Perspective

On Saturdays I work at a really busy pub that has a late licence, mainly to get an extra bit of cash in my pocket so I don’t have to worry as much about finding work quickly whenever I’m in a new country. This Saturday was just as manic as it normally is, but on that day I got a little perspective on life that I have been missing recently.

There was a young girl who looked a little bit merry and had a huge ’18th birthday’ sash on. We have a deal at our pub that if you can prove it is your birthday in that week we give you either 4 pints of beer or a bottle of champagne for free. So when I told her this she got excited and whipped out her ID and I went to the fridge to grab a bottle.

I took the wire caging bit off the cork that protects the bottle as I have done hundreds of times before and then walked towards the girls so I could carefully ‘pop’ the bottle in front of them. Then one of the staff asked me a question about someone else paying by card as I was walking away.

This jolt must have slightly shook the bottle, as the cork popped right out of the bottle and hit the ceiling with such force that it made everyone stop what they were doing and stare in shock for a second or two before carrying on with their night. The cork shot straight up and as I was holding the bottle in front of me at about waist height, missed my nose by less an inch. I actually felt the wind as it fizzed right past me…

The shock of what had just happened started to sink in. I’m not a mathematician or a doctor so I don’t know if the force of a cork hitting me in the nose at the right angle forcing it upwards would have caused serious damage or not. At best it would have given me a very sore nose for the next few days. At worst, well, I don’t really want to think about it…

Point being I have been unsettled for well over a year, trying to figure out where I can call home has been a huge weight on my shoulders, coupled with the fact I’m struggling to get back into the right frame of mind to write more books. Together it has caused so much stress that when I came back to England I literally found it difficult to converse in my own language, which of course made any natural anxiety I was feeling even worse. However in that very moment if that cork hit me at the perfect angle with enough force it could have killed me just like that, and I realised that all my stresses I have had are ultimately pointless. We are here to live life and enjoy it, not to stress and worry about things. Because who knows, today could be your last day. Just because you are planning for the future doesn’t mean you are going to see it…

I once asked myself over a year ago that if I died tomorrow would I be happy with the way my life went. Luckily for me I have had an admittedly brilliant life and met some incredible people along the way, but the first thing I thought was “I wish I’d travelled more…”

So yeah, it’s a pain I’m not being as productive in terms of writing books, but even if I never write another book again I have still written six, and that’s pretty fucking cool. If I do write another book again it’ll be when the time is right, not in a forced way just to try and prove to myself that I have ‘still got it’. Maybe I don’t, but who fucking cares?!? There’s a whole world out there to explore and it’s time for me to stop feeling guilty over things I can’t control and start being me again…

Cambridge, England

I’ve always said that this year I wanted to see more of my own country, as England is such a beautiful country that is rich in history but so many people seem to forget that. It’s understandable really; no one ever notices the beauty of their hometown as it’s just ‘normal’ to them, so since I’ve been back I wanted to make a point of seeing more places in England, and the rest of the UK if possible, before I go off to whatever random country is willing to let me in…

Like most people though I lost sight of why I was here in the first place, and decided to work as much as possible with very few days off until I thought to myself, “What am I doing…?” and when I had a day off the only thing on my mind was to rest up ready for my next battle with work. Then my sister suggested to me I should go somewhere for the day. I took the hint and had a look which places I could get to by train, and Cambridge turned out to be the simplest choice.

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I spent the train journey trying as hard as I could to think of a book cover for my 5th book (I want to get that one out now. I think once it’s out it may motivate me to carry on writing my other book(s) ) . I came up with a couple that I need to discuss with my Illustrator when she’s not as busy as she is right now, and the rest of the journey resulted on me losing consciousness, as I had been struggling to get some sleep over the last week or so.

Cambridge needs no introduction really; it’s the home of one of the top Universities in Europe and its history alone will make you marvel at the place instead of whacking out your phone and playing Pokemon go (unless you find a Dugtrio on the cobbled streets, then I’ll understand…) so as I walked to the town centre I spent my time looking up and generally doing touristy things until I found the town centre which itself was quite charming.

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On my expedition to find a McDonalds (squeeze every penny…) I stumbled across a Thai restaurant and thought it would be quite nice to feel like I was back in Thailand and meet some students who were from there. Unfortunately the staff were all English (I know, I’m so racist…) and the food was massively overpriced. After being ignored for five minutes I put the menu back, left the restaurant and headed for the main square which had street performers and some street stalls selling things from all over the world.

Funnily enough in this square I found a food cart selling Thai food. Not only were all the staff Thai, all the customers were Thai as well, which suggested to me it going to be ‘ahaan Thai’ (Thai style cooking) and not the English version. So I bowled it over there and ordered my food in Thai. The bloke looked incredibly shocked and couldn’t cope, because instead of replying to me in Thai he would reply in broken English, even though I didn’t speak English the whole time I was there.

The food wasn’t world class by any means, but it was cheap, it filled a hole and it satisfied my cravings for the time being. I then spend another hour walking around the town before hopping on the train, interacting with strangers Borat style and heading home.

GREAT SUCCESS! I need to do this more often before I leave. I should definitely take advantage of the fact I’m in a new county and can afford to save for the time being before travelling starts to eat away at my savings again.