Laura and I had been strolling the historical and quaint streets of Dublin late in the afternoon, formerly menacing gray clouds giving way to hopeful beams of sunlight as the sunset neared. The scent of roses and grass permeated our walk as we discussed life, expectations for this Global Child trip and we chatted about possible life lessons that we might discover as we lay on the green grass carpet of a magnificent park. Laura, my partly Irish co-host professional ballet dancer turned comedian, told me stories about her love of chocolate chip cookies as we proceeded to venture down charming cobblestone alleys. We explored Irish coffee shops after a morning at the Library of Trinity College, one of the oldest and most important in the world. Such a magnificent day. Reviewing the itinerary for the next day at the impressive Merrion Hotel, Laura accidentally nudged a coffee table in our room and a book fell open to the word: curiosity. We looked at each other and smiled like kids that found a treasure… I instinctively knew that curiosity was our theme for Ireland. See, curiosity is such a key human element; without it, we’d have no civilization, language and certainly no Irish coffees. No babies would’ve ever been made and beer would not have been invented. Curiosity is an intrinsic part of our humanity: the need to explore, discover and understand.
Having filmed in over a dozen countries at that point, I’d stumbled upon one of my favorite questions to ask those I come across during the filming of the show: What makes you most proud about your culture? In Ireland, the answer came up again and again… Curiosity. Some of our Irish subjects said that Irish people were nosy but really friendly, others mentioned that Irish people were warm but asked a lot of questions. All these are expressions of curiosity. Our friends at the Merrion Hotel told us over incredible tea and champagne that Irish hospitality is tied to their curiosity. How can we be hospitable without having the curiosity to discover who people actually are? Nathan, a fantastic award winning chef at the Cliff at Lyons told us about curiosity being a key part of Irish culinary tradition and how many of his own delicious discoveries had been happy accidents propelled by curiosity. Our friend Honor at Cliff House Hotel in Ardmore told us that curiosity is the quickest way to make friends… the examples were in the dozens.
Laura and I were completely amazed. Curiosity is one of the most important ingredients in life! It’s at the heart of every discovery and friendship. In that case, is all curiosity good? Remember the saying: curiosity killed the cat? Well, there’s something to that too. Ultimately, I realized that curiosity must be harnessed correctly. Most things in life, even the good things can be abused. Sure, we need water to live… but too much water and you’ll drown. You need curiosity to explore, but too much exploration and you can find yourself lost. Am I curious about what poison tastes like? No, I’m not… and even if I were (hypothetically)… I’ve been blessed with common sense and third-party experiences that tell me that poison is not to be trifled with, so I stay away. You can substitute the word poison for all sorts of toxic and addictive substances and experiences. Sometimes curiosity pointed in the wrong direction is best curbed through self-control and wisdom so that we can apply it in a positive manner.
Ireland taught Laura and I that curiosity, when used to want to know others with sincere interest can be a wonderful tool for friendship. Laura is naturally curious and I love that about her; I mean she is partly Irish after all! We also realized that too much curiosity at the Cliffs of Moher can get you close to falling off the edge! So, in our lives, it’s important to realize that common sense and caution, combined with good curiosity is a wonderful thing. Careless curiosity can be a dangerous reckless thing! Fortunately, our entire Irish adventure was filled with some of the warmest and most incredible human encounters I’ve ever had during my world travel adventures. The exhilarating moments that our friend Bernadette organized for us at Waterford Castle were amazing. We were curious about Falconry and Clay Pigeon shooting. Theresa from Cliff at Lyons helped to satisfy our curiosity about riding horses across the Irish countryside and shared wonderful moments chugging the best oysters in the world with us in Dublin as well! Laura and I were curious about the Wicklow mountains so we ventured on an unguided hike and the best time discovering one of the best views of our lives. No matter where you go, always be curious and let’s remember that asking people about their lives, their countries and their cultures are the quickest ways to truly be a Global Child and make new life-long global friends.