I have been struggling to know what to write in the current situation that will be succinct and useful as we all work through such immense personal and professional change during this pandemic. One of the biggest changes I have noticed is the increase in anxiety due to lack of individual control over current and future events, from everything to missing friend's birthday celebrations, cancelling crucial work meetings, and worrying about your own health. Below are five lessons I have learnt from self-isolation so far, that I think would be beneficial for everyone:
1. Focus on the present & things you can control - It's very difficult to predict how long or how severe this pandemic will be globally and personally, and thinking about something so large and uncertain can often feel very overwhelming. Find something that helps you relax and switch off for short while everyday. I have taken solace in joining some online Buddhist meditations recently when I feel myself becoming anxious, and it has reminded me to enjoy today. As Thich Nhat Hanh says:
"The past is no longer there, the future is not yet there. There is only the present moment."
2. Give yourself time to breath - for all the naysayers out there, maybe this really is the world's way of telling us to slow down! Isn't is ironic that the annual Earth Hour happened on Saturday 28th March, during a time when some of the lowest pollution levels of this millennium are being recorded worldwide, as planes are grounded and millions of people stop travelling?
3. The world is getting smaller (What if this happened in 2005?) - I don't know about you, but I certainly had never heard of 'Zoom' 10 days ago, and I'm not even sure if the 'Houseparty' app existed. Technology has advanced at a colossal rate and it's been fantastic to not only be able to keep in touch with friends I see regularly, but also to reconnect with friends in Finland, Germany, Vietnam and India - so we can all support each other through this worldwide pandemic.
4. Keep talking - as the 00's High School Musical song goes 'We're all in this together'! The outpouring of community spirit has been incredible, with over 800,000 individuals now registered to volunteer for the NHS. Give yourself a target to call one friend everyday - whether that's for your sake or theirs. Chat about unrelated Coronavirus news; play an online game, discuss a new skill you've learned, or try out a virtual exercise class to change topics for a while.
5. Running really isn't that bad! - This is a personal one to make you smile. I've never been much of a runner, but as a generally active person I really feel the benefit of getting my bloody pumping around my body and releasing endorphins. I have been fortunate to be teaching yoga online at least once everyday, and getting outdoors to the common across the road from my London flat for some fresh air. It not only gives me a precious 30 minutes alone from my flatmate (who also happens to be my big sister), but also helps me to clear my head from any stresses during the day.
The most important thing I just want to keep reiterating is - it's okay not to be okay. Yes, this may be the time you finally learn your favourite tune on the guitar, or sit down to launch your dream business, but it's also totally okay if you don't manage any of that! Let your mind and body rest from the incessant stresses of the western world, and don't be so hard on yourself. Keep talking, and know that you are not alone in this strange and confusing world.
If you are looking for something new to do, please do contact me, and have a look at my weekly public Yoga teaching schedule, or arrange private and group corporate classes. This article first appeared on the amazing well-being website - letsreset.com.
Local Futures have worked tirelessly over the last 40 years to shift focus from expanding Globalization, to a crucial local market. Helena Norberg-Hodge founded the NGO in 1984, ten years after Ladakh was first opened to tourists and discovered a cash economy. Prior to this, the nomads and farmers of Ladakh had sustained themselves independently for thousands of years, cut off from modernisations and monetary transactions. Suddenly a slew of money, building materials and new foods were being brought in from the rest of India and by travellers from around the world. The rural settlers were inundated with fizzy drinks in plastic bottles and colourful crisp packets; unaware that these would not biodegrade like their potato peelings, they were discarded in the soil, where they still remain to this day.
The premise behind Local Futures is to encourage an awareness both in Ladakh and around the world, of the need to reduce the incessant desire for globally-shipped produce and remind ourselves of the fruits (literally) of our own soils. A guaranteed feature at every vegetable stall in Leh for example, are bananas. The prospect of them growing in one of the driest, cold deserts in the world however is non-existent, meaning they have been brought here at huge cost and petrol consumption from Southern India. There are root vegetables, seabuckthorn berries, apples and apricots in abundance however, so why on earth bananas have arrived in Ladakh is unknown. The main highway between Srinagar, Kargil and Leh opened in 1962, reducing the journey time from Kashmir from approximately 16 days by horse, to just 2 days by Jeep. The recent unrest during August 2019 in these Kashmiri cities however, caused the delivery of vegetables to Ladakh to be banned for 4 days, a long time when there is a whole city who now rely on these imports.
