shantaram – pt.2

 I posted about the book Shantaram a few weeks back but due to my crazy I stopped reading, primarily because I could not concentrate on it nor lift my head off my pillow to read a sentence, let alone a page. I am still about half way through but am determined to finish it because, in case I didn’t mention it before, I adore this book.

 It never fails to amaze me just how powerful words when combined in the right way can be yet when we see them in a dictionary alone they seem powerless. We have to use them wisely because they can empower us but also destroy us.

I shared before some of my favourite passages from the story, but that was just the beginning. The more I read the more food for thought this story seems to give me.

Read on below to see some more words of wisdom.

 

I think suffering is a matter of choice. I think that we do not have to suffer anything in this life if we are strong enough to deny it. The strong man can master his feelings so completely that it is almost impossible to make him suffer. When we do suffer things, like and so, it means that we have lost control. So I will say that suffering is a human weakness.

 

Is it not true that some of our strength comes from suffering? That suffering hardship makes us stronger. That those of us who have never known a real hardship and true suffering cannot have the same strength as others who have suffered much?

 

I think that when we grow up and learn that happiness is rare, we become disillusioned and hurt. And how much we suffer is a mark of how much we have been hurt by this realization.

 

When we act, even with the best of intentions, when we interfere with the world, we always have a new disaster that mightn’t have been of our making, but that wouldn’t occur without our action.

 

Some of the worst wrongs were caused by people who tried to change things

 

The worse things that people do to us always make us feel ashamed. The worst things people do always strike at that part of us that wants to love the world. And a tiny part of the shame we feel when we’re violated, is shame at being human.

 

Lovers always find their way by such insights and confidences; they’re the stars we use to navigate the ocean of desire. And the brightest of those are the heart of breaks and sorrows. The most precious gift you can bring to your lover is your suffering.

 

Men reveal what they think when they look away and what they feel when they hesitate; with women it’s the opposite.

 

At the moment most of our ways of defining the unit of morality are similar in their intentions though different in their details. So the priests of one nation bless their soldiers as they march to war and the imans of another country bless their solders as they march out to meet them and everybody who is involved in the killing says that he has God on his side. There is no objective and universally accepted definition of good and evil and until we have one we will go on justifying our own actions whilst condemning the actions of others.

 

If you turn your heart into a weapon you always end up using it on yourself.

 

Sooner or later fate puts us together with the people who show us what we could or shouldn’t let ourselves become. Sooner or later we meet the drunkard, the waster, the betrayer, the ruthless mind and the hate filled heart but fate loads the dice of course because usually we find ourselves pitying all of these people and its impossible to despise someone when you honestly pity and to shun someone you truly love.

 

My hate is what saved me. Hate is a very resilient thing you know, hate is a survivor. I had to hide my hate for a long time, people couldn’t handle it, they got spooked by it so I sent it outside myself. It’s weird that I was a refugee for years, I still am, my hate was a refugee just like me. My hate was outside me. My family were all killed, raped and butchered and I killed men, I shot them, I cut their throats and my hate survived out there. My hate got stronger and harder and then I woke up one day working for Khader with money and power and I could feel the hate creeping back into me and it’s here now, inside me, where it belongs and I’m glad, I enjoy it. I need it, Lin. The stronger I am it’s braver that I am, it’s stronger than I am. My hate is my hero.

 

 

 

I mean… *insert heart-eye emoji here*
Xoxo

Micks

10 places I want to visit before I die

 

Honestly, I’d like to visit everywhere.

There are very few places you could name on this globe that I would say no to visiting, I am very lucky and have done a fair amount of travelling in my life. I used to be that person that would never visit anywhere more than once – there was just too much world to see and it was pointless to keep going back to the same place. That plan began unraveling as I began making friends that lived in the towns and cities I’d visited – I then wanted to go back and see them. I am slowly making peace with the fact that I won’t see the whole world in my life time, but I do have certain places that I reeeeeally want to see before I die. I just need to find people to do them with.

So, here we have it…

 

 

  1. Australia

This may seem weird seeing as I just gave up the opportunity to go and live there and experience it but just because my life direction has changed, doesn’t mean that I never want to visit. It just means I want to do it differently – give me good company, a car and a road trip. We can learn to surf, scuba dive off the great barrier reef, go swimming with sharks. IT’S WHAT DREAMS ARE MADE OF.

