You who are passing by

“You who are passing by, I beg you, do something. Learn a dance step, something to justify your existence, something that gives you the right to be dressed in your skin in your body hair. Learn to walk and to laugh, because it would be too senseless after all, for so many to have died while you to live, doing nothing for your life.”
– Auschwitz survivor Charlotte Delbo

Five Years

Is it just me or does everyone hit a point in their lives where they think about where they are in life and how a lot of it, or certain aspects of it are not aligned with their goals and dreams they had in their minds.

Sometimes, even the thought of this reminds me of what sounds quite funny at first at the humble age of 26, but on a serious note, a midlife crisis. But what if this crisis is actually a representation of a modern crisis, one where it is a by-product of a generation that has been raised in the most globally connected, wealthy and “free” time in the history of mankind. We have something that our predesesors didn’t have until they were in their late thirties and that is more knowledge, more freedom and more choices. These choices whenever abundant can give rise to doubt; the what if’s that run through our minds when given options and we choose one over another.

The real big question is how does any of us know they’ve made the right choice? Some might tell you to follow your instincts, others base their decisions on the judgements of their close family and friends and furthermore others would use pure logic and reasoning to judge the right move. Risk over reward, right? Well, everyone has their own take on this and the truth is, no one really has the right answer.

All I know is that for me personally, I am at a crossroad, a point where I’ve still the freedom to change the direction in my life. Maybe that’s one we can all take away though, maybe at any given “present” moment, we can make that change. But for now, I am reaching what people call the 5-year mark, or the 5-year rule; it marks when you have been at a company or role for that amount of time and it’s a good time to change companies, go for that payrise or what I think is becoming more and more relevant in today’s age, change careers.

It was only years ago where we would say that job stability or dare I say life stability came from the amount of years you were employed for in a company. In fact, it’s quite likely we get that from our older colleagues of whom we work with; 10 years, 15 years, 25 years, 30 years! They’re incredibly proud of it and to me, that is one hell of an achievement because I can’t see further than 6 months into my future let alone 10 years!

Times have changed and they’ve changed so rapidly at that, I struggle to believe that staying in one company, in one role, being the “master of one” instead of the “jack of all trades” will be enough to survive in this modern world. This is not because it is not important to be a master, it is because it is increasingly becomming tougher to be a master of any trade. The knowledge that a master holds is becoming increasingly easier to access, you can see that with not just the immensity of the global knowledge held on the internet but the expert driven courses which can be found at your fingertips. Anyone can be an expert in a field so long as they put in the effort and significantly less time than 30 years. But even then, it is not those singular experts that truly move the world and make a difference, I believe it is those whom can bring expertise from a number of fields into one that can make the real change in the world.

So let’s say, we follow the 5-year rule, but the modern one. In 30 year’s you would of had 6 different careers, all spanning a wide range of interests, hobbies, dreams, goals and passions. Maybe one or two of them you really enjoyed and stayed on for longer, and maybe those in which you did not enjoy so much you stayed less.

Now I propose the most important question, one for the readers to think about, who has more expertise after 30 years? Who is more likely to have followed his or her dreams, achieved greater heights and will live to tell more stories?

It’s still a tough question, one that we all still have our own opinions on, but maybe this time after reading this, with just that tiny bit more clarity.

Thanks for reading my friends, I guess this one was more for me at this point of time in my life. It hasn’t come across because I don’t enjoy my work or I think there’s something better out there for me; it’s more the side of me that seeks to learn more about the world, the undying curiosity and adventure that I seek. Is one life too short to be spending 80% of your time on one thing? I would always, always, always say yes.

Feature image – Represents how slow we should be living life in retrospect to how fast it feels; this was during my wanderings on a little island national park at Yeosu-si, Jeollanam-do, South Korea taken on the 30th August 2017

When Friends Ask – London

In this post, I introduce two sections to help you run around this city and make the most of it! The first shows you things you the things you must do as a traveler here and the second is a list of my own little discoveries I’ve made over the time I’ve been here.

