Saturday, 2 July 2011

and so begins the drifter's summer

I'm currently in Leeds working and drifting between various friends' houses.

Our student house tenancy ended on June 30th, and since then I've had (and for the next few days will have) no fixed residence. Some may argue this situation is less than ideal, and in ways I'd be inclined to agree; the constant planning of where I'll be tomorrow / next week, which stuff I need with me, where the rest of my stuff will be stored, etc, is more stressful than I originally imagined but it's definitely manageable for the time I'm required to do it.

I'm grateful that the time I'm required to do it is short, though; it's probably not a realistically sustainable lifestyle.


It's been two nights so far, the first of which was spent Couchsurfing after a local student accepted my short-notice plea for a bed somewhere in Leeds. Couchsurfing in a city you're familiar with is a weird notion; part of the idea is the cultural exchange, learning about a new place through someone who lives there, and so arriving at my hosts house with at least equal knowledge of the city subtracted somewhat from the usual dynamic. Instead of discussing local history and landmarks, we discussed last week's Apprentice and debated whether animal charities should be allowed to exist (my viewpoint is yes, they should).

The second night was spent staying with a friend in his new student house. This was when I realised that the hardest part of the 'drifter' lifestyle was being a burden on those around you. I like to think in this case, my staying with him doesn't pose a particular problem; we get on well, it's been a while since we've chilled together, and I was able to lend a hand moving stuff between his house from last year and his house for this year. There's definitely potential for gaining a reputation as a bum though, which is something I want to avoid at all costs.

Luckily I've got plans for travel between July 10th and 15th, so on those days I'll be camping / hostelling around Scotland with a good friend of mine. After that I'll be taking up temporary room-mate status with another good friend who's moving up to his Leeds accommodation for parts of the Summer. Then I'm probably off travelling again (America / Canada this time) for most of August, and moving into a house of my very own in early September, so the short-term drifting is nearly at an end.

Friday, 17 June 2011

PHAT bass

just left Leeds house for the last time as a proper resident. I will return at the end of this month, but primarily in a cleaning capacity. my departure was marked by the bringing down of Emily's awesome speakers, and the playing of a selection of bass heavy music. various cooked frozen treats were also provided by George.

it's a weird feeling for two reasons, firstly the 'end of an era' thing, but secondly the underpinning 'I'll be back next week' thing, which I've already mentioned. I think the fact that we'll be there for cleaning purposes next time removes part of the finality but there's definitely a sense of limbo.

anyway, I just boarded the train home. it was a close shave though (this seems to be a recurring theme with everything I do; maybe my subconscious likes a challenge / the sense of adventure?). the ticket office were unable to issue me with a cycle reservation (I'm traveling home with my bike so that Alex and I may cycle from his house to Glastonbury next week). I was only vaguely aware of the possibility that I'd require a cycle pass, so luckily I was able to maintain my composure successfully enough to convince Farooq, the conductor, to let me on.

now I'm listening to Darwin Deez (standard), realising the omission of any fun activities in the items I've packed in my hand luggage, and wondering why the attractive lady opposite me, who's ticket says she should be in the seat next to me, is, in fact, opposite me.



I'm currently toying with the idea of a redesign of this blog; new layout, some way of separating the good posts (travel) from the filler (most of the other stuff), and various other little things.

So excuse the lack of decent posts lately, but keep an eye out for some in the near future!

Wednesday, 8 June 2011


budgeting and time tracking (keeping a diary / making to-do lists etC) are both useful tools, and I've benefited from both. but the fact that I have to do these things sometimes annoys me, and it's hard to tell why.

I feel that if I didn't, I'd be less efficient / productive than I am now, (and my house mates will tell you that even now I could improve on both counts!) but doing so makes me wonder whether I'd be unable to function without the things, which isn't a nice feeling (i.e. the realisation that I'm relying on books and lists to be a functional human being).

obviously it's hard to remember every appointment / errand / social engagement without any kind of help which is definitely a 'pro' for writing stuff down, but at the same time referring to a book a lot and having to write everything down for fear of forgetting is a 'con'.

this is a rant. obviously something I need to think about a bit more before blogging properly :p

Monday, 6 June 2011

tidy room, tidy mind

and my extension: tidy mind, hard to find

the difference between 'maintenance' and 'expansion' was bought to my attention today by Sebastian Marshall, whose blog I may have mentioned before. It's an interesting distinction, one that I believe I've got close to identifying myself before but, as with a lot of things, hearing the information elsewhere can make it clearer.

the difference is this: maintenance tasks are things that keep you at the level of operation you're currently at; things like hygiene, keeping your work / living areas tidy / eating, etc. expansive tasks are things that help you move forward, so networking, enterprising, making new connections, etc.

keeping a balance between the two can be hard, and I think it's something I've had trouble with before. when you spend too much time on maintenance, there's less time for expansion, and although a 50/50 balance is unrealistic with the two, a better balance than what I'm guessing my average is can be achieved. keeping my room tidy is something that I'm pathetically bad at, and when it's messy I lose things and it's not as nice a space to be in. when it's tidy it's a nice space where I can be productive. this realisation should make me want to keep it tidy at all times, right? and I do want to. but I don't do it. why? who knows.

(I'm writing this as I think it. these aren't rhetorical questions so any answers would be appreciated :p )

Sebastian Marshall also wrote the following, which I thought was a really good quote:

"Things are never perfect. Acknowledge things as they are, always. Discontent and despair don’t serve you. When bad feelings come over you, acknowledge them and dismiss them. Thinking, reflection, and self-control reigns. Keep building. Win."

Thursday, 2 June 2011

"there is nothing in this world you can't do"

that's a nice quote, isn't it? it's adapted from a line in Amrita by Banana Yoshimoto, which I'm currently reading. in its original context the 'you' is replaced with 'he', and the 'he' to which she refers is a young child, deemed lucky by his peers because there is "nothing in the world he can't do".

a lovely sentiment. children do indeed have their whole lives (or at least, 80-90% of what's left of their whole lives) ahead of them, and, given encouragement, they can achieve anything. however, the masked suggestion that adults do not have the same 'luck', and have limitations imposed on them as to what things in this world they can do, is completely bunk.

I've been reading a lot recently about visualisation, and the belief that when you want something hard enough, the universe will conspire to help you achieve it (a friend of mine wrote this on his present to me for my 16th birthday and the power of the quote didn't hit me until recently). as it stands, I'm not sure whether I believe the universe will go out of its way to make your desires come true, but I definitely think there's something to be said for a positive mindset, and the belief that your desires can be realised.

good feelings fuel good feelings. when your mind is focused on a goal, you take action to make that goal happen (action that can be conscious or otherwise). when these steps towards the goal are taken, you get a morale boost which perpetuates the focus and good feelings, leading to more steps to be taken towards the goal. ad infinitum

(this also got me thinking about how one can recognise these small steps taken towards a goal; all too often it feels like progress is not being made, and this can have the opposite effect (even if progress is being made!), but this is for another post.)

so for now, listen to Banana when she says that "there is nothing in this world [you] can't do", because it's true :)

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

always have something to look forward to

I find this remarkable. by having something in the near future to look forward to (anything from a cup of coffee when you get in from work to a round-the-world holiday), you can:

  • ease boredom (daydreaming about coffee's tantalising aroma)
  • stimulate productivity ("I better pop to the shop on the way home to buy coffee!)
  • bring a smile to your face (man, I love coffee :))
  • evoke gratitude (my life is eventful and fun)

so, make a plan!

p.s. I don't have time to proofread / edit this at the moment and I'm aware it doesn't flow too well ;D