It took me almost 3 months to accept being back in the UK after my trip to Botswana. And after only a week in Bangladesh, here I am again revisiting those same emotions. That feeling of emptiness and sadness when you return home from an amazing trip/journey. That feeling of anger at what you have had to leave behind, the people, the projects you were building, the issues you worked on: all things I could easily spend my whole life working on in a quiet corner of the world somewhere.
Strange as it sounds, it physically aches me to be back here. While I’m immensely grateful, at the moment all I feel is displaced and like I should be elsewhere. And I just can’t seem to shake the feeling. I can’t shake the feeling of how inherently lucky and spoiled I am to live in my rich little middle class suburban life where everything is on a plate and handed to me.
All I can think about, are the great memories we created over the past week and where I am going to run towards from now. There’s one month left in this year before 2013 beckons and still a lot of work to be done – Between The White Lines needs to be ready for Jan 11th and Revolution Hive needs to be set up. It’s crazy how I’ve been given all these opportunities just because I was born in a different part of land – ICS, Uprising, Active Citizens, Rockstar Youth, Jobseekers Allowance. And all for free. At no cost to me. All I have to do is turn up and people will pat me on the back for that small deed. And I’m the one who is gaining from all of it. I find it humbling, inspiring and astounding to think about what lies at my disposal here in the UK.
But at the same time, my head is still full of stories, stories of loaned children in Myanmar, gangsters collecting disfigured villagers to beg and make them money, stories of people cutting off limbs to beg for money outside tourist hotels. My heart is still left thinking of the girls at Hope Mission, of the 17 year old orphan who is about to become a mother, of the little boy wandering the streets of Dhaka thinking he has rubies in his possession. What will happen to those kids?
Being in Bangladesh, being in Botswana – I have never felt more engaged and purposeful. It’s like a whole other part of me comes alive and takes over.
On the last day, as I was walking down one of the dusty markets in a traditional rural street I couldn’t explain the peace I felt. One thing I’ve learned is that travelling the world is exploring your self, because you ARE the world and it is you. The reality you see is just the result of what you choose to focus on. And by seeing these different places and people, the only thing you are ever really exploring is your own self, the only thing you are really delving deeper into, is your own character and purpose. The deeper you dig, the more depth you create.
These aren’t just words or pieces of wisdom from some great sage anymore. It’s beginning to really sink in and become absorbed into who I am. I can’t tell you how unsettling and restless it has made me. The more answers I get, the more questions I have and the more grey things become.
If there is one thing I am sure of though, it is that my future lies outside the UK. Deep down, I’ve known it for months. It’s too comfortable here. I’m too comfortable here. I need to get out there, I need to explore.
I was born into a position I absolutely must utilise while I have time. I must make something of it, of my opportunities, of my skills and of my life. And I can think of no better way or better time to do that than now.
As young people we aren’t tomorrow’s leaders. We aren’t the next generation of leaders. We aren’t the future any-more We are the leaders today, and if we are serious about change and about the kind of world we want to live in, we must make haste and start today…
Because the world is waiting. And it’s a call too loud for me to ignore.