At this point of time when more and more of my friends are travelling abroad, one of the big destinations is through Europe so in doing so, and knowing I’m living in this big bad city, they ask me about where’s the go-to, what’s the must sees and where are the must go’s. So here’s what I think from first glance, from my first few months of living in this beautiful city, the city of London.

Section 1 – To travel

Everyone travels differently depending on a whole number of factors. Here, I give you a quick rundown, with each category, I give you about 2-3 days worth of things to do. So, without further ado, what kind of traveler are you?

Cultural Seeker – I want to know what it is like to be a Londoner, their daily lives, patterns and things they live by.

  • PRET – What? you’ll know what I mean when you get here. Pret is the most famous of the many “sandwich shops” that keep the cities population moving for another day. They’re a chain that you can find around almost every corner because a part of the London lifestyle is to grab a sandwich (and maybe a meal deal) during lunch or on your way home. Don’t *Pret though, the sandwiches are actually really good, super fresh and well priced so what’s not to love?
  • Markets – I know there are some pretty great markets around the world and you can probably find them greater, larger or more extravagant than those found here. However, I’m talking about literally many dozens of markets littered all around London and in every corner and crevice. During lunchtimes, these markets provide a good break from the daily sandwich and over the weekends they are beaming with local shoppers, artists, creatives and foodies! Some of my favorites include the Brick Lane Markets, Camden markets, Borough Markets and the Colombia Road Flower Markets.
  • Parks – If you’re here in the summer, you’re going to loooove this (check out my re-blog of the London summer https://jayysnotes.blog/2019/07/18/london-summer/), but if you’re not, they’re still worth a visit. Parks here are seasonal, so be ready to see all the beautiful changing colors of all the seasons, the bright oranges of Autumn, the colorful yellows, pinks, blues and purples of Spring, the bright greens of summer and of-course, the brown brushes of winter…but not only will you find the parks incredibly gorgeous and well maintained here, you will find them absolutely empty one cold day and intensely crawling with people from all walks of life in the next sunny day! It’s really quite a sight. Check out some of my favorites, Regents Park, Primrose Hill, Greenwich Park and of-course Hyde Park; and if you have time and want to see wild roaming deer, check out the enormous Richmond Parklands.
  • Beer – I can’t not mention this as it is probably the most English thing I know. Pubs are found literally around every corner of this city. The English see pubs as such: Cold Day – Let’s go to the local pub with our buddies and sit inside where it’s warm, packed like sardines, loud and smells. Sunny Day – Let’s go to the local pub with our buddies and all stand outside creating noise while having a pint to soak in as much sun as we can before the coming 9 month winter. Let me say again how prominent the street drinking is here, so much so we have men’s urinals (the ones we see at carnivals) on the corner of public roads!
  • Free Museums – London is super great for travelers because there’s actually a lot of free stuff to do! (strictly travelers, living here burns holes through your wallet!). One of the best free things are museums and galleries, many of which top of world in terms of ranking. You can find many of the popular ones around South Kensington station and others spread out across the city. Some of my favorites so far are The Natural History Museum, Victoria & Albert Museum (V&A), Tate Modern and the British Museum.
  • Live Music and Theaters – Other than having beers 5 times a week, theatrics is something that locals here love to go and see. There are an absolute limitless number of shows that are happening every single day to pique any of your interests! The more popular and world renown ones include the plays at Shake-sphere’s Globe, Phantom of the Opera and of-course Harry Potter’s Play.
  • Special mention to the Regents Canal – Definitely one of my favorites walks on a sunny day, don’t miss out on the canal walk around Kings Cross and the up towards Little Venice and Paddington!

Party Seeker – I want to know how to have a good time in this city, I want to stay up and party all night!