 

 

  1. Hong Kong

 

China as a whole I find pretty fascinating but the more I read about Hong Kong the more I want to visit. The view from Victoria Peak is worth the flight itself, no? Hiring a Junk Boat, visiting the markets and temples, go and see the Buddha. Oh, and TEA – how could you visit China and not have afternoon tea?

I want to hike the Dragon’s back – WHO’S COMING WITH ME?

Also, can we also high five me for not mentioning (until now) that there is a Disneyland there too.

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  1. Tokyo

 

I want to walk over the rainbow. As in the bridge that is shaped like one. I want to learn to make sushi from the masters (and eat my weight in it too). The markets, the bars, the fashion… what is not to love? An old friend visited Tokyo a few years back and since then I have wanted to visit. His stories combined with his photos… what a place! There may also be another Disneyland just outside Tokyo… what?

 

  1. Hawaii

This just looks the definition of paradise. In the words of every millennial I CAN’T EVEN. The obsession started when I watched Elvis in Paradise Hawaiian Style as a child – since then it’s always been on my list of places to visit. Of course there are multiple islands to visit and the things I’d like to do are dotted around the islands, the volcanoes park is a definite must, you can go out on a boat from Maui and humpback whale spot, Waimea Canyon looks like something out of someone’s imagination and not a real place that you can actually visit. Who wants to come with?

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  1. Amazon Rainforest

 

Most people, I think, associate the Amazon with Brazil because that is predominantly where it covers but you can also access it from Colombia, Peru and various other South American countries. Why do I want to visit the Amazon? It’s fascinating! 5.5 million-ish miles of rainforest, dating back at least 50 million years. Home to thousands of species of plants, animals and millions of insects… the list is endless. I mean, obviously I’d probably shit myself at the prospect of getting attacked by a jaguar or anaconda but I think the risk is worth it.

 

  1. Lapland, Finland

 

Because… SANTA. But also, I’d love to see the Northern Lights. I have been to Finland before as my friend lives in Helsinki but never to Lapland.

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  1. Auschwitz Concentration Camp, Poland

 

I realise this changes to tone of this list a lot but it is somewhere that I feel I need to see before I die. I cannot explain why, I just feel it inside me that I need to. Like most people I remember learning about the atrocities that took place in WWII thanks to Hitler and the actions of others. I remember reading Anne Frank’s diary as a young girl myself and watching a film adaptation when I was around 12 years and being so distraught at the scene where Anne is separated from her father that my mum had to turn the film off and calm me down. All this happened not even 50 years before I was born, something that I cannot understand, even now. I have visited Anne Frank haus in Amsterdam and cried my way around the National Holocaust Museum in Washington and now I want to visit Auschwitz.

 

  1. Vietnam

 

Their history is fascinating to me. A country that, 50 years ago, was in the midst of a war. They have come out the other side and are rebuilding their country on their terms. The differences in the north and south of the country, the landscapes, new species of animals that have been discovered in recent years; it all fascinates me. I can’t wait to one day discover it for myself.

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  1. Kenya

 

I need to go on an African safari in my lifetime. I need to. The idea of going almost brings me to (happy) tears. I would undoubtedly sob as I saw some of the most beautiful creatures in the world in the flesh – those I know that have been say that no number of David Attenborough documentaries can ever prepare you to see the animals in the flesh. It takes your breath away. I CAN’T WAIT. My reasons for choosing Kenya as the place to experience this is purely because of the research I have done into it – Kenya seems to be THE place.

 

  1. Machu Picchu, Peru

 

I do not know where my fascination with this place has come from. There is no specific time that I can recall it starting, I just know that for as long as I can remember I always wanted to visit it. That magical city above Peru. We can hike some of the Inca Trail, maybe take a train some of the way. It’s gotta happen.

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There is so much world to see.