The work of Local Futures is to reduce this need, re-educate the next generation, and remind the farmers of the endless possibilities of their own lands. It would be inappropriate to prevent modernisation, but at the cost of young people’s mental health and their historical traditions if nothing else, it has become important to support this fragile culture and ecosystem. The Shepherdess of the Glaciers is a profound documentary made by a Ladakhi film producer about his sister, who is one of only 12 Shepherds left in the remote valley of Gya, Eastern Ladakh. The Shepherdess has spent her whole life tending her family’s flock of sheep and goats, through the busy summer months into the treacherous winter mountains, where snow is often metres high, snow leopards regularly kill her lambs, and she does not see another human for months on end. This isolation is all she has known. She is painfully shy, physically weathered and cannot read or write in any language, while some of her family members speak 3 or 4 languages. However the passion and dedication to her role is unwavering. She laments the uncertainty of the future however. One of her brothers has had 4 daughters, now all in their 20s and studying or working in Leh and South India, they come back to visit the village for just a few weeks a year. With no mobile network, internet signal or running water, it’s not difficult to imagine the hardships here and complex mentality of the young people having to constantly adjust and readjust between city and rural life. However if one of the next generation does not take on the role of farming the animals, there will not be a flock. Without animals, there will be no manure for the family’s 30 barley fields, which will threaten the current organic, pesticide-free harvests.
As western volunteers are drawn to exploring a simpler, organic life, there have been many unanswerable debates about whether enough is being done to encourage Ladakhi’s to also adopt this way of life. With very few young people under the age of 30 left in the villages, the farmers are now having to sell and export part of their crops, which initially fed them through the entire winter, in order to pay workers from Bihar and Nepal to help with the harvest. The Indian Government introduced a food subsidy programme with the genuine desire to help impoverished local families, by offering staples such as rice, flour and lentils at extremely reduced rates. However this was the just the beginning of the culture of dependency. Rice cannot and does not grow in this desert region, but this is the food offered to the farmers. Many now eat this over their traditional dishes, and have reduced and in some cases completely forgotten how to harvest their own alternatives such as wheat, barley and buckwheat. This is where the volunteers of Local Futures and a partner organisation ‘Julay Ladakh’ come in. The aim is to support the families with their harvests, at the same time themselves learning more about organic farming for their own benefit, without any cash being exchanged.
Tar village in Sham State, 90km west of Leh, is another amazing village that is not currently accessible by road. Hopefully it will remain this way for many years to come! It is one of the last hidden villages, a 1.5-2hr walk following the river upstream, to the small cluster of a dozen houses in the valley. The Government seemingly do not quite understand the draw of this idyll however, and have lined many ugly, rusting poles metres into the sky along the route, with the aim to connect the village to central electricity. This will undoubtedly cost the villagers cash, which many do not have as they have lived solely off their inherited land, and will cause numerous problems and power outages. Currently the villages have perfectly adequate solar electricity and heating, and fresh drinking water from the ureas (irrigation channels), that offshoot the glacial river. As the highest village on that stretch of the river, before the 5000m Tar La Pass, it is only a passing Snow Leopard or Ibex that could possibly infect the river before this.
Tar is undoubtedly very difficult to get to however, and there is at least one elder who is now unable to leave the village as she could not physically make the walk to the main road. To show their support, the Government have not built a road, but instead donated an area of land near to the river, that supposedly makes the main road more accessible, particularly in the winter. No means of running water, bridge to cross the vast, deathly Indus river, or path from the current village to the new stretch of land have been provided however, crucial necessities before the costs of each family building a second house on this land are even considered!
