Tuesday, 1 December 2015

No regrets

This trip is about a few things for me...Most of which are only now starting to become  clearer (even in my current state with a bunged up head from my cold). The actual reason I packed my bags and booked myself on a one way ticket to a fairly remote and difficult location is quite a personal one (not something I'm entirely comfortable sharing just yet). My home life had not been going well for quite some time, and when work got really crazy, it had a nasty impact on the fragile situation. I decided I just had to get away from it all in order to work out what I really want out of my one life. One life - that.is.all.we.get. There are no do-overs, just regrets if we don't take action now. I'd put off making the decision to abandon a normal life for various reasons. Mainly I was worried about the impact it would have on my career and the fact that people might think I was going through some kind of mid-life crisis or just running away from a precarious situation. I'd already booked 10 days off work to go and do part of the Coastal route of the Camino in Northern Spain by myself. This was my attempt to clear my head of all distraction (something I find hiking allows my brain to do). But I think at that point I had already had enough, and after a lot of sleepless nights, I decided to quit my job of 5 years. It was not an easy decision, and although at the time I was unsure I'd made the right choice, looking back on it now, I have no regrets. And that's just 17 days into my trip! 

Now that I'm here, it has become evident that I'd lost a bit of compassion and tolerance. Not something that I really noticed back in London, as I was probably too busy planning the next day at work, putting out fires at the office, making time for the gym and generally running around trying to fit it all in and have a social life. I think the real problem (which we have all probably found at some point) is that I get so sucked into the petty issues which seem so big to me at the time. It's probably because I'm standing so close to these issues that they seem so gigantic. These "problems" seem to take over my life and they are often all I think about. Now that I'm far away from all the "drama" it doesn't seem so important anymore. There are far bigger problems out here for example, things we take so for granted. I know I've already mentioned it in my earlier post, but seriously, electricity and fuel are just things you expect back home in a first world country. Here, you're lucky if you can get a hot shower with a little bit of lighting, and extremely lucky if you leave your room in the morning with a fully charged phone. 

Which I suppose leads me nicely on to my next challenge out here. I'm way too reliant on social media and being able to get a quick fix of updates and news from home. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm all for modern technology and don't dispute it's benefits. I'm a massive fan of Instagram and love posting photos so friends and family can see I'm doing ok. But.... If I really want to grow from this experience I need to cut back a little and try to experience the here and now. There's this advert on TV here talking about how we have become a society of checkers and we end up missing the one moment we're living in to check all the other moments that others are experiencing. It's time to start being a little more selfish with my moments and make them my own. 

Friday, 27 November 2015

What a difference a couple of weeks makes...

It's been almost 2 weeks since I left London, and boy, have I been through a whole host of emotions! I struggled just to get going from London, but here I am now, coping. And feeling pretty calm and happy about things, despite the fact that I still check I have my passport about once an hour!

My first few days in Nepal were a real culture shock. Roads were crazy busy with wild drivers, and there was just so much dust (I now know why people wear those masks and I am really close to getting one myself)!  Plus the toilets, oh the toilets, OMG... I just wanted to cry (I say that trying to sound as unpretentious as I possibly can). I felt so isolated, being away from everything and everyone so familiar to me. I really regretted my decision to do this whole solo travelling thing, but I knew that I couldn't go home after just a couple of days. I'd end up hating myself if I gave up now.

So, I ploughed on, thinking that I'd at least give the volunteering a go and see if that helped. Well, honestly, that was even more of a shock to the system. The orphanage was more of a refugee-camp looking building. Not somewhere that I thought children could live. The toilet situation scared me to the point where I thought I'd just hold it in for a few days. And the room I shared in the village with 2 young girls seemed a little odd with no running water or toilet.

Then, I don't know how it happened, but I think that seeing how the sweet little children got on with things at the orphanage without complaining or whining, made me suck it up and start appreciating the things we take for granted back home, like electricity, gas and running water. Eventually I got used to the toilets, power cuts and lack of showers. It wasn't so bad. I spent my mornings doing the girls' hair, sweeping, washing the kids' clothes, and preparing food. We spent evenings in the children's bedrooms, wrapped in fleeces, jumpers and beanies, dancing to music and finishing up homework by head torch/phone light. No one complained, not even me.  In fact, I realised more than a couple of times, that I was actually really happy.

I think that's something I've learnt... What seems difficult or impossible right now will become easier over time. As humans, we are extremely adaptable, and really can deal with so much, way more than we think. My advice to anyone going through a challenging time, is give it a while. It will get better.