“Travelling leaves you speechless and turns you into a storyteller”

 

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Feck it, it’s 2017

Date: 14/12/16

Time: 8:27am

Where I am : On a train somewhere between Southampton and Weymouth

What I’m listening to: The Overtones ‘You’ve lost that loving feeling’ and anything else that Lachie sings lead on because THAT VOICE (insert heart eye emoji)

 

 

 

Hullo to you my lovely reader. It’s been a while hasn’t it. I hope this finds you all well and full of festive cheer. Christmas time, as a lot of you know, is one of my favourite times of the year – or at least the build up to it. Christmas day is normally a bit of a let down – everyone eats and drinks until they hate themselves and then there is an argument over who cheated at Monopoly. This year though, I am not as in to it as normal and that may be because I have something bigger to focus on.

 

January 1st.

 

No no, not that ‘new year, new me’ tosh.

January 1st I’m leaving the homeland for adventures with no return date.

Solo.

Alone.

All by myself. (you have to sing that one)

 

 

Am I excited? Yes.

Am I crazy? Most definitely.

Am I scared? Hell yes, but as someone once told me – if your dreams don’t scare you, they aren’t big enough.

 

Doing the Australia work/travel thing is something that I have been talking/ dreaming about for 7 years now. Yep. SEVEN years. Almost a decade. It’s been 5 years since my old boss Mrs T (who currently resides there) told me to get my butt over there. “Give me a few years” I said… 5 years later…oops. There was always something in the way – there was the epic summer of ’13 in the States, then there was my sister’s wedding. Then I was petrified something would happen to my Grandad and I wouldn’t be here – October 2014 saw that horror realised. Then my sister got pregnant, my friend Amy got engaged and wanted me to write for the wedding and be in the wedding party… after that I ran out of excuses. They were all excuses too – the things I listed there (all bar the American Summer) would have happened regardless of me being in England or not. I could have gone and come back for those things but the truth is, I wasn’t brave enough to go. I was so used to relying on other people to keep me company, to take care of me and guide me that I would never have survived travelling alone. The loneliness would have killed me.

 

Now I figure, feck it. You can be lonely no matter where you are, so where better to be lonely than on a beach in Aus whilst topping up your vitamin D levels? Of course there is the possibility that I will not like it, I may find that the grass isn’t greener and home really is where the heart is. I’ve said for the last few years now, the more I travel the more I realise that London is the best city in the world – and it is right on my doorstep. Maybe I am silly for jumping ship across the world and leaving that behind. However, the beauty of the year 2017 is that I can come back whenever I want.

 

My visa is currently 6 months, with the option to stay on a work/travel visa in Aus for up to 2 years. The majority of my friends seem to think that I won’t come back – as my friend Amy put it “You’ll either hate it and be back within a week, or you’ll love it and we’ll never see you again”. It’s true, there rarely is grey area with me in anything I do. The idea that I may not come back probably goes someway to explaining why, when I talk to people, it feels like I’m dying “Oh I need to see you before you go!” “I can’t believe you’re not going to be here” and so on and so forth. I’m not dying people, I’m just going to see what the land down under has to offer for a wee while. Calm yourselves. Of course it’s nice people want to see me (I like being liked) but I don’t like a fuss and I feel that there is massive ‘fuss’ potential in this move, if that makes any sense? Probably not, I’ve had about 90 mins sleep in the last 24 hours so I apologise if it doesn’t make sense.

 

Truth be told I don’t know what is going to happen when I am away. I don’t know if I will love or hate it. I don’t have a plan on how long I will be there because of this. Maybe I’ll end up somewhere else. Who knows what could happen? So long as I am happy and healthy I’ll go wherever the wind takes me. The uncertainty is part of the adventure and, I may as well do it now because, why not? To quote the great philosopher Drake “YOLO”.

 

YOLO, that’s the motto.

 

xoxo

 

Micks

 

P.S if y’all have any recommendations for me of what to do/see in Aus then by all means let me know! I’d love to hear them.

 

 

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My bucket list

This blog originally appeared on my old blog site micksmusings.tumblr.com

Sitting at dinner with Dennis and little bean on Friday, Dennis and I were talking about our plans for the next while and I mentioned that I’m hoping my next adventure will be Peru and trekking the Inca Trail. I mentioned it was on my bucket list, to which Den replied “I’d like to read your bucket list, write it and put it on one of those ‘musing things’ you write. So here it it, and remember, if this is boring to you, you’ve only got Dennis to blame ; )

