I can’t reblog at the moment, so you’ll just have to pop over to Yoga Bum yourselves to check out what I’m up to (and to find out why!). Sorry about that.
Keep checking in for new posts. They should go up about once a week.
I can’t reblog at the moment, so you’ll just have to pop over to Yoga Bum yourselves to check out what I’m up to (and to find out why!). Sorry about that.
Keep checking in for new posts. They should go up about once a week.
16 days to go, and its all starting to feel a bit more real now.
I’m starting to book things. Flights to and from Munich. Shuttle transfer to the Ashram in Austria (crazy to fly to Germany to get to Austria, but there you go!). I’ve got a guy getting together a cost/itinerary for me for the round the world leg of the trip. I couldn’t give him all the details, as I don’t know them myself, but I gave him what I’ve got so far… (which is this)
Everything up to the 26th of November is booked. Everything from then until the start of next year is planned, but not booked. And after the new year who knows? It’s all still a bit up in the air!
There’s a lot to think about when it comes to a trip like this. I mean you’ve got the obvious stuff – flights, accommodation, trips, etc. – but there’s plenty of other bits and bobs that are just as important but don’t spring immediately to mind.
Like getting online.
“Ha,” I hear you say, “Internet cafes!”
Well, yes, you’re right. But what I mean is the logistics of maintaining an online presence, like a blog, without carting around a laptop or external hard drive everywhere you go. I’ve been looking into it and the answer is simple… The Cloud.
Online data storage is the way to go (just ’til you get back home anyway). I’ve already got a Dropbox account (3GB of free storage). Now that might be enough to keep me going, but I plan on taking a lot of pictures, so what else? Well, Flickr not withstanding (I’ll be uploading to there as usual, but I’m talking back-ups here), did you know you get 7GB of free online storage with Hotmail’s SkyDrive feature.
That’s right, sign up for a free e-mail account and get 7GB of online storage FREE! And even better, it’s backed up Microsoft Office, so if you store documents on there you can update them online, no muss, no fuss. I’ve already put some stuff on there to help me log in to my many online accounts that my computer automatically logs into at home (as I’ve forgotten all the passwords, lol). In fact I spent a good few hours the other day checking and changing all my logins just so I’d know what they all were.
I’ll also be storing flight and travel information on there too, as well as scans of my passport, visas, etc. just in case they go awol. No more crumpled, damp, degrading photocopies in the bottom of your backpack (though I’ll have those with me too) now everything you need can be backed up online and kept handy. I’m telling you, The Cloud is an absolute God-send.
But that’s just one aspect of it all. What about before I go away?
The past few weeks I’ve been eyeing up everything in my flat deciding what I need, what gets packed, and what goes in the bin. Most of it’s fairly straight forward. But then I thought the other day, what about the food?
I mean perishables, ok, they get eaten or go in the bin. But is it ok to pack and store spices? Or do storage companies frown on that? Will I have to get loads of sealed plastic containers to put them in? And will that work? I’m telling you, it’s the details that do your head in. All I know is, I’m not giving up my spices without a fight!
And your plants. Who gets your plants? What do you do with your bike, leave it down here or take it with your car up to your brother’s place? There’s just so much to consider.
Actually, I’m being a bit of a drama queen, lol. I’ve got it more or less figures out. Car, bike and computer go ‘oop norf’. Everything packable that’s not junk goes into storage. Everything in storage that’s not furniture goes in boxes, so if I’m overseas and I have to arrange to get it all moved and shipped it’s good to go. Likewise the car papers go with the car, so if I decide not to come back it’s all there ready to be sold.
Yup, you heard me, I might not come back!
I don’t know where all this is going to lead, but chances are once I leave London I won’t come back to live here again. And once I leave the UK, provided there’s things I want to do, I might not come back here to live again either. Anything could happen, so that’s what I’m planning for; anything and everything.
And finally, as a little aside, I’ve started another blog to detail my travels. It’s called the Yoga Bum but don’t go rushing over there just yet as it’s pretty empty (though if you’re interested you can go check out What a Yoga Bum is?).
