A story about a goldfish holds a very personal meaning for D2 Sports Pub Manager Adam Schofield.
As a young boy, Adam won a goldfish at a local fair. It was his first pet and he cherished it, each week spending some of his pocket money buying ornaments for the fish’s bowl. One morning he got back from his early paper round and the fish was flapping in a puddle on the kitchen floor. He picked it up, shocked and put it back in its bowl. That evening when he returned from school his Dad said, “your fish is dead.”
Some years later Adam lost both his parents and inherited the family home. A colleague, recently returned from travels, introduced him to couch surfing and Adam decided he would offer his spare room to travellers in the hope it would stave off the loneliness of living alone.
He hosted a few guests and got caught up in the buzz of adventure as they travelled the world meeting new people, but the house no longer felt like home and was a constant reminder of the loss of his parents. Thoughts turned to having an adventure of his own and he made plans to sell the house. “It was a big risk, but I felt I needed to rebuild my life somewhere else.” Adam explained. Like the fish, he wanted to escape the bowl.
Couchsurfing.com was in its early stages and Adam reached out to the founders with a proposal: he would spend the next five years couch surfing the world, documenting his experiences in a book. He was inundated with eager responses from hosts all around the world who helped carve out the route he would then follow. “I wanted my parents to see the world through my eyes.”
Adam set off on his adventure in 2007 and spent a couple of years experiencing the joys and pains of life as a nomadic traveller. A broken leg in Ecuador and a robbery in Argentina after being hypnotised with the world’s most dangerous drug, scopolamine, led to the loss of his video diary footage, money and confidence, and he started to question his motives to travel. While in Canada, he planned to return to Colombia but a freak storm delayed his flight and a twist of fate found him instead on a plane to Ho Chi Minh City. He arrived in Vietnam in 2009 exactly 1,000 days after leaving the UK and, with no real plans, spent the next six weeks traveling north. Funds were running low by the time he hit Hanoi so a friend in HCMC suggested he head back down to replenish his bank account. Within two weeks he had a job, a place to live, a new set of friends and a room for couchsurfers.
The next few years were spent teaching English in HCMC, money was good and he started to feel settled for the first time in years. He met a young lady and before long was the father of a son, Luca. The sense of loss felt since his parents passed on was finally beginning to fade and the future looked comfortable. Throughout his time couch surfing, Adam had been DJing at venues around the world. He was signed to a DJ agency in Germany, they started to book gigs for him locally and asked him to be an ambassador for them in Vietnam. “My style of music was open-minded. This was before the days of EDM (electronic dance music) when I was playing techno, breaks and house. Nothing mainstream.” Adam told me.
His first gig was at Cage Club and soon he was being offered residencies at venues like Vasco and Blanchy’s Tash, where he made a name for himself playing upfront music that appealed to the party crowd. More money was coming in from teaching and DJing, and in 2011 he bought eight new motorbikes and set up a rental company. Being able to provide for his family was a priority and he set about building the best life for them he could. The bike business has grown and been a great success so far.
By 2013 he quit teaching to focus fulltime on DJing. Companies like Tiger and Heineken contracted him to play large shows around the country and he got to support some of his idols like Pete Tong and Roger Sanchez. But although he could give his family what they wanted, he felt he was deflecting more from the music he enjoyed and was forced to play what venues wanted rather than his own style and expression. Adam DJed professionally for a couple of years before once again returning to the security of teaching, specialising as an IELTS instructor. He also founded the first home DJ school, coaching and mentoring young talent in their skills as DJs before helping them find gigs around the city.
No longer having to work late nights DJing, his evenings were free for family and friends. He started playing darts, captaining the team for Buddha Bar and ended up for a game at Dtwo Sportspub one evening. He liked the pub vibe, enjoyed the food and heard they did an excellent Sunday roast so a couple of weeks later, he returned. He asked for a job on the spot and after a probation period was co-managing the place alongside lead manager and mentor Tom Cutajar. “I owe a lot to Tom, he’s helped me stay focused and fine tune some old bad habits.”
“I am in my element now with this job. As a DJ I felt lonely as the big stages got further from the crowd, now I have stepped down it feels much more intimate and rewarding and I really like that. I’m no longer relying on the late night party crowd. I’m promoting good food and a warm welcome. It’s easier to see my friends, hang out and talk to people without having to shout, it’s a perfect replacement for me.” Adam said. He still DJs out of the spotlight, having opened an events company with Colin Miranda from Medusa Sound, but is much happier playing functions and private events where he can share his true passion and knowledge of music.
He plans to publish a book next about his world travels and life in Vietnam and is excited to share future adventures with his son. “If my book is a success, I would love to sail the world,” he said. He has re-invented himself as a mature, more responsible man, prioritising his role as a father as his father did for him.