The term ‘Bucket List’ comes from the phrase ‘kicked the bucket’ so in normal words it means ‘the-things-I-wanna-do-before-I-die list’. They are normally associated with people who don’t have long left on earth, we hear through family, friends and the media of those who have been diagnosed with (very often) a terminal illness who decide to do all those things they always said they would do, these things become their bucket list. It becomes a race against the clock for those people to complete as much of their list as possible. The most recent example I can think of it Stephen Sutton, the lad was diagnosed with cancer aged 15 and then wrote a bucket list of 46 things he wanted to do before he lost his fight with the disease. One of the things he aimed to do was raise £1million for the Teenage Cancer Trust. Unfortunately, Stephen lost his fight in May, but not before he had raised over £3 million for the Teenage Cancer Trust (you can read more about the incredible Stephen here: www.stephensstory.co.uk )
I always wonder why does it take something like death and illness for us to sit and really think about those things that we want to do with our time?
We all know our time on earth is limited but we often take our tomorrows for granted. The average life expectancy in the UK according to the UN is 80 years old if you’re male, 83 if you’re female. When we are young, naive and impressionable becoming old and grey is the last thing on our minds (as it should be), we get caught up in day-to-day activities, lost in the rat race and before you know it you’re 75 and you never got any of those things you always wanted to do done. You never wrote that book, swam in that ocean, saw that band live, climbed that mountain. You were so caught up in making money for the machine, creating the life that you THOUGHT you should have, that everyone EXPECTED you to have, that you never got to live the life you always wanted, filled with adventure, silliness, creativity and imagination.
So, thanks to Dennis prompting me, I’ve got a list of 50 things I always wanted to do (some of them I’ve already done). I think you should do the same, I’d love to hear yours.

Xoxo Micks
Mick’s Bucket list: 2014

  1. Trek the Inca Trail
    2. Go on an African Safari
    3. Swim with Sharks
    4. Learn a new language
    5. Sky dive
    6. Road trip the USA (DONE: summer 2013)
    7. Sleep under the stars
    8. Complete a half marathon
    9. Meet a real, live penguin
    10. Attend a music festival (DONE: Glastonbury 2010, Wireless 2012 – I wanna do Benicassim next)
    11. Volunteer on a project close to my heart
    12. Have Breakfast at Tiffany’s (DONE 2013)
    13. Celebrate Holi festival in India
    14. Visit the birthplace of The Beatles (DONE 2011/2013)
    15. Sleigh ride through the snow with huskies
    16. Toboggan down the Great Wall of China
    17. Visit the Tiger Temple in Thailand
    18. Ride an Elephant
    19. Go to an airport and get on the next plane outta there, no matter where it’s going
    20. Go on a ‘girls’ holiday. ‘Beeeeefa! Get in. Let’s get fuckin’ mortal!
    21. Donate blood
    22. Fly in a helicopter
    23. Take a gondola ride in Venice (DONE: July 2009)
    24: Visit Auschwitz
    25. See a show on Broadway – preferably West Side Story which is my fave
    26. See Ringo Starr and/or Paul McCartney in concert
    27. Learn to surf
    28. Find a career that makes me happy
    29. Visit the Amazon Rainforest
    30. Fly a kite on a beach
    31. Spend Christmas abroad – preferably somewhere like NYC
    32. Travel abroad alone – at least once
    33. Visit NASA! – I’m not actually sure if that’s allowed
    34. Throw a drink in someone’s face – just because!
    35. Get a tattoo for my bro (DONE 2013) RIP Martin ❤️
    36. Learn to fly a plane : ) be afraid, people!
    37. Go to an outdoor cinema (DONE, thanks to Rachpal. 2014)
    38. Toast marshmallows on a campfire (DONE, Cape Cod 2013. We weren’t camping but it was a campfire, so it does count. It does!)
    39. Genuinely surprise someone. Genuinely. Like a proper “OH MY GOD” surprise
    40. Get my palms read
    41. Chase a tornado/experience a tornado – no I don’t have a death wish, they just fascinate me. I blame my mother.
    42. Attend a ‘Murder Mystery’ party – such fun!
    43. Visit Old Trafford
    44. Complete a colour run
    45. Own my own home, complete with vegetable garden : )
    46. Visit Paris at Christmas (DONE, 2012 I think it was…)
    47. Go to the Opera
    48. Go to the Ballet
    49. Make a wish at the Trevi Fountain
    50. Find my forever person