And in fact it’s existence shouldn’t make any difference to you guys over here, as I’ll be re-posting anything I put on there here on My Brand New Life. It’s just a little yoga/travel based thing for the more ‘yogic’ (ie: innocent) of my friends to keep up with what I’m doing. And whereas there I have to be all polite and on topic, here I can write about all that and still post random stuff I find off t’inernet, come up with new recipes for you to try, post silly pics of silly things, cheeky vids of naughty things, and get away with saying words like ‘bollocks’ and ‘shlong’ and ‘boobs’.
So you guys are getting the best of both worlds! How lucky are you?
So it’s probably time for an update on the big plan to change my life.
I’ve heard back from Austria and, all being well, I should be fine for staying on there after my TTC (Teacher Training Course). I’ve sent the application anyway, so now it’s just a question of seeing how both sides feel during the TTC. I want to stay for 8 weeks, doing 8 hours of karma yoga (work) a day. That shouldn’t change, I don’t anticipate any problems, but you never know. I’ll be booking my flight back for the 25th of November anyway.
After that I’m going to start making my way round the world. I think maybe 3 weeks in California (San Francisco), with one of those weeks on silent meditative retreat at a cabin in the woods.
Then it’s off to Oz on about the 19th/20th December to spend Christmas at my boyo’s place near Perth. Stick around there until the new year, then head east. See some friends, chill out a bit, find some retreat to go to. 2013 is where the plan gets ultra vague.
I’m not getting too stressed about organising the after Austria part of the plan. That’s just stuff I can book, so there’s nothing needs doing on that apart from laying down the cash. I might not even book it until I come back from Austria. In fact I won’t unless there’s significant savings to be had. That’s something I need to check out this week.
Been delayed in my planning because of work. On the last of my night shifts this week and, man, is it tiring! I mean they were hard enough before, but now I know I’m leaving I can barely keep my eyes open. I just want them over with.
Got just two more to do, then 2 weeks of mid shifts (7 shifts, 11am-11pm), and that’s me done. I finish on the 23rd of August, which gives me 1 week to pack, move, dispose of my car oop norf, before jetting off to the Alps for 3 months. Crazy huh? Been planning this Brand New Life for ages and now it’s finally happening!
I don’t know what the future will bring (who does) but I look forward to finding out. Just 27 days to go and the adventure begins! Wish me luck.
Don’t take any of these too seriously, but at the same time marvel at their accuracy!
“Wanna see where I can put my leg?”
“Oh my God, they have vegan doughnuts!”
“Yup, it’s definitely raining.”
Well, the pigeons got their revenge!
After my accidental obliteration of one of their brethren a bunch of them got together and decided it’d be a good idea to sh*t all over the hood of my car. Not a problem you might think, just get the car washed. But no! Pigeon poop is like acid. Take that, plus one of the hottest days of the year so far, and you get a lot of dropping shaped damage to your paintwork. I’m hoping T-Cut will be able to sort it out, but if not we’re looking at a re-spray.
Talk about instant karma (not that there should have been any. I didn’t kill the pigeon deliberately).
Had a few Olympic moments this past week, from seeing the torch come over Kew Bridge,
to weird adverts in foreign languages appearing on the side of double decker buses,
to seeing the opening ceremony on Friday night.
My quick capsule review: not as bad as I thought it was going to be. Yes a lot of silly English in jokes, but done well I reckon. Got a bit confusing in places, like when the Arctic Monkeys showed up after the parade of athletes, but all in all hats off to Danny Boyle for producing something pretty decent. It was a lot better than Slumdog Millionaire anyway.
Still no major changes to my plans yet. I keep striking out on finding places to go do some volunteer work. Looks like I’m going to have to cast a wider net. Still waiting to hear from the TTC in Austria, see if I can stay on there after the course, help out for a bit; and if not I might try France, see if they need anybody.
