You're never going to find a rainbow if you're looking down. Maybe you're looking up for a little "me" time, and there just happens to be rainbows all around. Maybe you're looking up, and it's on your birthday? Well then, it's OK to be a little selfish; you've earned it, and sometimes, you have to be selfish to be selfless.
I just returned from a long birthday weekend in Ireland, and I wasn't looking for anything in particular. In Ireland you don't chase rainbows, you just let the experiences come to you. It's a land known for its people, charm, beauty and merriment. Perfect fit for me right? ...What?
If your name is "Theodore Daly Patrick Sullivan born on St. Patrick's Day" and you're in Ireland for the holiday, you'll find more than rainbows, leprechauns and pots of gold – you'll discover enchantment beyond your expectations. (You'll find a few dozen Guinness gifts from the locals as well.)
Exploring Ireland without a reservation, agenda or itinerary allows you freedom. You could climb abbey ruins, stay in a castle, watch an Ireland vs. Italy rugby game with locals, partake in a village parade, tend bar while the owner takes a smoke break, and eat seafood chowder with a sheep farmer. That's just an average Thursday.
If you explore without a destination, you'll feel freedom and will probably chance upon your own rainbow when you weren't even chasing one.
Ted's Top Five Things He Learned About Travel On This Journey:
1. The Craic (crack) is Irish for "good times and great conversation". So if they say: "Ted, your craic was mighty last night," don't get offended – it's actually a compliment.
2. The Guinness in Ireland tastes better. If your hotel doorman hands you one after your round of golf, or you're walking across a castle moat, or there are swans in the river, or you're in the mountains, and there's fiddle music in the background and you have no idea what time it is...well, that's just awesome.
3. The John Wayne film "The Quiet Man" was filmed in a little village called Cong. If your dad forced you to watch it on your birthday for 40+ years, you should steal him a relic from the film set. (Click for Video)
4. If you end up three inches from your first "hole in one" and no one is there to witness the shot, it's because of the leprechauns.
5. Stay at the B&Bs and get to know the owners. They most likely will join you for pints at their favorite pub and you'll make lifelong friends.
Having a destination where you feel most at home is a special feeling. You can be yourself and exist in your own little world. In Ireland, that's OK – they know me there.
"So is your birthday on March 14th or St. Paddy's day, March 17th?" - Pascal (B&B owner)
"It's both, actually" - Me
"That makes no feckin sense. What are you, your own set o' twins?" - Pascal
"I'm adopted and I always celebrated my birthday on St. Pat's until I realized my real birthday was March 14th. So now I just make it a week-long event." - Me
"That's the best feckin idea I've heard so far today. Slainte!" - Pascal
Additional photos from this journey can be found by clicking here FlickrTravelWithTed