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Tag: The Big Bang

Let me tell you that I love you, and I think about you all the time

‘Maybe Tomorrow’ by Sterophonics has been on heavy rotation in my Chill The Eff Out playlist for this whole trip, most likely because it’s used on Long Way Round, so it was somehow already intrinsically connected. But it’s on an album called ‘You Gotta Go There To Come Back’, which is a phrase that’s been bouncing around my brain since I boarded my first train at Waverley in November. I had unexpectedly got to a place I never really considered I’d be, which is, loving the place I live in so much that I missed it before I even left.

It’s not true of everyone who travels like this, but a majority of the people I’ve met along the way have some sort of restlessness with where they come from. Sometimes they’re a bit bored of it, sometimes they’re indifferent, and sometimes they flat out hate the place. Those are as good reasons as any to find somewhere new for a while, but I have no such negativity towards my home. I did not aim to get (or run) away from anything – except possibly my old job, but I could have easily done that without leaving the city.

What’s happening here is more like the fulfillment of something I’ve been thinking about for such a long time that it felt like I’d be doing myself a disservice NOT to go. The idea of this trip felt strange and not necessarily impossible, but so big it couldn’t possibly happen in my normal life. So of course I had to prove that wrong. Now that I’m at the end of it it still feels that way. It’s really hard to believe I’ve just done all the stuff I’ve done in the last three months. Rolling into St Petersburg feels like a lifetime ago. This will all fade into a sort of memory legend quite quickly, and I suspect sometimes it will feel as though it never happened.

But I had to go there to come back. Not many people get the chance to prove to themselves they are precisely where they need to be. That’s not what I set out to do. I just wanted to see some stuff really. There was no big deeper meaning or life changing goal. It wasn’t as much of a why as a why not?

Perhaps I’m a bit more patient in some ways, or slightly more adaptable to difficult situations. Maybe my problem solving or resilience is better. Hopefully I’m a slightly better dancer. But I’m still mostly the same. In a bit of an email chat with a friend the other day, he said that clearly I must be tired of being alone because it means I’ve got no one to kick off to. And I laughed because not 30 minutes earlier, I’d been walking down the street thinking, ‘WHY IS IT THAT EVERY HUMAN BEING EVERYWHERE ON THIS PLANET CANNOT WALK DOWN THE STREET WITHOUT THEIR FACE IN THEIR FUCKING PHONE’ (seriously though, why?) but I had no one to rant to. So it’s true – more patient on the outside I may well be, but I am still quick to call out the world’s bullshit. Some things will never change.

Anyway. If you’ve been reading this you know that I was kind of ready to go home a few weeks ago, but I had this one last weekend to look forward to – my first international swing dance camp. This trip has been powered on many things, but predominantly: free WiFi, the kindness of strangers, and Lindy Hop.

Dancing in the street. (Photo credit to Big Bang Swing.)

Dancing in the street. (Photo credit to Big Bang Swing.)

I have been welcomed like family to so many places just because I dance, and I really don’t think this trip would have been as amazing as it was without that. I couldn’t have asked for a better way to end it than The Big Bang. To the point where I teared up when writing a thank you on the Bangkok Swing Facebook page because there is really no way it could have been better, and I appreciated the awesomeness of it all even more because of the low-ish place I’d been in the week or so before. Lindy has not only saved every low moment of this trip, it has turned it around into something joyful and magical. Everywhere I danced was great, but Bangkok was truly the best.

Now I’m sitting in the airport (a novelty!) drinking a very strong coffee to combat my total exhaustion from the weekend and waiting to finally go home. I am. So. Happy. About that.

So. Thank you to everyone who put me up, showed me around, woke up early to call me taxis in their language, made me breakfast, bought me lunch, dropped me off, picked me up, jumped in lakes with me, and ordered local food for me. And of course thank you to everyone who danced with me.

Thanks to my rockstar friends who all provided support from afar via some form of modern technology at some point along the way. Every short message and long chat was appreciated more than you know.

Thanks to my family for trying to understand all this and not worrying too much too openly.

And I end with another thing in my regular rotation. You may have seen this coming. It’s the best song for the occasion.

See you soon, Scotland.

Dancin’ everywhere

Dancing in Stockholm will be just like this, right? Right.

This blog is now one year old. I’ve started many blogs over the years, but this is the first one I’ve managed to write in regularly for an extended period of time. This is the 99th post. I can’t really believe it, but there you go.

Not everything I’ve written has been particularly noteworthy, but I feel like there have definitely been a few good pieces. And perfection was never the goal – this has more been an exercise in will power and perseverance. It’s hard to keep your eyes on a goal when the payoff is so far away. When I decided to properly plan my Trans-Siberian trip after 10 years of thinking about it, I knew I couldn’t go right away, because: money. But I needed something to keep me focused, so a self-imposed assignment seemed like the thing to do.

I’ve had some big ups and downs in the course of the past year of planning for this. And some incredibly instrumental outside shoves in the right direction. I’m now in the kind of pre-final stages of planning, in that I’m waiting for the time when booking opens up for the trains that I need and the time is right for applying for visas. It’s been the most frustrating stage yet, because I’ve committed, but there’s not much to do but wait for the gates to open.

But committing myself to writing here has been more of a help to focus than I imagined it would be. Sometimes I’ve hated my self-imposed deadlines, but sometimes they’ve produced some fantastic, last-minute, honest writing that I may not have done otherwise. And a few times they’ve gotten me out of some serious ruts, in writing and, once or twice, in life.

The shape of this blog will continue to change as I get closer to this trip, and of course, when I’m finally on it. The shape of the trip itself continues to shift. Lindy Hop has become a pretty major part of my life in the past year, somewhat unexpectedly, and the idea of leaving it behind for three months is not something I’ve been too thrilled about lately. So I’ve been trying to figure out how to integrate it in my plans. I keep having to remind myself that this is MY trip and it can morph into whatever I feel like it should be.

Last week, when I was doing a trawl of swing dance websites for new info on things that might be happening in my planned path, I found out that there’s a big swing dance camp weekend planned in Bangkok for the last weekend I’m supposed to be away. I felt like this was the universe going ‘Hey, THIS IS FOR YOU!’ It’s at a fancy resort, and as it’s a week before my birthday and the end of what will likely be a pretty crazy trip, I decided I definitely have to go for it. A holiday from a holiday. With a lot of sweating, but it’s Southeast Asia, so I’ll be sweating constantly anyway. May as well work for it. (I don’t know how much it will cost yet, but money is a thing I still have time to make a bit more of, so I’m trying to.)

But then of course, I thought, I can’t go to a hardcore, full-on Lindy weekend after not having danced at all for nearly 3 months.


That got me looking more seriously into where I can dance along the way. And there are LOADS of places. I need not take 3 full months off. I can quite literally dance everywhere. Stockholm, Moscow, Beijing, Shanghai, Hanoi, Saigon, Phnom Penh, Bangkok, and who knows where else in between. It doesn’t mean I’ll do nothing but dance, but it’s one thing I can do to make me feel more at home in the world. And as the Lindy community is one of the most friendly, enthusiastic, welcoming, and lovely I’ve ever encountered, it seems to me a fantastic way to meet people from all over with an instant common interest.

And just like that, Lindy has become part of the thing. A bit of a boost while I wait for those gates to open.