I can’t believe I’m having such a hard time giving my time away. I’m willing to work for free, full time. Who wouldn’t want a piece of that? Yes I’ve had one or two offers of places if I’m willing to pay, but that doesn’t work for me. If I’m paying (and it’s not a course) I want a holiday. If I’m working I’m worth the board and lodging, and I’m not paying for the privilege. Simple really.
It’ll all work out eventually. Whatever happens in life, you always end up doing something. And you know the bit I’m looking forward to the most? Putting all my stuff in storage. I can’t wait to divest myself of all this clutter and just travel light for a while. It’s gonna be a blast!
Ok, so I wasn’t going to blog about what I’m up to until I’d sorted myself out, but then I realised that I’m never going to sort myself out properly (if I haven’t in 38 years I’m unlikely to do it in a few weeks now am I!) so I may as well get down to it. Here’s where I’ve got to so far.
First up, I handed my notice in at work last week. Was a bit of an anti-climax if I’m honest. Maybe it’s because my trip is still 2 months away, maybe it’s because my leaving was the worst kept secret in the whole department, but there was no drama to the whole thing. Just a feeling of steady inevitability. Who knows, maybe I’m maturing (unlikely, lol). Anyway, I guess I shouldn’t complain. I’m sure there’ll be plenty of dramas along the way before the year is out.
So I finish work at the end of August. I’ve told the landlord that I’m moving out. Just need to sort out storage of all my stuff, and the ending of all contracts/services/etc., and I’m good to go. The TTC is booked for September. No flights booked yet, that’s next on the agenda, but I can’t do that until I know what I’m doing after Austria.
The ashram in Canada is proving most elusive. I’ve tried e-mailing (no response) and I’ve tried calling, but the woman I spoke to was new and so completely unable to help me. I was getting frustrated, but then I thought maybe there’s a reason for it. Maybe I’m not meant to go to the ashram. And do I want to anyway, stuck in the Laurentian Mountains during a Canadian winter? So I’ve changed tack slightly. Just e-mailed the Sivananda yoga centre in Toronto to see if they need someone for 8 weeks starting in October. Just waiting to see what they say now.
Still plan on hitting Oz in December. Not sure the dates yet, but I’ll start off in the east, heading west towards the end of the month to spend Christmas at my boyo’s place. After that I might end up back near Sydney, I don’t know yet. 2013 is where the plan gets a bit wooly.
So that’s where I’ve got to so far. Not a lot of movement since last time, but still a general push in the right direction. It’s just the post TTC stuff I need to get sorted. Once that’s in place everything else will soon come. Also, there’s still room for a few surprises here and there (I have one of two ideas) but I’m keeping them under my hat for now.
Until next time…
You’ve got to celebrate your achievements, whatever they may be. Big, small, it doesn’t matter. Enjoy what you do and you’ll always be happy.
I did my first scorpion today. For those that don’t know, it looks a little something like this.
Of course my scorpion was far less impressive and a damn site shakier than the one pictured above, and I needed a little help in getting there, but I did it, I held it, and I’m pretty damn pleased with myself (not to mention a little surprised, lol).
Of course my little achievement is nowhere near as impressive as these guys,
but so what? I did it, I’m happy, and that’s all I care about.
PS: How ridiculous is that shot?!?
Right! Regular readers out there will know I’m well past due an updated on my life changing plans and blah blah blah. Well, let’s see shall we?
As I think I mentioned previously work have decided to turn down my sabbatical request. It seems that spiritual development, charity work, and visiting family overseas is insufficient reason to give someone time off. That, or they think I do a shit job and will be glad to see the back of me. Either way, see the back of me they will. If they don’t give enough of a damn to want to retain me services I’d be a damn fool to stay there, wouldn’t I.
So I’m gonna book the yoga teacher training course in Austria in September, which will cost about £2000. Quite a hunk of dough, but I can afford it. For one thing, I’ll be moving out of my flat at the end of August, and putting all my stuff into storage, so that’ll save me £5-600 quid.
