Every day on the way home from work I sit on the train and observe the goings on in the carriage around me.People, dressed in their constrictive little penguins suits, shuffle around so they don’t have to sit next to one another or (God forbid) look at one another. Plugged into their little white earphones they are completely oblivious to anyone sitting around them. Carefully arranged bags make the seat next to them look just uninviting enough to deter anyone who might want to attempt sitting next to them. Since when have we become such a self involved and insular community? People are, for the most part of their day, shut off from all the amazing experiences around them.
The thing is this… It all makes me feel really lucky. Since I experienced my own quarter life crisis and started travelling life has become a completely different experience for me and has opened my eyes to world around. I really hope that others can experience the same kind of excitement about life as I have right now. Many people are scared to let go of their preconceived notions of what their lives have to be and they become depressed by it. I’m so fortunate that on my travels I have met so many other people who, like me, are experiencing life to the full. It gives me inspiration to keep on going.
There is also not just one way of going about experiencing life, which is partly what makes it so great.Even just taking a different route to work or watching less T.V and going for a walk can be enough for some people to shake off the shackles of their day-to-day stupor.
I really explored this concept this after attending some excellent courses run by Karma Jiga. Karma Jiga was a senior monk at the world-famous Samye Ling Monastery in the Borders of Scotland and the founder and Project Director of Rokpa Dundee. He opened my eyes to a lot of things including the theory of mindfulness and since then I would encourage anyone if they have any interest in getting rid of stress and living more in the moment to attend some meditation classes. They don’t have to be religious if you have no interest and can be used as a really effective life tool for all sorts of things. Some of the most important principles were very straight forward: Take notice of the world; focus on whatever you are doing; commit random acts of kindness; be thankful for yourself and your life just the way you are. However, these are things that most people forget on a daily basis. Too many people spend their lives wishing their lives away. Psychology today also recently printed an interesting article on trying to live in the moment.
For some, maybe the way to reconnect is just looking a little harder at what is going on around them. A few weeks ago I went to see an exhibition by the artist Louise Hawson Who, In 2009 decided to spend a year exploring and photographing one new Sydney suburb a week. The suburbs of Sydney vary hugely from place to place and i think most people would be surprised if they headed out from the CBD to Auburn, for example, which has a high population of Islamic people and a plethora or Iranian, Turkish and Middle Eastern restaurants. Louise shares her experience here on her blog, 52suburbs.com.au She has now extended her project and is looking at suburbs around the world. I’d highly recommend her blog to anyone and it is a fantastic insight into some of the lesser known suburbs In the city.
For others, maybe the way to discover happiness is by travelling and I am so fortunate that I have so met so many other people who, like me, are experiencing the world though travel. For some really interesting blogs based on travel check out my section on fantastic blogs which will be being updated periodically. When I talk about my travels many people express how they WISH they could travel too but can’t because of commitments or finances. I’m never sure exactly what to say to them except go for it! You will never regret the things you do… only those that you don’t. For some more practical advice the other day I read a fantastic blog by The Nomad Grad who explains how she manages to finance a nomadic lifestyle… so now there are no excuses!