Tuesday, 27 November 2012


Over the years I have accumulated a number of medals, trophies, plaques, certificates, etc... but I look at them and then I think about what I did to achieve them. To tell you the truth some things are just not that significant and just by virtue of participation led to certain 'medals'. 

I've cycled from London to Southend and London to Brighton (twice - once in the dark) and I have got a medal for my troubles, but was it challenging? Did I really feel fulfilled? I've 'won' a number of medals from dragon boat racing, but nothing of significant 'value' in the sport. 

I look back at the things I have done and certain things that have led to a 'medal' of sorts are few and far between. My first major certificate I remember obtaining was a 'Gold Certificate' in a National maths test where you scored points for correct answers and lost points for incorrect answers... I got over 90% score. It took me by surprise but it was my own accomplishment and one that I cannot remember clearly doing, but remember the day I had to walk up in assembly to collect my certificate. It was a 'big thing' apparently. 5 people out of 90 got 'gold'. 

Other significant wins have been in Rugby 7s tournaments where my team mates and I fought for each other and played the best we had played ever to win a couple of tournaments. It was pretty special... and although I have plaques to show for it, I don't need them for me to remember those two days. 

Then came the most significant achievement so far... passing my driving test. I know it's not a big deal. Everyone who learns to drive will pass one day, but it has made the biggest difference in my life. I would not know what to do if I cannot drive in UK. 

My degree was a bit disappointing in that I had no interest in it for my own personal satisfaction, but more for my parents. However my Masters was completely different and I took a year away from friends, family and relationships to finish it. It was tough, but totally worth it. 

After this I was a bit lost... what other challenges do I have left in life? I found it in the form of the Himalayas and Everest Base Camp. Again it was out of pure will and determination that got me to the top and back again. I can't really describe how it felt and what it meant to me, but it was amazing. 

The latest sense of personal achievement comes in the form of leading my dragon boat team to significant success over a race season. I didn't know I had it in me, but I delivered the best I could and I feel proud of what I did. 

Along the way there are a number of things that I have 'lost' and failed in... and those were significant lessons to learn in life. Then there are other less important or carry less in value in my mind... but people looking in will only see the shimmer of medals. Never will they realise the importance of personal achievement that requires no trinkets to give a sense of self satisfaction. 

In 6-7 weeks time I am planning on going to Coast Rica to volunteer at a turtle conservation centre. Will I get a medal or trinket for my participation... probably not, but I know I will feel a greater sense of achievement and satisfaction because of the experience. 

Things of importance will always stay in our minds. We will never forget the moments we feel proudest, nor will we forget the moments where we let ourselves down. Both serve as a purpose to drive us to make the right decisions in life and reach personal milestones that will give us our version of success.

Monday, 19 November 2012


Over the years I have spent a lot of time driving to London to meet my friends and eat. Today I drove to London as usual, but then I thought how much things have changed and what going to 'London' means in present day versus 15 years ago. 

Back when I first went to uni in London, going to London meant Chinatown, Leicester Square, Soho, Namco and Trocadero. Of course Chinatown, Leicester Square and Soho still remains, but Namco and Trocadero are long gone. 

Today I drove to 'London' and I realised my destination has changed considerably from central London to more the outskirts. Of course a number of significant venues, restaurants and landmarks are still 'central' and on occasions, still options for visiting, but mainly I head East to where I dragon boat and where my friends live. Clubbing in London has switched to trendy bars around Shoreditch. Eating out is more about food quality rather than location. Meeting up with friends takes place in homes rather than out and about. Get togethers usually mean a day out somewhere out of the city. 

I drove an 'old' route to Picadilly Circus today and so much has changed in terms of traffic due to the congestion charging zone. But again, my destination was actually further out. On my way home I didn't go the way I came, but rather via a new route I had learned based on where I was heading home from.

London means something different to me today than it did 15 years ago. The single yellow lines I used to park at have been removed. The roads have changed. Reasons to be in London has evolved. I think I have gotten all I want and need from this city and I feel it is the right time to leave. 