The lack of new generations in the village has also forced the village school to close. A minimum of 4 pupils are needed for a Government teacher to be sent, however the school finally had to shut with just one student left in Grade 3 (around age 8). The sole child was also too young to live at the nearest school hostel where his siblings attend, so the family had to find cash to send their child to a private school with boarding when he was just 8 years old. To complicate matters, his schooling in Tar was in a different language, which meant he then had to fall back a few grades behind his peers to catch up. The sadness of his parents is difficult to see, although it is not hard to comprehend the premature loss of all of their children when they rarely see them outside of the school holidays. Now perhaps, this urgent desire for education and the sacrifices families are willing to make, can help one to understand why the next generation are struggling in their own culture. They don’t even know their parents’ after months away, let alone how to support themselves and subsist from their land and livestock.
Each village is completely unique in development, culture and access to the modern world, however the lose of the next generation to the alluring lights of Ladakh and India’s major cities is all too easy to see. Western volunteers cannot and do not want to possibly replace these missing young people, but perhaps dream that one day the rural way of life can be re imagined in its own unique way, to ensure centuries of history, culture and a wealth of natural, organic knowledge can be retained for years to come.
It’s the first cloudy day here in Leh, so now seems like a good time for my annual blog post! After 3 fantastic months in the UK spending time with my new nephew and selling an awful lot of gin, I came back to India on 8th August. This time I flew straight to Ladakh, the northernmost state in Central India, bordering Pakistan, Tibet and China. It has been a much-longed for and disputed area for many years, due to its proximity to so many borders and ethical diversity. For the last 70 years Ladakh has officially been an Indian state, joined with Jammu and Kashmir. On August 5th 2019, the Indian Government announced it would rescind the long-held Article 370, devolving Ladakh’s association with J&K and allowing it to become a Union Territory in its own right.
While this has created significant tensions in Kashmir, the Ladakh Buddhist population at least, are extremely happy about their independence from the tumultuous, muslim-majority J&K state and have held many celebrations to this extent.
I spent one night in the capital, Leh, during which I had a pretty horrendous altitude headache, but with lots of water and some Tibetan medicine my body gently adjusted to the 3500m (11,500ft) average altitude. Happy and I then rode by bike for 60km (1.5hrs) through the mountains to the guesthouse he has been running with friends in a village called Likir in the Sham State, west of Leh. I had a great couple of weeks relaxing, hiking, reading and practising daily yoga with my new housemates!
August 15th was Indian Independence Day, which I always find a slightly embarrassing/awkward affair as an English citizen, but we were able to watch the annual parade at the local village school which has about 30 pupils! Unfortunately due to the unrest in Kashmir, the Government turned off the mobile networks for a few days, which meant I missed the first harvest of the season, but I sort of made up for this by helping our amazing landlord’s family with harvesting the alfalfa down in the river valley for their cow to eat during the winter. It was a great introduction to traditional Ladakhi culture and see the effort the families go to to ensure their livestock (and themselves) can be sustained during the harsh winters here. Climate change is most definitely affecting the mountain weather, meaning the summers are certainly warmer and longer, however there can still be 10ft+ of snow which means all crops must be harvested and stored by the end of September.
I came to Ladakh 2 years ago for a short couple of days as I travelled through Kashmir, however as I was intending to stay much longer this time, I got involved with an NGO called ‘Local Futures’ based here in Ladakh, that has been running for over 40 years now. (More on the work of Local Futures soon!)
I have now lived and travelled around Ladakh for 6 weeks, and have just 5 days left before I start my journey south to find some winter sun! I have fallen in love with this new Union Territory and am certainly planning to return soon. The people are so diverse and very rightly proud of their strong, historical culture. They are extremely friendly and welcoming, not to mention the fantastic desert climate which, although makes my skin very dry, means I have witnessed about 2 hours of rain in my whole trip!
DAY 1: THURSDAY 26TH JULY 2018
Manali – Chutra // 83 km: 7.5 hours
We are now in Chatru – I'm so cold!
We left on our (Enfield Himalayan) bike about 11am from Manali after a false start of pouring rain and needing a new battery to start the bike! We also went about another hour further than we needed to as we were trying to reach Chandratal Lake for the night which we'd heard was do-able, however we were stopped on the road by a very nice old Kiwi biker who said there had been two bad landslides and the road ahead was completely impassable, so we turned back. We passed the message on to two very underdressed Israeli guys who decided to join us in our journey back to Chandratal, and we luckily were offered the camp's little outbuilding to sleep in altogether instead of some very soggy tents!