It’s been a cosy place to live, cheap, warm, free from aggro, and it’s meant I could save a lot of money up to go do stuff with. But it’s also quite small, and a bit damp, and it needs decorating, and there’s crazy neighbours, and mice, and all that kind of things. So I may as well take the opportunity of being away for a month to make a move, and hopefully end up with something better (with more than one room, lol).
Basically, though a big part of me feels sad at having to say goodbye, this place has been good to me, it’s time to move on I reckon. Otherwise I’ll turn round one day to find myself a forty-something bachelor living in rented accommodation with no view and a kitchen where half your stuff ends up on the floor coz there’s nowhere to put it all.
And that’s the other reason I’ve got to jack in the job and get out in the world again too, wimmin! Shift work is not conducive to finding, starting, or having a relationship. You’re off when everyone else is working, asleep when everyone else is awake, and even your friends don’t call as much as they used to because you’ve had to say no one too many times.
So for my own sanity, my own future, and for the warmth of my own bed, I need to make a change.
Hmm… kind of feels like I’ve gone a bit off topic there, so let’s recap.
Jack in the job end of August. Go do TTC in Austria. October/November I want to spend in an ashram practicing yoga/meditation/etc. Then off to Oz for a month or so in December, to just travel and have a bit of a holiday. And then after that, who knows?
I have got this idea brewing that I’ll spend a year writing. I’m not sure where yet, but it’d be between my 39th and 40th birthdays (8th of February 2013/2014 respectively). I’d bookend it with riding an elephant and seeing the northern lights, the two things I want to do most in the world. I just think that, if I really want to write, I should have a good go at it, see if I’ve got what it takes. I mean, I know I can write! But can I get published?
So that’s where we are at the moment. Still a little vague I know, but there should be some clarification in the coming weeks. A friend of mine is a life coach, and we’re going to do a little exchange of services. In return for my teaching her some Tai Chi she’s going to do some exercises with me to help me understand what I do and don’t want to do. Hopefully once that’s happened I’ll have some more news for y’awl.
It’s all very exciting, and a little nerve wracking too. But aren’t the best things always that way a little? Butterflies in your stomach as you approach the girl at the bar. Packing your things to move somewhere new, not knowing how things will be when you get there. It can be difficult stepping out of your comfort zone, giving up the apparent safety you’ve built up around yourself. But if you only do what you’ve always done, you’ll only have what you’ve already got; and I don’t know about the rest of you, but there’s only so many nights I can sit at home eating chips and watching DVDs before I start to wonder if I’m wasting my life? (top tip: the answer is… yes!)
Start as you mean to go on they say. I started 2012 by sleeping til gone noon, then lazing about the flat playing online games and watching movies. So, a lot like 2011 then, lol.
Ok, technically I started 2012 at the Sivananda Yoga Centre enjoying their new years eve celebrations. I went along early, did some cooking, some cleaning, a yoga class, then stayed for the puja, meal, and chanting for world peace into the new year.
It was a lovely evening, made all the more lovely by the company of good friends, the fine food, and just the all round happiness and positivity of the occasion. I’m really glad I went as it was an excellent start to the year, a year that hopefully holds a great deal of change for little ol’ me.
If all goes as planned, by this time next year I’ll be a trained yoga teacher with some experience, I’ll have visited Austria, Canada and Australia, and I’ll be contemplating a trip to Thailand to ride an elephant before heading back to Europe to see the northern lights. Then… well, who knows?
Of course, as they say, if you want to make God laugh tell her your plans. But still, you’ve got to give it a go because the alternative (same ol’ same ol’, day in, day out) just doesn’t bear thinking about does it.
I’ve made just 2 resolutions to kick off the new year. First is to meditate every day. That is the one area where I need most work. I want to do just half an hour a day. If I can manage to do that for 366 days (it’s a leap year this year, remember) I will consider it a significant victory.