It's been an amazing place and for various different reasons I have found myself knowing lots of areas around London and though it's not like a Taxi drivers 'knowledge' I have lived in the North (uni), driven in from the West (usual route in to London), know the South (friends) and also have a lot of knowledge around East London (dating a girl and having lived there). I probably know my way around London better than my 'home town' just because I spend so much time there and drive a lot. It's probably cost me a fortune in fuel, but it has been an amazing 15 years. 

I hope I can find a new home and my way around Hong Kong in a similar fashion...

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Good bye... I'll miss you...

No, this time I haven't been ditched by a girl. This time I am saying good bye to my beloved car. A car I have driven for the last 5 years and one which has done 102,000 miles with me.

Tomorrow I am part exchanging my Civic Type R (RN02YUS) for a Honda S2000. It is a big change for me. Usually the thoughtful and considerate one, choosing cars that can serve a greater purpose. But this time I am buying a 2 seater sports car with no thought of practicality other than to fit my golf clubs in the boot.

Recently I have found myself driving less and I am rarely giving lifts to others... Coupled with the fact we have 2 big Mercedes and a hatchback at home anyway, I don't need to be quite so practical as I can drive any one of the other cars anyway!

Deep down I feel as though the Civic has been the best car I have ever owned and will always be the best. It did everything well and got me through so much, from moving home from Basingstoke to Bedford, to visiting my girlfriend (at the time), many trips to the airport, driving friends home and lots more!

***This was actually written on 24th May 2007 but I only just realised I didn't publish it***

Writing helps...

It's not every day that I write in my blog. Maybe I have been lazy? Or had I just forgotten that writing helps me come to terms with things. Looking back I realised that I knew this and I write regularly to reaffirm some of my feelings and emotions and also to record my moments of joy or sadness. Lately I have been documenting things in my email drafts page because usually I am writing to someone with the intention of sending, but I don't. Why? Because having written it down and gotten things off my chest I feel relaxed and I feel I can breathe again.

Today I decided to give more time to my blog and put down in writing some of the things I feel, have done and plan to do. Not everything is relevant to anyone who reads this, and sometimes it probably isn't relevant to me, but one day, when I get old and read back on some of the things I said, did, planned... I can see where I went wrong, what I did right and how I changed over time as a person. 

Being away from my blog for so long there's a part of me that wants to fill the page with words that describe the time that has passed. But it would be a long blog and almost be novel-like. I don't want to do that. 

The simple truth is that over the years I have lost myself and who I am. I got lost in other peoples lives and trying to incorporate myself in to their world. Love is a weird and wonderful thing but it's never easy. I've had my heart broken a few times over the years, but I also know I've broken some hearts too. Life is pretty fair, what comes around goes around, but I know one day it will work itself out. We all end up dead and equal in the end. 

So why now? Well, I've made a decision to move to HK. Whether it is the right decision I don't really know. But then 'right' is subjective. I know that I won't be any happier staying in the UK and I won't change my life doing the same thing again and again. Einstein defined insanity as 'doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results'. I get that now... it's time for a change.

In light of my 'awakening' I signed up for a TEFL course and I'm on my way to becoming an English Teacher. It's a major change in my career path and a change in lifestyle, but having done what I do for so many years and I never really felt 'happy' in the roles I have taken I would rather earn less and do something rewarding. 

Hong Kong is a place I have often talked about living and working, but never really knew why. Moments of clarity are few and far between in our hectic lives and this just made sense to me at this juncture. I think I thought about moving in 2003... that's 9, coming on 10 years ago. What would my life be like had I made the move? Who knows... and does it matter? No really... I am who I am because of my past and my experiences. 

I'm looking forward to a change, a challenge and a fresh start... I promise that I will blog more often...

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Inspired by a Dark Knight Rises

Often I write to express feelings of emotion, sometimes happy, sometimes sad but not usually of observation and insight... well, tonight is different. I felt compelled to write my thoughts and perception of the world and how a film incites thought.

Dark Knight Rises was a better than average film that followed very nicely from its predecessor, The Dark Knight. But it's not the overall film that spawned my thoughts and drove me to consider the premise of the loss of law and order.

For those who have not seen the film the basic synopsis is of good versus evil, order versus chaos... but is it really those things? 