We're now absolutely soaked through after torrential rain all day over Rohtang Pass (3978m altitude) and warming our bones with some dal, rice and chai. Luckily we brought a little gin with us from Manali and picked up some local alcohol from a little mud hut earlier in the day en route to warm us too!
DAY 2 FRIDAY 27TH JULY
Chatru – Kaza // 181km: 12 hours
Oh my word what a day! Woke up about 6amish in our little cosy mountain room with our new Israeli friends Tom and Tomer. Re-dressed in our still-wet jeans and trainers and met a group of English schoolboys hiking the same route for 2 weeks while we were tucking into our Paratha breakfast. Today was such a long blur. We drove through rivers, helped a car completely stuck by a rockslide, and went 14 km in the wrong direction in the rain. We assumed we had to go through Chandartal Lake to reach our goal of Kaza for the day, but only when the checkpoint police stopped us for a passport check 3km short of the lake did they tell us it was just a viewpoint with no through road! This brought me almost to the end of my adventurous tether as I was freezing again having walked many times through foot-high gushing glacial water to make sure the bike didn't get stuck. Added to that we felt pretty responsible for the young Israeli's who had attached themselves to us (they were wearing shorts and sandals, lost the bags off the back of their bike without realising, and slipped off their bike twice in the mud)!
Anyhow, eventually after a very tough and bumpy steep set of switchbacks, we got to some almost tarmac road past a monastery to Lassor for lunch (Approx 6 hours of riding). As with many roads in Himachal, there was a police checkpoint to continue into the village and on with our journey. For some reason one of the Israeli's had decided to leave his passport in Manali (in my diary I wrote 'the bloody Israeli boy', I was obviously stressed!). There was at least half an hour of discussions and phone calls with Happy as translator, before they were finally let through, with a warning that they were unlikely to be allowed to continue their journey at the next checkpoint (a problem when we were all running low on fuel). Finally had a Thali and felt a little more human again. The Israeli boys were by now predictably slow at getting started again, but luckily we smashed the second part of the day with some beautifully smooth roads. A quick, cold bucket shower and some veg pakoras later and I am tucked up in bed already.
DAY 3: SATURDAY 28TH JULY
Kaza - No riding!
As with most, the Israeli boys were observing Sabbath (Shabat as they call it in Hebrew), and we unintentionally joined them. We went for breakfast at an awesome hostel with small locally made crafts for sale and lots of inspiring quotes on the walls, and a reminder not to let Kaza become 'another tourist Manali', but to travel for reason not just for instagram. The owner there said as a foreigner I needed another permit to pass the next bit of the journey, so we headed to the small photocopying and documents office, filled out the necessary forms and waited 2 hours for traditionally slow Indian bureaucracy. I got my permit, and it was free :).
We went to the main market of Kaza to the Himalayan Cafe for pizza, a boardgame of Ludo, and some colouring, meeting lots of school groups, cycling and biking packs in the process (mostly English strangely!). Had a nice chilled afternoon resting my sore bike bum.
DAY 4: SUNDAY 29TH JULY
Kaza – Rekong Peo // 212km, 9.5 hours
Oh, got a bit drunk last night and tried to capture the full blood moon – a little blurry! We got up at 6:30am to try and get an early start (and not have to wait for the slow Israeli's who had also followed us to our guest house). Unfortunately the petrol pump was closed and we hadn't filled up our bike yet, so of course we had some chai. Once the station worker had finally been persuaded to finish his shower (we were told he was too busy showering to open the pumps!), the power then went out for another hour so we had to wait for them to start the generator. Apparently this happens pretty regularly here, as it's a Government job in a pretty undesirable place, so the workers try their hardest to do a bad job and get reported so that they can be transferred back down to a different petrol station in warmer climes before winter!