My second is just for a month, but it’s to cook everything from scratch, and to not eat ready made overly processed foods all the time. I mean I don’t do too badly, but every day there’s a hash brown or Linda McCartney sausage in there somewhere (usually at the same time – oh Full English, how I love thee!). I’m going to make all my food myself for a while, thereby avoiding nasty stuff, convenience eating, and taking sandwiches to work every day.
Apart from all that my ongoing plans still revolve around writing, vegan cooking, and going out and having fun. Expect some developments on each one of these very soon!
And so there you go, that’s it from me for now. Actually, I think that’s enough to be going on with, don’t you? Happy New Year everyone. I hope you have a great and wonderful 2012!
Om Namah Shivaya.
Ok; so, as I mentioned in my report last week, while I was on the residential course at the Sivananda Centre I had a bit of a head coldy thing going on. Nothing major, just a sore throat, bit of a headache now and then, the odd cough and sneeze. I didn’t give it much credence. Now it seems that that has developed into something a bit more unnerving.
I had a yoga class last Wednesday. As I came up from the standing forward bend, the very last move we did, I felt a little light headed. ‘Came up a little too fast there’ I thought, ‘Better lie down quick.’ So I did and everything seemed fine.
We did final relaxation, all was well, but when I sat up do do the end chant the room suddenly started spinning violently. I had to lie down again for fear of falling over! It was like a severe attack of vertigo and it scared the life out of me.
It took several minutes for the feeling to abate, and even then I still felt a little dizzy and sick. I managed to make it downstairs and into the tearoom, at which point I had to sit for another half an hour until I felt properly settled again.
I eventually made it home, still not feeling 100%, but thinking that a good night’s sleep would sort me out. How wrong I was.
I awoke the next morning, all seemed fine. Then I turned my head, just turned my head, from one side to the other, and all of a sudden the room started spinning violently once again. I immediately fought the rising panic, turned my head back until it all calmed down again, got out of bed, and promptly called the doctor for an emergency appointment.
It was a long, uneasy wait waiting to see the doctor. I felt very unstable just sitting there. Once in the consulting room I told her everything, and when I got to the bit about having a bit of a head cold last week she said “Ah, now we are getting to it.”
Turns out that I have a viral ear infection, caused by last week’s illness. This has created an imbalance in the fluids in my inner ear, the effect of which is very much like the disease Labyrinthitis (though she didn’t think I actually had the disease thank God!). Unfortunately there’s nothing you can do about it. You just have to wait for the body to reabsorb the excess fluid and then everything should balance itself out.
She reckoned a few days, but here we are three days later and the symptoms are still here. I’m taking it easy, so I don’t know if they’re less than they were before. The worst is still when I wake up and turn my head. I don’t think the reaction is as violent as it was, but still it ain’t fun. I just hope this thing doesn’t settle in and become permanent, as I can imagine how debilitating it would be to go through life like this.
What’s especially annoying about this is, after a week of intense yoga and meditation, I have to suspend my practice until I get better. No way can I do any yoga, just turning my head too fast makes me dizzy, and meditation is out of the question as balancing with my eyes closed whilst sitting is very swayey at best.
But, that’s how it goes sometimes I suppose. Sometimes you just can’t make any progress at all. That’s when it’s time to take a leaf out of Sun Tzu’s book and just stay still, waiting patiently until you can advance once more.
ps: I haven’t even mentioned the dead arm I woke up with last week! Another very scary incident. I wasn’t even sleeping on it. I just woke up with this weird feeling and found that my right arm was completely lifeless. Not numb, not tingling, just dead. I don’t mind admitting I completely panicked (not helped by the fact that I was coming out of a very bad dream). After a minute or so of rubbing the life came back to it but for that minute I had to work hard to stem the rising fear in my head. It was not a pleasant experience let me tell you.
I’ve never really felt my mortality much before, even when I was in hospital. But lately, with all the stuff that’s been happening, I’m facing up to the fact that this body won’t last, no matter what I do to keep it healthy. It’s going to die, we’re all going to die; the question is, what are we going to do in the meantime?