We live in a society where our actions are governed by abiding to laws and morals. These are set by the people that sit in positions of higher power. We have to live by these laws because we supposedly 'elected' these people to rule, to govern, to ensure equality and continual existence of the human race. 

The film flips this upside down and the powers that be, depicted as the wealthy, are usurped by thugs who trap the normal 'peace keepers' (the police) and allows the 'baddies' to take power through fear and agression. What evolves is a 'new order' where the 'people' run the city of Gotham. How they run is by common law akin to communist rule. One leader, self elected, where law is delivered by tanks and guns. 

Criminals are now running the city and brandishing their own 'laws'. It is at this point that the 'rebels' against this new dictator fight back. In this case the 'rebels' are the police and of course Batman. 

Now what I see is the people in power oppressing the weak and the weak fighting back. This is no different to how the film started where the main antagonist was starting the rebellion and plotting and planning in order to take power.

History is wrought with 'evil dictators' trying to rise up and take power... to lead their people to rule the world. The more they are oppressed, the more they fight back.

My words are not truly reflecting my thoughts at the moment and I am writing my immediate thoughts rather than through planning. But my basic impression is that the the people in power are often the rich and it is the poor who suffer and have to resort to more 'old skool' violence. This is compounded by the current state of the economy where countries are crumbling but the rich continue to get rich whilst the poor get poorer. And as if to compound this thought train the BBC website just published an article claiming the wealthy have over $21tn ($21,000,000,000,000) stashed away, equivalent to the combined economies of Japan and USA! 

Is there a need for such wealth? What is the money doing? How about giving away 10% of this wealth? Would they really miss it? Would it affect their lifestyle?

To be honest, it's not like I come from a poor family and we're probably better off than many people, but we're far from being millionaires or anything. I live a comfortable life with an above average salary and family backing that will allow me to retire without the reliance on state pensions. Middle of the line makes me feel indifferent about the rich and the poor. 

But it is this lethargy that is destroying our economy.  

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Day 2

It's the start of a new day... do I feel any better? Not sure. I don't feel any worse so that's a good start.

Thinking about things, maybe it's the hectic nature of the week I have had and will be having... I just feel like I need time away from everything. But let's not shy away from my responsibilities... and just get on with it.

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Returning after almost 3 years away...

So what brings me back here? I don't think it's any one thing, rather a number of things.

Since my trip to Everest Base Camp I have been back to the Himalayas again to the Annapurna Base Camp, reached the top of Mt Toubkal in the Atlas Mountains (Morocco), taken up dragon boat racing, spent 2 months working in Sydney, paddled 30km through the canals of Venice with my dragon boat team, cycled London to Brighton to raise funds for the British Heart Foundation, changed jobs, changed cars, played 5-a-side football... so many things!

I've also been in and out of relationships and currently in a confused place with one now.

But more recently I also discovered a tumour in my salivary glands. It is benign so there's no real concern at the moment. However, the human brain likes to play devils advocate and I find myself constantly in a negative frame of mind. I'm trying to not let it get to me, but it is. Everything is.

I get concerned about the chance it might turn aggressive, I worry about my mortality... I think about what I am leaving behind and to who...There's so much that my head hurts thinking about it.

This along with a relationship that feels nothing like a relationship... it just makes me want to be able to go "ctrl-a" followed by "delete".

A bit of a depressing re-birth to my blog, but having a place to vent is the only consolation for me... things will improve in the future. Hopefully!

Friday, 15 February 2008

One more week to go...

Not long till I go to Everest now. Time has passed by so quickly and unexpectedly and in a weeks time I will be at the airport waiting for my flight to Bahrain before catching a connecting flight to Kathmandu.

I say that time has passed unexpectedly, but I have been increasing my cardio work out at the gym and I can honestly say that I am feeling the fittest I have felt in YEARS! I can row 7km in 30mins… I can step 6km in an hour on the Cross Trainer… I can climb 1000ft in 12 minutes on the VersaClimber… The only problem (well I feel it is) is my weight. I am now 17st (240lbs or 108kg), and that will be significant when I am on the trek. The plus side is that I am carrying a lot of muscle opposed to fat… although I am not as toned as I would like to be.