During our wait we got chatting to a lone Delhi rider and ended up spending most of today's ride with him. First we caught up with him at the checkpoint into the China border road near Tebo, then making sure he sped up to avoid a massive rockfall that started literally as we were driving underneath it. An undeniably scary experience that led to me as the passenger being 'rock-watcher' in the cliffs above for the day. Eventually we stopped together at an isolated army base where it never rains, and persuaded the army mess to give us chai. Another checkpoint and strict no photography instructions later we found some delicious tarmac road and beautiful, if pretty daunting, mountain desert scenery.
Our Indian pal had some unfortunate bike trouble which meant I ended up walking up some of the switchbacks with his hoards of camping gear to lighten his Enfield while Happy pushed it. Needless to say our bike is bloody great! After a very local Thali on the road near Naka, we rode about 35km further and found a roadside mechanic who changed the other guys bike oil which seemed to do the trick. Although this also included an unintended 45 minute stop and me having to squat behind the wheel of an old truck on the roadside to relieve myself.
We got back on our way but lost the smooth roads and instead had daggers bruising my bum for the last few hours (okay maybe they were just rocks but it sure didn't feel like it!). We turned away from the river and took a quick, steep climb to a mountain town called Rekong Peo when I decided I really couldn't manage to co-pilot any longer (I'm making it sound a little too glamorous here hey!). It really wasn't a tourist place, and we lost our Indian pal while searching for hotels but found a bed (albeit no running water).
DAY 5: MONDAY 30TH JULY
Rekong Peo – Banjar // 203km: 10 hours
Woke up to the most beautiful view of snow-capped mountains at the top of the valley. We had an amazing, and pretty sweaty ride through some slightly busier mountain villages and over Jalori Pass (3120m altitude), then down to Sohra where we had planned to stop. We kept going (with a couple of small pauses to let the brakes cool down when they stopped working) and were blessed with the most unbelievable pine forests and clear roads just for us. A lot of the guesthouses were closed as I guess we're a little out of season, so we continued through the very busy town of Banjar and finally found a tourist hotel, with a front row view of the gushing river we'd been following for hours, running water AND a geezer (hot water boiler by the way).
Our first hot showers in 5 days – bliss.
DAY 6: Tuesday 31st July
BANJAR – MANALI // 93km: 6 hours
The final stretch back to Manali! We were a bit reluctant to leave what we knew was our little mountain haven but I think we finally got going about 8:30/9amish. It was a pretty smooth ride in terms of the road, but after 5 days my body was seriously hurting just thinking about sitting on the bike which made it a bit of a struggle. The roads were dusty and full of traffic, and we did hit a big road block along the way. The traffic was so bad getting back into Manali (probably another landslide due to their road-widening project), so we drove back an hour in the direction we had come to find the back road. At about 2:30pm we made it back to Vashisht (Manali)!
What a crazy, crazy adventure. I'm kind of sad to say goodbye to the trusty bike that has been our home for the last week, but I'm also excited for a hot shower and straightening my knees for a while. Onwards and upwards to the next adventure!
I had almost become immune to the frenetic Indian life. Disposed between sleepy villages that have never seen tv and can take hours or days to walk to, versus the pace of taxi drivers and autorickshaws speeding in and out of every available road and un paved space not already taken up by the millions of cars, lorries and buses already crammed onto India’s bustling highways.
I still remember the first time I saw a man using the roadside as his public toilet in India 10 years ago on my initial visit, and the way male best friends show their affection through physical displays of hand holding and hugging, even though it is rare to see even a married couple behave in this way. I have just spend 3 months in the UK, my longest stretch in the last 2 and a half years. And while it was fun to catch up with everyone (and see how travel and food prices are still soaring!), I was of course unbelievably excited to return for my 5th time, I didn’t anticipate how much I had forgotten. From the strength of the curry to the sweltering humidity, my taxi ride from the Airport and 15 hour bus journey from north from Delhi proved to be even more surprising.
What I haven’t recently even batted an eyelid at, now I gawped at 6 people fitting onto one scooter with not a helmet in sight, at the tractor streaming along the main road tentatively on just 3 wheels, at the hundred bulls stopping six lanes of rush hour traffic for their Shepard’s to guide them to their food during rush hour in the city, and at the noise and sheer lack of rules guiding the roads of the capital city. After a few hours I got back into the swing of things, but I was still amazed at how exciting these simple, if strange sights, made me, on my return to my new home.
