I didn’t consciously sit down and decide my New Year’s resolution. It came to me after I realised that I was doing something right, and I wanted to keep doing it.
I’ve always been good at exploring and finding nice places to eat and stay when I’m away on a trip, but I don’t tend to take the same tack when it comes to exploring the city I live in.
After spending a year in Australia, I came back to Dublin in 2013 to find that a lot of new places had popped up out of nowhere. I was excited by the idea that hipster cafés and concept restaurants had come to Dublin.
But while I did get to some of the newly opened places, I didn’t go to a lot more. The number seemed to multiply until I resigned myself to the idea that I’d probably never get around to them.
I settled into the routine of going to the same places over and over.
Then at the beginning of this year, by coincidence, I ended up going to a couple of new places when I was meeting up with my friends and boyfriend. I started thinking that this was a really good start to the year, much better than 2016 which saw me lazing about at home.
I started to ask myself why I’d built such a mental barrier to going out. I lived about an hour’s travel away from town, so that was part of it. But since I’m already in town working, why not go out after work more often?
So I resolved to try somewhere or something new every week.
I’ve set aside a specific day every week where I promise to go out to make sure I don’t forget, and any time I read or hear about a nice place, I make a note of it on my phone.
Of course, I have a limited budget. I can’t do fine dining and cocktails every week. But there’s lots of new things to try that don’t necessarily involve that. It could mean finally trying that doughnut place I’ve been eyeing. I haven’t been to a single museum in this city, so that would probably be a good place to start.
By the end of the year, I should have tried at least 52 new places.
But as of today, that number already stands at 16.
Maybe that’s because when you open your mind to new things, you take more opportunities to try them, whether that’s a new place to get lunch, getting coffee somewhere different or trying that bar you’ve always wanted to go to.
I want to know more about my town. The more I try, the more options for places I’ll have to go. It’s amazing how small this city can seem when you have limited knowledge.
Right now, a lot of the suggestions for places to go in the articles I write come from recommendations from other people in Lovin Dublin or from friends. I feel like I can do a better job if I can speak from personal experience. In fact, after going to the Blind Pig for dinner I was inspired to write one the most popular pieces I’ve ever written about bars with secrets.
As they say, variety is the spice of life. I shouldn’t need to travel to experience something new and have new stories to tell. And it gives me something to look forward to every week.
Hopefully 2017 will be my best year so far.