Anyway, fitness aside, I also feel pretty healthy and I am also pretty conscious in what I eat now. I haven’t even been ill for almost 8 months, the previous time was when I had my head shaved and I was basically acclimatising to a lack of insulation.

So, what am I expecting from this trip to Everest. Well, one thing I am looking forward to is the solitude and the isolation of being on a remote mountain where communication with the rest of the world is limited. For over 10 days I will be not contactable and will only have my fellow trekkers to talk to (ranging from 22 to over 60 years old).

The other things I am looking forward to are, being 5km closer to the stars in the skies, the lack of light pollution corrupting the night view, passing clouds on my way up, the clear air, the challenge of the climb… There are so many things to look forward to I fear I am building up my expectations too highly.

It’s weird to think how much I moan about being single, yet the one holiday I have been on in years is one where I will be alone. Not in the sense that I won’t have people around me, but I will have no one close that I know with me.

Moving away from the trip I have also looked into doing a few courses. TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) is one, and the other is to train to become a fitness instructor… both something that will be of use to me in HK when I make the move at the end of the year. I am leaving my options open in terms of what I will do in HK. I have a lot of ideas and thought as to what I can do and I don’t want to limit myself.

There is still a lot of things for me to do in the UK before I can move, but basically I will not do anything till I get back from Everest.

I don’t know if I will be adding another entry to this blog before I leave… If not, then wish me luck and I’ll talk to you on my return.

Wednesday, 6 February 2008


Only me second entry of the year... but that's because it has been a very busy start to the year for me. There has been a lot of change in the month of January. Although the year is a month old, it feels as if no time has passed at all.

The anticipation of going to Everest is building slowly and gradually I am getting everything together in preparation. But in the meantime my workload has increased considerably which has distracted me from meeting friends and I have become more anti social. Nonetheless I have continued going to the gym and I am working harder than ever to get myself in the best shape possible for the trek.

Something that has been on my mind for a while is how I feel unchallenged at the moment. I feel as though I am alive just waiting for something to challenge me, but without a challenge until Everest I feel a bit lost.

There has been a lot on my mind lately but I find it had to express these thoughts into coherent sentences. Stress at home with demanding parents, mind kept busy with the thought of Hong Kong never far away, the prospects available to me when I move, the possibility of a 'promotion' of sorts at work, tenants moving out of my house, preparing equipment for Everest... the list goes on. But nothing is actually forcing me to challenge myself. It's just a case of thoughts and more thoughts.

With Lent starting tomorrow I decided to give up something for 40 days. Other than quitting smoking last year, I haven't undertaken anything like this ever. I haved decided to give up all forms of liquid other than water... no tea, coffee, fizzy drinks, juice, alcohol... JUST WATER for 40 days. In a way I think this will be even more challenging than giving up smoking!

In the past I have always written about things that annoy me, things that depress me... but lately there's nothing to complain about. And I guess thats why I haven't really updated my blog. It's always easier to complain than to give praise.

Moments of clarity are hard to come by these days... I live each day and fill each waking hour. Maybe when I have more time to solidify my thoughts I will put some more effort in my blog...

Wednesday, 2 January 2008


Last year was one of the best years of my life. It all started with me giving up smoking after about 10 years. On hindsight I don’t even know why I smoked in the first place! It has taken my entire life in my 20s! But now I am rid of it I feel so much better.

However, it was not all fine and dandy because my will power was severely tested in the second week of the year when I had an accident involving one of my uncles cars and another uncles garage… it would have been so easy for me to just say ‘sod it’ and start smoking again, but I didn’t. Although it was not an event to be proud of, I was surprised at my will power to stay off the smoking.

For the first few months of the year I was still kick boxing and going to the driving range regularly. It was my only means of physical activity and also a means of getting out of the house.

Work was going well and the company was taking shape in the form of a new manager and a set structure to work towards. In terms of work, 2007 was a very successful year for me. I enjoy what I do and I am growing with the company. All in all it’s been a positive step forward and indicates progression after my MBA.

Since stopping smoking I started to think more and more about my future and what I want to do… what I want in the future. I realise that time is not going to be on my side for long and I still feel as though I haven’t achieved much in life.