After a very long night bus, a 4 hour early morning local bus up the side of a mountain, a quick sleepy chai stop and a one hour hike to a village with no roads while carrying over a quarter of my whole body weight on my back, it’s onto the next adventure! I spent my first afternoon in the sleepy mountain village of Pulga hiking through beautifully smelling pine forests, and dusting off my camera for loads of macro shots of beetles and flowers on the forest floor.
Many people dream of having some down time away from the world to sit, drink tea and hike through forests (or sunbathe if that’s your scene!), well I guess i am just extremely fortunate to the universe for helping me find the opportunity to do this. Here’s to all of your dreams, may they turn into a reality very soon!
I recently binge-watched Wild Wild Country on Netflix about the 'Guru' Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, also known as Osho. Let me give you a little background if you do not know what this is about:
This documentary is about one extremely influential Indian man and his quest to enlighten, coerce and/or dictate an awful lot of followers who ranged from Government officials and academics to lonely and homeless souls looking for a home. What started at an Ashram in Pune, India, quickly grew as a hub for, mostly western, nomads and those seeking a more eastern, spiritual life away from the rat-race. Osho (I'll use the name he's currently known by), claimed to be leading a movement of people on a self-sustainable journey of enlightenment, however already his teachings were proving to be far too outlandish for the Indian city. Within a few short years, Osho and his disciples, lead by his power-hungry 'personal secretary' Sheela, swarmed the tiny farming community of Antelope, Oregan, USA. The controversy of Osho's teachings continued, as followers were encouraged to drink, dance and particularly, to have sex to wild abandon, while working 7 days a week and living in seriously sub-standard conditions.
It's better to watch the six-part series than to have my full explanation, but I wanted to use it to set the scene for my own experiences today. It does worry me that so many, apparently educated and intellectual individuals, can be persuaded so easily to live a life of devotion to something so intangible (particularly in this case while their 'Guru' was driving around in one of his many rolls royce!). However I've been on my own journey in the last few years to understand a little more about a wide variety of spirituality ideas and religions, and give myself the knowledge to confidently follow my own path.
This exploration of mine, has introduced me to Yoga, not in a fitness sense but rather the understanding of a lifestyle. Through my practise I have become a yoga asana teacher to others, as is necessary to pay my rent and prevent me living in a cave on some forgotten mountain. I advertised my services online, and while I have been fortunate to have accepted a number of fantastic community and private yoga teaching posts in London, I was extremely unprepared for the sinister side of this. I figure that living in Sri Lanka and India has given me a pretty thick skin, but please reader, put all of your stereotypes aside. I'm alert to the need for me to be careful in Asia, however I have had many more unsavoury requests than I anticipated, through my advert in the UK. Only this morning I got a phone call from a man 'somewhere in West London' who asked if he could practise yoga naked while I taught him. Along with numerous 'massages' in exchange for classes.
I'm left wondering if one of the reasons for these outlandish and utterly sexualised requests, are the result of a misunderstanding by westerners of why I, and millions of others practise yoga? Everyone is an individual and finds their own peace in different ways, however I would argue that the liberalised teachings of 'Gurus' like Osho have undermined and discredited individuals like myself, who practise all forms of yoga as a lifestyle, and not a reason for a pervy old Englishman to watch a female in leggings 'work out'.
Is this an issue (from anywhere in the world), that you have also experienced? In the meantime, if you have any ideas for how we can all legitimise our choices, such as yoga practise, and not be belittled by them, please send them my way :).
You. Yes you. You fascinate me.
You intrigue me with your unknown depths of illiteracy and intimacy ( and my obsession with beginners alliteration). Your messy hair and gently sagging skin; passing it's sell by date. What even does that mean? The sunkissed lines surrounding your twinkling eyes of freedom, of passion for adventure and sex. Past the faded jeans and the over-washed t-shirt there's a rocking life of rolling stones and messy nights. The fights, the laughs, the lust and mistrust fill your pale, rouge cheeks with energy and wonder. Those boots were certainly made for walking, and not by any means down the catwalk. A glimpse of mud splatters the fraying cotton edges of your navy lace-ups, clunking awkwardly through the neat pavements of this ancient city.
