Too Old To Travel?

I’m still a young, sprightly 26-year-old man, with my whole life ahead of me. But my mind wonders what the future holds.

My wife is currently expecting our first baby. This is a fantastic thing and I am over the moon about it. What better adventure is there than parenthood. Obviously, I’m terrified of balling it up, but on the whole, excitement is the order of the day. But it is going to change my entire life!

I’ve always dreamed of travelling. I went to Bangkok for my 21st birthday with my best friend and had the time of my life. ever since then, my one over-riding dream is to travel and see the world. I then met my wife, who never really shared my passion. True, she’s more than happy to go on holiday to places and I have got her to Thailand and Bali, but it’s never been a major thing for her. So my plans of traversing Thailand, Burma, Bangladesh and India have fallen by the wayside, but I always half expected to be able to talk her round. Then we bought a house, so the money disappeared and the responsibilities appeared. Now, the biggest responsibility is about to make an appearance.

This may sound like I’m moaning and blaming my wife for the circumstances leading to my current position, but I’m not. Far from it. I wouldn’t change things as I love my life. However, I still have to fulfill my dream. Only it looks like this won’t be completed until I’m in my 50’s (barring a lottery win).

So I guess my question is: how old is too old?

Without being prejudice or ageist, does being of an older vintage hold you back when travelling to places? Does it make you less inclined to take risks, go without any little luxuries, take a chance on things that younger people wouldn’t think about?

Again, this all seems very ageist of me and I really don’t mean it to. I just look at my parents. I can’t imagine my mum hiking through jungles to reach some remote village, or travelling through a country on the back of a pick-up on the basis that “Juan the driver said he knew where he was going”. No, she’d want to know the coach was legit, the driver was registered and that the remote village exists and has a nice room for her to freshen up in when she gets there.

This is all well and good, but it is not the dream I have in my mind’s eye. I picture a back-pack, me walking through towns and villages without a clue where I am and trying to communicate with people. Trying new foods, new experiences, new cultures without any form of preconception or any “necessary” requests. And I’m worried my future age will block this dream.

But I’m sure if I truly want it and keep the dream in my mind, I can make it come true.

Let me know about your dreams (travel related or not)

American or Chinese tonight dear?

It’s an interesting thought. Are America still the worlds most powerful nation? Sorry, the questions should probably stand as: Are America still the dominant power they used to be?

It appears to me that the good ol’ US of A have a habit of interfering in other countries problems and issues. True, every now and again it is a good thing (the deposition of Saddam Hussein was a good thing, but maybe not for the right reasons) and even slightly more often, they actually achieve their goals (WW2, as they like to keep pointing out), but they do see themselves as the worlds righteous police department. But are they losing their touch when it comes to “persuading” others to agree with their views?

Take the whole Israel situation. Now, please correct me if I make any ignorant comments or suggestions, I’ve always been of the belief that America and Israel have a pretty close relationship. Lots of Jewish people lives in the states, America helped in the birth of Israel as a country and supported them in numerous ways (armed them to the teeth in the beginning if I’m not mistaken, along with other western countries) and this had forged a pretty solid relationship. However, it does seem that America gives a lot of political support (ie Gaza situation), asks for little (Israel to stop the illegal building in the West Bank)  and Israel totally ignores their requests.

North Korea – The 6 party talks are going fine, then someone suggests the DRPK representative picks up the tab for lunch and they storm off without a bye nor leave. Then follows some sabre rattling, with the US and South Korea making some demands and pull a few big show military maneuvers (yes I know they are a yearly thing, but hardly tactful given the circumstances) and North Korea detonotes a nuke and shoots off a few long range missiles, sorry, successfully launches a telecoms satellite into space. So, the rest of the world gets involved and whacks on some restrictions to Kim’s regime and the people suffer. To be honest though, most of the world is pretty tied up in the Middle East and Afghanistan to worry a great deal about North Korea (could be a bit of a silly move) and it’s mainly the States and South Korea trying to sort them out. But they go on, ignoring the powerful USA and the rest of the world (stubborn little mites aren’t they..) and stamping their feet. Once was the time “the Seals” would have been sent in, butchered some people and come out again declaring victory……

Iran – Oh dear….. Now we are talking about a country who is just TOTALLY spitting in the face of Uncle Sam. Never had a great relationship with the US (or Britain, or any country really come to that) but can you find a more argumentative, despotic, idiotic and down right annoying country than Iran. But I give them kudos, they are taking on “The Big Boys” of the world…… and some would say are winning. It seems you can’t read the news any more without hearing the Iran are planning on making a nuke, or are ignoring UN sanctions or kicking out inspectors. But the biggest headline I think, is the way they are so happy to slag off, insult and do everything they can to get America’s back-up. They say they are infidels, murderers, nothing but scum basically and still, America do nothing. Did Bush get confused when signing the declaration fo war on Iraq?? It’s only 1 letter difference W, was it a bit too complicated for you?

