Try an Alternative Solution, Just for Once

When you're reading this I am on my way. I have timed the appearance of this post to coincide with my 12-hour car trip to Slovenia, a small country in the Southeastern part of Europe. My spouse went there by plane two days ago. And given my track record of driving in foreign countries you can probably find me in a roadside ditch right now, with two flat tires, waiting for someone to help me out.

The trip from The Netherlands to Slovenia is 1200 kilometers. Naturally, I should have gone by plane. These days flying is only a little more expensive than driving.

So why bother traveling by car?

Because alternative solutions can be more fun.

Sometimes you have to allow yourself to do things differently. Use LLBLGen instead of NHibernate. Use Python instead of VB.NET. Use another design pattern. Another browser. Another Thai restaurant. Another job. Another girl-/boyfriend.

Just for once. Just for fun.

This has two important effects: 1) You will better appreciate what you already have when you verify, just occasionally, that the other options are still inferior. 2) Allowing yourself to be immersed in new experiences makes life so much more interesting.


That's why I'm driving all the way from The Netherlands to Slovenia. The route takes me through Germany and Austria, over mountains and into places I've never been before. I'm sure I'm having a lot of fun right now, with stacks of Italian dance CD's playing repeatedly, and teasing my partner with an SMS every hour on my whereabouts and the timing of my approach. I might even have picked up a good-looking hiker. You never know.

And after someone has helped me out of the ditch that I will probably have tumbled in, I'm also quite sure I will make a vow to take the plane again next time.

p.s. I have scheduled another few post to appear every few days, but I will not be replying to any comments or email until Monday. I'm too busy avoiding collisions with Slovenians.

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  • Sonja

    Not only should you try alternative solutions occasionally, you should try different problems to start with.
    No matter with which software you’re making a webshop, try seeing the reason for creating that webshop. Or looking at project management, when trying to solve a problem, first see if there isn’t a different problem to start with.
    To stay in the roadtrip analogy, recently CERN in Switzerland had an open day. (CERN is the place where grown up, serious, scientists, try to learn more about the nature of the universe by trowing stuff against other stuff) Normally, I woulnd’t even consider going there as it is a 2000 km voyage.
    Considering this problem it seemed not to be a problem at all. Sure it’s 2000 km, but where is the problem in that?! So we planned to do a 24 hour trip to CERN.
    The problem of course is in the tail of the story when severe snow trapped us in the mountains in France. But without that we’d never have found the hotel that was perfect for any horror story.
    Conclusion: Not only try new solution, but also try out new problems.

  • Jurgen Appelo

    Sonja, what a great comment. Thank you!
    Any pictures of the horror hotel? 🙂

  • Sonja

    Unfortunately with didn’t take a camera into the hotel. It was around 2 am when we finally arrived at a site where TomTom thought was a hotel. One of us stayed in the car as we hadn’t actually found a parking space yet while a friend and me went to see if they had any rooms left.
    To give a description, the size of the building would’ve dwarved an average castle and it was all build in a somewhat depressing victorian style. The entree consisted of two massive doors probably about 3 meters high. The inside showed a large open room with just one lightbulb on the ceiling (4 meters up) a single reception desk with a pile of unopened mail. Behind the reception desk were room keys, quite horror movie like only key 13 was missing (empty rooms plenty). Unfortunately no one sat at the desk, but we heard footsteps down some hallway and decided to check it out. (This is the part in the movie where you always think ‘don’t be stupid, just go somewhere else’)
    The narrow but high corridor had the atmosphere of a 50’s mental institution. There was no light, but we could see some coming from the glass in a door at the end of the long corridor. Half way through however we got so spooked by the atmosphere that we decided it’d be best to just leave (;
    So no pictures, but I do have a renewed understanding of why people in the movies always insist to ‘check it out’ because that really is what you’d do if you have no script.

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