A swift dash into eastern wisdoms should remind us all that your life does not have a sell by date. Ironic really seeing as all life dies. But who's to say what lies before, between, beyond the quiet breath that just consumed one more fragment of this tubes' finite oxygen tunnel. The metal rails screeching against each other as the 6 unruly carriages come to an abrupt stop. Why does it always feel like your about to crash on public transport? Is it just me, or are we really worried about that famous '27 death club' anonymity. We have to rush to get things done even though we know how long they take before we start, the next station never will get any closer on the rusty parallel tracks, although an obstacle is unknown.
I stare at you through sleepless eyes, unnecessarily and unknowingly. I don't mean to generate such fear of an intrusion but I want to hear what's in your soul. The lies you've told to make it into work when really where you fit is back on that forgotten track of physical power not paper towers. You're imagining that glint of sunlight warming your slightly wrinkled cheeks amongst the heat of buttercups spreading all around you. Im sure of it. At home in fields of green and yellow not grey and black, the drab, the slack of city souls lost in the void instead of out to pasture like your organic food. Why should you let the chickens roam free on your country farm when you're still caged inside this tube? A loud inscessant screech persists as tracks are forced together when even metal needs it's oil.
Allow yourself a moment reader.
Personify those metal tracks, it's you and life, you're fighting back. When rust appears or sirens sound they're warning you to take a stand. To give yourself some time away to run in grasslands like a child, and wooop and shout, absorbing sun. Please promise me you won't forget to help yourself, you need a little oiling too, organically, in the wild. Who cares if you are 65 or 22 and what your adventure holds.
I'm not a traveller anymore. I'm a hippy, nomad, seasonaire who is not really a hippy or a nomad. You see I'm caught in this delightful mess of some kind of sustained purgatory that I choose to stay in. It's fun to float between, before, beyond, the boundaries you have set for me. Who are you to prescribe my life? I recently heard that for the Goan hippies of the 70's and 80's who's children are my age or younger it's cool for them to dress up smart, buy all the material goods they can and go work in the city. See? You think the only rebels are those going against the glass tower 9-5ers, but really we are all rebelling against what came before us just to feel alive, alone, at peace.
So back to my rebellion I guess, and all this time I'm wondering where I fit as a traveller that doesn't travel and a writer that doesn't write. It all gets a bit complicated as I spend another sleepless morning shooing mr monkey from my balcony and trying not to get worked up about the views of those who I don't work for even though some blood was spilt somewhere to feed relations. Some people's twisted fates follow a very straight piste of calendar dates and Bayeux tapestry timelines, but what comes next for your clay pot filled with paper money - mortality? Yes. So why not allow me to be not like you, that's not me now, is it? 2 days ago a 20 year old German girl I met had come to find herself to break away her social norm by working at a hostel bar for 2 months specialising in white girls wearing bras and scarfs for clothes while 'growing into themselves' as fish. It's like they never wanted to come on land and are better as the little mermaid. She nearly fell off her bar stool when she found out I had spun for more than a quarter of a century around this earth. Because in her educated prescription maybe I'm too old to do this job of travelling the world. But remember, I'm not travelling. I guess I'm like a mobile home that never really moves! And what about that 65 year old who lives down the road (but really he's from Manchester, UK or somewhere I have never ventured to because I'm not really a traveller), who smashed me at table football at the bar where girls where very little clothes. Is he a traveller too? Is he a hippy too? Do you call people who move to Spain or Australia hippies because they're no longer in the UK? Didn't think so. And what about people who don't move at all but stay right where they popped into this earth. Ready to learn, and live and die again without even making one full circuit.
I've meandered from the point but it was to say that we can all be lost and found at the same time, but what does it even really matter if I'm not making money to buy more clothes I never really wanted and a car I won't even drive because, let's be honest, who knows if I'm a nomad or not, I just won't be there.
I enjoy writing and have had experience from my degree and through working on news posts. I hope to use this blog as a summary of extraordinary things I've discovered or witnessed in everyday life.