Still, my point is not to insult America (although it is fun!!) as I think their hearts are in the right place. Just a shame their brains appear to be out for lunch. But once was the time that America could simply ask a country to do something and they would comply. Now they seem to be looking to others to support their claims. Maybe it’s the school yard bully who, has been hit back by the geek once too often, now seeks back-up from the other pupils before he’ll start calling names. This is a good thing in my mind, as hopefully it will stop the shambles that was the Iraq war (yes, we Brits are also to blame for that) and the total travesty and balls up that was Vietnam.

But are we substituting one power house for another? China seems to be getting a lot of press these days on political issues that, before, would never really have got much input from them. As they are now becoming the biggest exporter of goods on the planet (unofficial as I haven’t checked, but everythings made in china these days), they now have a lot of clout. Will they have to adjust their non-interference policy?

Your thoughts and comments are more than welcome……

Alzheimers and Sir Terry

One of my favourite writers is Sir Terry Pratchett. For those of you who haven’t had the joy of Reading one of his books, the man has an amazing imagination and is so satirically clever!!! Total genius.

As some may know, he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. I think this is a travesty on the part of nature. A painful irony that a man who is so intelligent and survives on using his brain to write stories, is having it eaten away and has trouble reading and writing.

I’ve just watched a documentary he’s done on his first year living with Alzheimer’s. I wouldn’t have said he was any different to any other ageing man, a little forgetful and eyesight going, but nothing excessive. But towards the end, it showed him at a fan’s convention for Discworld novels. He did a special read of a few chapters of his new novel. It got to the point where he couldn’t read his own work. I guess the more tired he got, the bigger impact the slow degradation had on his abilities.

I have to be honest though, I didn’t feel overly sorry for him. I think it was his reaction to the whole thing. He gave the impression that, yes, it is a very serious affliction, but one that he would soon conquer. The only time my heart sank for him was when he was doing the convention reading. You could hear in his voice the confusion and total lack of understanding. It was hard to believe that that same man has written over 40 of the most intelligent books I’ve ever read.

I have always said that whatever happens to me, I pray I never lose my mind. Quite happy for people to look after me physically, but mentally is a totally different game. Physical needs don’t change the person, your dad is still the same man you love, but he can’t play football with you anymore. Your mum still gives you all the love you’ve always got, but the hugs might not be as strong. But with a mental affliction, people become strangers. Wife’s forget husbands, fathers forget sons, mothers hate their daughters.

His wife and daughter refused to be part of the show and I can totally see why. They know what is going to happen. Unfortunately, there is nothing at the moment that can stop it. They know the pain and suffering ahead and having to do a tv show that brings the fact up constantly for a total year……………… Well, I certainly couldn’t do it if I were them.

Still, he is keeping optimistic it seems about things. He’s donated £1,000,000.00 to the Alzheimer’s charity and is trying all these different things to see if it can stop or cure him. The scientists say they are close, but are they close enough?

I would like to say that it always happens to normal people and never the bastards. But then again, how do I know he’s not a total bastard?

Please leave a comment about your experiences or thoughts on Alzheimer’s and any other mental illnesses.

Things in Life to Experience Before I Die

I know it’s a sombre thought, but unfortunately, we must all die. It’s inevitable. However, what we do up til that point is called LIFE and by jove that can be a fun thing!! But of course, that is dependant on how you wish to live it…….

I think my life has been pretty full of good, fun events. I’ve seen many things (the power and beauty of a thunder-storm at sea from a Thai paradise beach), done many things (danced in Brighton with half a million people to one of the greatest DJ’s til the small hours of the morning for free) and experienced a great deal (the feeling of standing and touching a stone or building shaped and raised by people thousands of years ago). But there are still so many things I want to see and do.

