Here in the UK it’s a Bank Holiday (Public Holiday to those outside of my little island) and I have decided to use it to catch up on all the blogs I follow and find out more about the new followers I have received over the last few weeks. So please comment with links to blog posts of yours I should be reading so I can; catch up, comment and follow!
I have been musing with the idea of writing a blog post about what I would say to my younger self for a while. It’s a scenario regularly visited by soaps and sitcoms when they run out of ideas but it poses an important notion; if you could change anything in your past what would it be? I was going to include a photo of me at 15 but hell no one needs to be put through that torture.
“In 20 years, you will be more disappointed by what you didn’t do than by what you did” - Mark Twain
There are a few things I would tell my young self but one that has always plagued me was what would I do if I could change one decision I made in my past. One yes turned into a no, one left turned into a right. Mine would probably be to carry on acting; it is one thing I miss in my life now and I always wonder how far it could have gone. It would have more than likely turned into nothing but regret is a beast that eats away at undiscovered choices.
I would probably also tell my younger self to say no to eating that Chicken in Jaipur – that did not end well.
So my question to you is what choice would you go back and change? What would you tell your 15 year old self?
So here I am again, high in the Himalayas in what can only be described as the United Nations town of Dharamsala. Those of you who are regular readers will know that this place is my home from home; a paradise that feeds the soul. I am out here for a myriad of reasons but a change of scenery and a chance to recharge and realign oneself is a gift I welcome every time the peaks come into view as you relentlessly wind around the mountain roads.
Something that I often forget and am quickly reminded of is the phenomena that is travelling or to be more specific meeting fellow travellers (for those of you who read my last blog I did finally break the communicate firewall). You spend a few days with someone and share this awe-inspiring country and you swiftly turn into old friends. You become at ease with these complete strangers allowing your true self to be shown and for secrets to spill like water. This time around I was lucky enough to find some equally as bonkers people to share my last few days with and I must admit as the car turned the final corner and Dharamsala disappeared from view I shed a rare tear.
But why does this happen? In my own experience its because you need friends, you crave closeness. The comfort that only someone you trust can bring. You are thousands of miles away from your friends and family and that unspoken need to replicate them creates this instant bond. You perhaps become friends with people who if you were to meet in your home country you would never be friends because of the veil of perfection. These new people in your life don't know you and while they are with you they only scratch the surface of your imperfections, so anyone seems perfect.
So as my final day in India draws near I think back to all the incredible people I have met; the stories shared, songs sung and laughs had. However, while the friendship develops instantaneously it finishes just as fast, either you or the person you have met moves on to the next town and to the next person. Regardless of the length of the friendship if it is a true one it makes saying goodbye the most painful thing, in any language.
For those regular readers who have been wondering where James is and why he hasn't posted anything of late the answer is: I'm in India. I feel that it answers both of the questions! Anyway I am lucky enough to have an iPad and a decent internet connection so I thought I would post a small piece to keep you all amused. You troublesome lot, you!
Sadly though, it's not so much an amusing blog post but more of a grumpy old man piece.
As most of you know I regularly travel to India, as much as I can really. However, it has been two years since my last visit and while the mountains are the same and the brilliantly bonkers people are still here there has been a shift in the culture of travellers. Before, if you were travelling alone, you could walk into a restaurant or cafe and strike up a conversation with another fellow traveller over a chai or whatever your tipple is. Now you would struggle and the reason? Technology. I walked into a restaurant I have been going to for the last seven years were there would always be a little group of fellow travellers, a cacophony of different accents and now you only hear the technological click of buttons. I sat there sipping my hot Honey and Lemon (delicious by the way) feeling somewhat mournful as if something of our spirit of adventure had died. We were sat in the shadow of the Himalayas and as I sneakily walked around the customers I saw two people playing Angry Birds, one texting, another watching Homeland and at least ten people chatting on Facebook. People would rather be face down in a pile of Apps then witness the true majesty of nature. I drank my now slightly tainted drink and left, choosing to buy street food and chat to the shop owner then stare longingly at an apple logo.
I thought perhaps I am just being cynical and that it's not happening all over, but as I stared into each coffee house and restaurant along the road they were filled with people on their laptops, their iPads and phones. What a sad people we have become when rather than getting out there and experiencing incredible India we would still rather Instragram our lunch half way across the world. The hotel is the same, where once was a throng of people sat downstairs around the guitar, now they surround the wi-fi connection, like neanderthals around fire choosing to ignore the likes of me, dying to hear about their travels. Travelling is all about sharing experiences. So man next to me, please stop listening to Taylor Swift songs on Youtube and chat to me!