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!
On July 6th 2010 this blog was born. Born out of my desire to carry on writing following my graduation which meant I couldn’t write for student papers anymore. It began as a creative outlet, when my creativity felt stifled by other parts of my life. It has become so much more than that though. Now the blog has recently surpassed the ripe old age of 100 (and now has photographic sibling) I thought I would celebrate by looking back and thanking you, the reader.
Since 2010 a lot in my life has shifted and transformed irrevocably yet this blog has stood sentinel, unchanged. Some of those events have been documented on here like working as a journalist in India or moving to London. I’ve written about crazy things (my secret love of braces, being questioned by the visa police and even wearing fancy dress to beat writers block) and more somber subjects (the Japanese earthquake, religious unity and Tibet). I’ve been awarded Freshly Pressed twice and the Versatile Award, not that I’m bragging (much). The best thing, however, is reading comments and getting stopped in the street (truthfully this has happened twice now!) by people who like my blog and say that it made them laugh. If you want to understand my reasoning for blogging read my 10,000th hit post, as you can tell I like hitting milestones!
It’s only survived past the 2nd post because of you, the readers. I don’t want to go on like Kate Winslet at an awards ceremony but thank you readers and commenters, you’ve kept me sane and motivated.
I would urge anyone to start a blog, you’d be surprised where it takes you. You can be as thick as custard but as long as you have something to talk about, it will work. Just make sure it has heart, I’ve read some blogs that are just written for the sake of writing and it’s painfully obvious. Words written without heart read hollow.
So thanks for reading and here’s to the next 100.
I took this photograph last summer, which now feels like a decade ago, as the wind whistles through the crack in my window and the rain drums upon my roof. The photograph is simple but it represents escapism to me, something we all need every now and then especially during this grim winter.
Ever since I was young whenever I saw planes soaring above me I’d imagine where the plane was heading. It was usually somewhere warm during England’s never-ending icy winters or somewhere cold during our weeklong tepid summers. Nowadays, however, whenever I see planes painting the sky with a white brush of vapor trails, I envisage myself on it heading to India, a country I left only two months ago but yearn to return to.
This yearning has been brought about because some of my friends are travelling to India in the next few weeks as well as one of my friends still in India announcing her engagement. As I lecture those about to visit incredible India about where to go and what to avoid I brim over with explorers envy, knowing that soon they will be clinging onto a rickshaw as it carves through Delhi or sipping masala chai, high in the Himalayas. So I look at this photograph and pretend, just for a moment, that I am too.