I took some time off work in April to go to Hong Kong and visit my grandmother. It seemed to me that the only holidays I have taken in the last 10 years has mainly been to Hong Kong. In terms of travelling I have been to various European cities, but the last real holiday I went on was to Salzburg with my girlfriend at the time about 5 years ago and the time before that was Las Vegas which was pretty much 10 years ago.

Many things were on my mind this year. My 30th birthday was coming up and I needed something to lift me. I felt I still had enough in the tank to pursue rugby as a sport again. I decided to join a gym and get fit. I joined in April and gave myself plenty of time to train and get fit for the start of the rugby season. I did get a chance at a college reunion Sevens Tournament where I injured my right knee and ankle. It pretty much sealed my fate as an EX-rugby player… But I continued with the gym.

It was a culmination of getting fit and also a permanent lookout for a decent holiday that I stumbled upon the idea of going to Mount Everest. I would like to have someone to go on holiday with, but being single its difficult… especially when all my friends are coupled up! So I booked a solo trip to Everest with total strangers. It is a challenge as much as a holiday. But the personal reward to have been to Everest and seen the sight with my own eyes is something I would not want to miss. Not long to go now… just over 7 weeks!

Personal life was a bit of a let down I suppose (only for the fact I have been single for another year!). However I did go and have a mid life crisis, as everyone calls it, by buying myself a new car which is a convertible. My car was 5 years old with over 102k miles from new. It was getting on a bit and it wouldn’t be long before I had to spend money on keeping it running. So I decided to trade it in and live ‘young’ for once (although it’s a more mature car than the old one).

Love life was not very exciting. I had a thing for a girl for the entire year… but nothing happened because she has a boyfriend and I just didn’t have a chance. I may be sounding bitter, but her relationship with her boyfriend doesn’t seem to be the best, but I wasn’t going to say anything. What will be… will be. I have no intention of interfering with someone’s relationship. Its up to them to work it out. I just feel sad I didn’t meet the girl in a different period in my life. I guess the same can be said of my ex really.

Speaking of relationships… I did meet up with girl I dated whilst studying my MBA. She was over from China for work and it was good to catch up. It was very different as we broke up over the stress of the workload. But in a different environment I was much more laid back and without the pressure she seemed less intense too!

I might as well continue on the relationship front, but this time its regarding my best friend and his relationship. He and his girlfriend has been together for around 7 years and to be honest they should be getting married, but he somehow ended up falling for another girl and things got complicated. I was dragged in and it got MESSY. Its not a great end to the year and it was something that could have been dealt with a lot better. I just hope it concludes well for all parties involved.

On a more positive note, I took another trip to Hong Kong at the end of November. I went alone and I had a great time. It was probably the most enjoyable week I spent in Hong Kong and I met up with some old friends as well as making some new ones. Lots of conversations took place and I suddenly felt like moving to Hong Kong on a permanent basis. It’s not 100% but it is 60/40 in favour of Hong Kong at the moment.

Oh… in amongst everything I shaved my head in June. It’s the second time I have done it and I have continued keeping it short now. I don’t think I will be growing my hair any more… it’s more comfortable and easy to manage! I even save on going to the barbers on a monthly basis!

I should also mention one of the best things to have happened in 2007, and that was when I bought myself a couple of hamsters. Though they were from the same litter, they ended up fighting and in separate cages. But they are both lovely and furry little balls of fun! Makes me smile every time I seem them.

I started 2007 as a non smoking 29 year old with a Civic Type R, single, employed and a little unfit. I ended the year as a 30 year old with a Honda S2000, single, still employed, much fitter than I have been in over 10 years and the owner of 2 hamsters Mini and Monster. My original 5 year plan had a spanner thrown in the works with my decision to move to Hong Kong… and now I have to plan my route to Hong Kong and what I will do there.

Ideally I would have liked to have met the girl of my dreams (maybe I have already?) and be looking forward to celebrating our first anniversary… but that never happened. Still there’s always 2008 to look forward to!

First things first for 2008, get back into the gym, prepare for Everest trip, sell one house, organise stag do for cousins wedding, turn 31 :( , apply for jobs in Hong Kong, cousin gets married and I fly off to start my new life in Hong Kong!

Let’s see what actually happens in 12months time….