On London; or How I Nearly Missed My Bus to Holland.

My arrival in London heralded a number of changes. Tuk-tuks and tramadol were swapped for the tube and pints of warm larger; bottled water and roadside pad thai traded for solid English fare and drinking the shower water. The Asian humidity gave way to crisp English wind and I braved it alone, the solidarity of good friends exchanged for the independence of flying solo.

Heathrow was quieter than I expected and customs was thankfully uneventful. I lugged my pack down to the tube, following in the footsteps of a million antipodeans before me.  I had directions to my cousin’s house: take the Piccadily Underground to South Kensington, get a bus from the road to Clapham Junction (345 or 49), head up the hill past the KFC and the big ASDA supermarket then take the first left.

Piece of cake, right?

On the tube I lose my ticket. A forgiving employee lets me out; his brief chastisement is far preferable to the cost of another ride. Once I find the right stop the bus is straightforward and it isn’t long before I am hesitantly knocking on the door of a bricked Lavender Hill flat.

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On Beginnings; or A Mission Statement of Sorts.

So. Here we are. This is a project that I have meant to start for a long time now; a wee social experiment, with myself as the subject. I’m not aiming too high, and hope to avoid a lot of the indulgent self-infatuated pandering that flies across cyberspace on a daily basis. My goal is simpler than that of the blogging narcissist, but it is certainly not a unique one.

What is the appeal in taking your private moments, your special anecdotes and perspectives, and casting them adrift in the vast sea of the internet?

Anonymous blogs provide a unique opportunity for self-reflection. They seem to sit at an intersection between the honesty produced through anonymity, and the clarity of thought demanded by a discerning global audience. This creates an environment that helps to facilitate the truthful reflection that is normally only accorded in private. But it is more than this. The pressure of knowing that someone will read your work, even if you do not know them and they not know you, creates a demand for quality that raises the stakes beyond that of the humble journal.

The shift from private recollections to published perspectives has made a happy bedfellow with narcissism, and much of the moaning about the pointlessness of social media reflects this. But while the mechanisms of the internet have been sufficient to produce these outcomes they are by no means predetermined.

What is the role of the writer? Social commentary, to record and reflect, reason and treason, to question the nature of reality and reveal profound truths about human nature and all our deviations. Or something. You get the gist, right?

So long story short here I am, testing the solidarity that the internet promises those claiming honest insights. Practicing my writing while travelling and living – being a wanyasi. Here goes nothing.