  • SOHO – This is a prominent and central area for a night out. I’ll be honest, I’ve not had a big night out in the area but from what I’ve seen and heard, it’s wild and odd!
  • Shoreditch – Shorditch is a hippie, youthful, artsie and super energetic area especially at night. Walk the main streets, take lots of turns and corners and even explore it’s outskirts for something different, jazzy, fun and exciting. At night the whole area is buzzing, there’s no specific place I’d go check out because there’s always something cool around the corner. I did here something about a place called the Dinerama which is great for food and bars, something for me to check out too!
  • Specific Bars – There’s a lot to mention here. Like seriously a lot and it really depends on what you’re after. This city has a bar for and to suit everyone and anything. I’ve been to super cool themed medieval bars to modern futuristic ones. Bars with huge putt putt courses, bowling alleys and karaoke’s in them, I’ve seen pubs where people play board and e-sports…there’s just everything here…maybe ask me to join?
  • Specific Clubs – Again, there’s a lot to mention and sometimes it depends on the night and the artist who’s playing. Special mention to the Ministry of Sound, Fabric and XOYO along with Printworks but once again, you need to think about what music you like and what you’d like to see.

Section 2 – Discoveries

  • TK MAXX – This is a really great place to shop for good quality branded clothing at super great prices. There’s a few of these stores littered around London, mostly in the outer Zone 2, definitely a great place to find a bargain, pretty much always 80% off the retail price of branded shoes, clothing and everything else.
  • Thai Food – Spicy Basil is really great for authentic Thai food that I’ve yet to see replicated anywhere else in London
  • Indian Food – Vijay is something unexpected when you first walk in, it’s warm and welcoming glow pulls you in and the amazing food keeps you there!

I’ll leave it at that for now as those are the two main types of travelers coming into London itself. I guess I could of added some landmarks as well but i’m sure google has you covered there! e.g. don’t forget to check out the Tower of London! (of-course you wouldn’t forget).

Thanks for reading my friends. Happy travels! ❤

Feature image – View from the 58th floor of the currently in construction 22 Bishopsgate, London, United Kingdom taken on the 3rd May 2019

How Did You Know?

“How did you know that you loved him?” I asked.

She went silent for a moment, thinking about what she wanted to say.

“He was my sun. He made me feel a warmth inside of myself that I could never feel from anything else. It was like flowers were blooming inside of my chest. When we were together, his love radiated on to me and I couldn’t help but grow from that. I wanted to be a better person for him, because he gave me all the love and support needed to do so. All my life I had been falling in love with people I could live with, but when he came around I had finally found someone I couldn’t live without. He was my one.” She chuckled while a tear rolled down her cheek.

 

London Summer

It appears…summer is here – like, tomorrow – 33 degrees of thick, smoggy heat descending on our fine city.

Certainly a few athletes will have been caught short in their summer ‘cut’ but this will not prevent them from unashamedly getting their dusty rigs out on any miniscule patch of grass they can lay their bum bag on. A sea of empty pre mix gin and tonics, half eaten cous cous salads and empty bags of walkers prawn cocktail crisps will litter every park from Croydon to Camden by 1pm.

By 3pm instagram will be buckling under the weight of these park dwelling influencer’s mammoth selfie sessions. Sweat, foundation and arrogance drip off the faces of these scantily clad, prosecco fuelled young harlots of London.

The time to tan is nigh and no amount of scientific or medical reasoning will prevent this lot from flaunting unprotected and ghoulishly pale flesh to the blue summer sky. Between high pitched screeching sessions about Love Island and determining who’s dealer is the more reliable, they are relentlessly sacking piss – and credit to them. Thank fuck that one of the old heads in the group bought a cooler bag and ice because those warm £1 pre-mixers are about as appetising as a Boris Johnson Tory party nomination.

Around 8pm, the sun has lost much of it’s potency and in the diminishing light, it starts to become evident just how many bottles of prosecco and cans of cheap lager litter your immediate vicinity. You know it’s time to depart and the overflowing rubbish bins give you an excuse to recklessly throw your bag of empties on the already well established pile. You ignore the shade thrown at you by a grandmother briskly striding by – she’s had her time, the old bitch, it’s yours now.

It is time for phase two; home for a shower, outfit change and a raid of your drug drawer all while obnoxiously hammering your UE Boom speaker with a delicately crafted ‘#summervibes’ playlist you’ve put together mid week whilst battling depression and a manager as bitter and vindictive as a Daily Mail journo.
As you head home ambulance sirens enter the mix and immediately begin drowning out cat calls and ‘ladsy banter’ as dehydration and well timed right hooks claim their first victims. Heatstroke, impromptu naps and poor fiscal planning aide in the decimation, some of the best of them will fall here but they are still hopeful of returning to the fray after downing a couple powerade or negotiating a hasty loan with a house mate.