So, just to waste a bit of time before I go into another mind numbing meeting, here are a few things I must do before I die (not necessarily in order):

  1. Parachute jump – I’m terrified of heights (well, falling from them anyway) but I have to try this. The rush of the air flying past your face, feeling the adrenaline pumping the moment before you jump……….
  2. Climb a mountain – I’m not talking about Scafell Pike or some other little hill, I’m talking about one of the big boys, a proper expedition type climb.
  3. Go and live with a different society to mine – Now any western country does NOT qualify. I’m from the UK, so going to France or Italy or even Australia doesn’t count. I’m talking about a completely different way of life, a family from Mumbai, a village in Papua New Guinea or a tribe in Brazil. A place where the food is totally alien, the activities are so strange and the views and beliefs confound my mind. How else to experience life?
  4. Take part in the San Fermin Festival, Pamplona, Spain – This festival is infamous for the Running of the Bulls. It’s a crazy idea, but basically, they let a load of bulls run through the streets of this tiny Spanish village and you have to run in front of them (while hitting them with a paper baton if you’re so inclined).
  5. Ride a train through India – I’ve seen it on countless tv programmes and movies, a train rolling through the beautiful Indian countryside, people hanging out of doors, stopping at remote places and having to run after the train when it leaves without you…….. Probably be real cramped and uncomfy, but hey, it’s a small price!
  6. To get a Sak Yant tattoo by a Buddhist monk – Not everyone likes tattoos or agrees with them. I, however, love them. But thats not the reason. The reason being is it’s so much more than just being tattooed. It’s part of a religious, cultural event that has gone unchanged for centuries.
  7. To see my children grow up – This one is a bit mushy, but my wife is carrying my first child and, although I am scared, it is a really exciting point in my life and I pray that I’ll be fit and able to watch him/her grow up, fall in love, succeed and fulfill their own list of Things to Experience.
  8. Do charity work – This is going to sound like a total cop-out, but I don’t seem to find the time in my life to do any sort of charity work. But in the future, I’d like to do some volunteer work in this country and abroad.
  9. Take part in a mega long road trip – I watch Top Gear and I’m always sooooooo jealous of their road trips, I’ve watched the Gumball Rally and would love to get in a nice car and travel across a continent, taking in all the sights and sounds of local life (possibly from London to Singapore or something)
  10. Life – Sounds a bit of a strange thing, but life is THE MOST exciting experience in itself. I can sit here and list all the things I want to do and try, but my biggest one is just to live my life.

Food For Thought or Food For Fools?

What a total farce!!!

This leg of ham is going on sale at £1800!!!!! Fucking awful!!!

They say it’s been bred on acorns and roots, smoked for 3 years and probably cuddled and cared for by buxom wenches, it has a special presentation box and even been made a robe by a tailor!!!!!

Am I the only one thinking this is the perfect example of all the problems our world faces. How many starving people could be fed on that £1800? That could probably kit out a village in Africa to feed themselves forever!!!

But no, some jumped up, rich twat will buy it, cook it totally wrong and get the shits. Sounds so perfect for our current world.

Gaza pain

My god…….

I’ve just been watching Ross Kemp in Gaza. I like to think I have an understanding of the situation in Gaza but I never thought of the humanitarian situation there.

People are living in the destroyed shells of their homes, living on nothing, risking their lives everyday in shoddy tunnels to smuggle in essentials.

As with all wars, the small minority are causing misery and death for everyday people. I’m sure that 90% of normal people in Gaza and Israel would happily live in peace and find a medium ground.

But how can peace be achieved when death and fighting breed further anger and violence? One young girl saw Israeli soldiers kill her mother and father, saying her mother had half a head and her fathers brains left his head.

A 24 year old man, just qualified law from university, has become a suicide bomber to avenge his parents death. When asked why, he said “war creates war, peace creates peace”. How can someone who is obviously intelligent, not see the horrible irony in his statement. But I have to say, if I were in his position and knowing who killed my parents, I’m not sure I wouldn’t do something stupid too.

I’m not saying I’m now a support of Israel or Palestine, but I’m a supporter of life and people. I wish I held the answer. It’s so heartbreaking….. Just have to watch the Israel episode.

The root of it, in my mind, is religion. I honestly believe this world would be a much better place without God!!!! How much killing must be done in His name??

Irish Sharia Law??

Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear……. I know the Irish have a sterotype in the UK if being stupid, but is this story on the BBC website proof??

It appears the Irish constitution protects all Christian beliefs. So obviously, in this day of religious and social understanding, the Irish have now introduced a Blasphemy law! €25,000 if you publically blasphem.

Now I know that Ireland is a deeply Christian (majorly catholic) country, and I’m all for protecting ones history and heritage, but I fail to see how punishing those with different beliefs to you is fair, right or Christian! Is this not the start of religious law? What’s next, prison for those working on a Sunday?

It also begs the question: if the Irish populous who support this law visit a country run by Sharia law would they abide by it? Break the law or offend God?