Walk With Yourself – Bit Of Background
Nothing in the world in my eyes quite compares to the pure feeling of insignificance and solitude, it’s a completely unrivalled sentiment, through my travels I’ve driven through the Nevada desert and not seen a car for hours with hundreds of miles of emptiness around me, I’ve sat atop the highest point of a valley in Himachal Pradesh in India and shouted “Hello” and heard nothing but my own voice echoing back, I’ve found the loneliest beaches in South East Asia after walking for miles just to sit there and enjoy pure isolation. I’m far from a loner though, before I left the UK where I grew up I found it hard to sit alone for more than five minutes before I had to call a friend to see what they were doing, I thrive on social interaction.
One of the main reasons of leaving to go travelling I suppose was to test myself in a sense, to see if I could go it alone and enjoy my own company and nowadays there is nothing I love more than that sense of absolute insignificance on the planet.
Saying that, there’s no sense of isolation that quite compares to standing on stage lifting a rhinestone cape to a tacky backing track of Elvis Presley’s ‘American Trilogy’ while an audience that consists of a middle aged German divorcee and his son on a week holiday in Spain sit there and pretend to show interest.
This is social isolation at it’s very best.
And after 3 years of travelling this is where I am.
The past 3 years of my life have flown by in an absolute blur of places and faces, I hope that this recollection will not only be enjoyable to read but also slightly helpful for any promising traveller looking for a bit of advice on planning their round the world trip.
Names of certain people and places have been changed, hopefully not to offend anyone which I quite obviously will if I genuinely go through with this, which I most likely won’t, but the thought is there.
I suppose to understand my journey so far you’d need to know a bit about myself, I can first of all say I have no major goal or overriding ambition, I just tend to land on my feet in all situations.
I just find it hard to say no I guess, I suppose that’s the reason I end up in some fucking weird deranged situations with extremely colourful characters in some of the world’s most beautiful places, though I’m not saying I’m a ‘Yes Man’, but I’m about 80% of the way there, which tends to get me in and out of trouble.
I’ve surrounded myself my whole life with people from all walks of life, therefore I can generally talk with anyone about anything and know or sound like I know what I’m talking about.
Growing up in the North London area you tend to grow up pretty fast, after having a good friend stabbed at 17 years old then being held at knife point to your eye ball at 18 you start to realise it pays to be quite street smart.
I’m from single parent family, myself, my mother (Lynne) with whom I have a great relationship with, to be honest the only major arguments we’ve ever had have been over constructing Ikea flat pack furniture, and my older brother (Jay).
My dad and I are pretty close nowadays, he and my mum split when I was about 6 years and continued the family tradition of divorce on my dad’s side of the family, it’s fairly amusing really how every older male members of the family tremendously manage to fuck up their relationships and to be honest I’m no different.
I breezed through school, generally not giving a shit which is probably the best way to put it, but I came out the other side with respectable grades and pretty much done the same with A-levels, leaving school was when I truly believe my life began.
I worked in ‘Selfridges’ on Oxford Street for a year saving the pennies to get the fuck out of the rat race that is London, where you’re pretty much branded a psychopath if you dare catch anyone’s eye on the underground, and the pure look of disgust you receive if you look at the person’s paper sitting next to you! This is the attitude I hate about London, the sheer wound up, pretentious bullshit where people seem to think they are above you, be it because they live in Soho and deem themselves ‘cool’ because of their postcode, or the fact they’re carrying a fluro yellow shopping bag down the high street stating the fact “YES I HAVE BEEN SHOPPING AT THE MOST OVERPRICED PLACE IN LONDON”!
It’s all just a fucking branded statement, and I admit I did work at Selfridges, and it genuinely was the most mind numbing, soul destroying 12 months of my life to date, but at the same time I met a lot of great people in the same state of mind as myself.
I saved four hundred quid a month for a year, which in the end paid for a round the world ticket and spending money until I got to Australia to start working again, the leaving do was booked and I had a great send off from friends and family.
Up to this point I’d been in a two year relationship with a girl named Emily, a beautiful English rose who matched her good looks with intelligence, bluntly, herself and I couldn’t have been anymore different. She was overly sensible, to the point she wouldn’t kiss me in public for the sake of people judging her persona, one of those look both ways before crossing the hallway in the house people. She was a straight A student who’s eternally modest about her achievements, when first meeting Emily in school I didn’t exactly have a sterling reputation when it came to females and she really made me work for her affections. In many ways I found peace in Emily, she had drive and ambition but also respected me for not having either of those attributes, I don’t like clichés but she was my ‘rock’ and played a huge part in my life, throughout my travels and still does to this day
Though very different people, this isn’t to say I wasn’t madly in love with Emily, I adored her, she genuinely kept me sane in England, the time I spent with her kept me grounded. To Emily I was the ‘perfect’ boyfriend, arriving with flowers randomly at her doorstep, endless trips to the theatre, dinners galore and an interesting social circle….this is what she witnessed
The times I wasn’t with Emily I’d generally be fucked out my mind on my favourite substances of the time; Marijuana, ecstasy, cocaine and ketamine.
My love affair with ‘party drugs’ started when I turned 18 and went to the nightclub ‘Fabric’ in Farringdon (which I can confidently say is one of the best in the world), I’d consistently smoked weed from the age of 14 and knew that my horizons would eventually broaden onto more mind expanding substances.
My first ‘pill’ was like being born again, for those who are into the scene I’m sure will agree, that until you experience the effects of MDMA then you’ve never truly felt music in such a way and what it can do to you.
This side of my life was very well hidden from Emily, she was very much kept in the dark with the aid of some very loyal friends, I can only compare myself to some kind of twisted male Hannah Montana.
I recall the morning after my first night on MD I thought it’d be a great idea to go directly to Emily’s house at around 10am, with no sleep, stinking of stale sweat, alcohol & cigarettes and eyes like fucking black holes, ultimately I was still high as all shit.
When seeing Emily, she was with her mum on their way out, she asked me how my evening was, I went on to explain “It was the greatest fucking night of my life” (of course), Emily’s mum gave me an understanding smile whilst Emily was oblivious to the fact I was still on another planet!
Emily’s mum understood me extremely well, though she’d never say it directly, I like to think we a had a connection in a free spirit sense, she knew full well every time I was whacked out on some shit and always seemed happy for me.
Leaving Emily at the airport on the day of my departure was genuinely one of the most horrible and heart wrenching moments of my life, though our relationship had its flaws, I can say she’ll always be the love of my life and can see us together one day.
I stood there at departures looking like a turtle with my green backpack, accompanied by my Mum, Dad and Emily, emotion ensued. Leaving at 19 years of age for what was meant to be a year around the world on your own is quite a large concept to grasp, as up to that point the longest period of time I’d been away was perhaps 3 weeks.
I remember saying goodbye at the lifts going up to departures, and running straight to the toilet to sob my heart out for 20 minutes, composing myself I went up to the check in to get the ball rolling.