As the sun dips beneath the horizon, chaos reigns in the city. The old bill simply aren’t cut out to operate in this type of heat and like a humourless EU council member listening to May’s monotonous bullshit, they’re completely out of patience with this lot of unruly Brits.

Thankfully for their enemy, the general public, a fleet of Albanian coke dealers determinedly navigates heavy traffic to continue a steady flow of narcotics to their bar hopping masses who’s sustenance has thus far been limited to a sainsbury’s meal deal and about 6 pints of lager. The marching powder supersedes their need for further calories however and kebab shop owners are forced to look on patiently, stocking shelves and thawing packages of camel meat in preparation of the inevitable a.m onslaught.

At around 10pm, whatsapp groups begin lighting up in earnest – friends engaging in bitter disputes due to uber surcharges and crazed requests to ‘come to north London, it’s actually not a bad night out’. And like the invitees of a Tory party debate, there will undoubtedly be a few shitkickers who just say ‘fuck it, I’m staying in’.
Tubes are once again flooded, all creeds of life descend on the archaic railway system – plebs from zone 4 making the pilgrimage in, desperate to convince themselves they are, technically, living the London dream. With the elegance and integrity of a Jeremy Kyle Show segment, they spew forth back into the warm London evening, throats parched, nasal passages blocked, yet eager for more.
They flock to bars, even those unable to walk or speak are waved through by bouncers showing all the enthusiasm of a Soho street walker.
Saturday ticks over to Sunday but this crowd shows no immediate signs of surrender. They’re into the spirits now, doubles if the wage allows it.

Oddly the line for the men’s stall has tripled in size, unlike the coke dicks that will be returning to lovers beds come the wee hours. You can almost hear the chuckle from fever trees execs as the thirsty punters throw themselves at the bar demanding more b-grade gin with their ’boutique’ tonic. Djs commanding dance floors around the city peek up over CDJs at the sunburnt masses and are met with the vacant stares of the living dead, gradually exhausting the supply of energy, and pound sterling, borrowed from their own retched future selves.
Red, sweating and reluctantly snorting that slow drip down of coke down the back of their throat, they are relentless. Until, finally, the fog clears, firm decisions to leave are made and slowly, they begin to depart the sweaty boxes they have occupied for the last 6 hours. As they enter back onto the streets so to do the street sweeping crews, cleaning the vomit, regret and empty stella cans from streets. The masses are pouring out of the bars now, young cassanovas throwing out compliments and invitations like Donald Trump in a teen beauty contestants changing room. The women at this point are dishevelled, clinging to friends and begging for smokes while they navigate the murky waters of a pre-dawn warzone.
A quick bite and off home is it – no its fucken not. The queues for a two piece and chips is out the door and citymapper has just confirmed you’ve a 55 minute bus ride in front of you with nothing but the finest of crack heads and deviants to keep you company. Cheering.
Experienced uber drivers take a moment to knock back a Xanax and a line of speed, both numming themselves to the incoherent ramblings of their substance abusing clientele while simultaneously ensuring they don’t wrap them round a stop sign. It’s a delicate business.
As the sun peeks up, the first of the spandex-cunt-brigade appears, jogging or cycling the desolate streets with an air of superiority reserved for those with full liver functionality.
Some of our mystic partygoers will down a couple pints of water before bed. Others apply a generous layer of aloe after sun. But for most, they will simply lie back in their dirty, sweaty sheets, potentially aided by a £20 argos pedestal fan blowing a cool breeze on their sun kissed faces as they weigh up the probability of throwing up that last, nostalgic shot of cheap tequila which while entirely unnecessary was also shouted by some other poor cunt.
And so they drift, off to sleep, with a day of Netflix, codeine and Deliveroo to greet them when they do finally peel their sunburnt carcasses off the concrete.
So, enjoy it you heathens. It is here, it is upon us. It is summer.