for continued satisfaction is to inject some randomness and keep finding new things to experience. I guess that's why I love travel, love working in start-ups and love the rapid changing world of technology and the web.
My grandma once said some wise words to teenage me, "There are different joys at every stage of life". Very true. I would add, "Never stop trying new things. Most things remain to be done".