I’m in London right now. It’s Monday. It’s late. I’m sitting on the tube, heading home. It’s raining. In June… (this is not surprising to anyone who lives in England).
My friend Sarah invited me to a podcast recording in Kings Cross on the spur of the moment and I thought, why not? It’s as good a way as any to spend a Monday evening. The podcast presenter thanked us all for coming out in these scary times and there was this collective shift of shoulders, an ‘of course we came out’ squaring off. This was also, not surprising.
I’ve been a Londoner for 12 years. In lots of neighbourhoods. I’ve come from lots of different places. I wasn’t born here, but now I belong here, as much as we belong anywhere. This is a strange introduction to what is basically going to be an account of getting as far away from here as it is geographically possible to get.
About a year ago my sister and I realised that we wanted to make tracks out of England. Yes, this was around the time that the country tripped over its own complacency and face-planted into Brexit chaos, and yes, across the pond things were going even more batshit. (Nothing I have seen since has convinced me that this instinct was wrong, though I am writing this 3 days before the General Election… go Jezza) But there were other, more influencing factors to our decision…
Like a lot of people have done lately I started to really look at the state of the country and the world. I didn’t like much of what I saw. I think we’ve all gotten a glimpse behind the curtain. I think it’s becoming clear that we have been kidding ourselves about a lot of things. My ignorance about the way different people live their lives and the way the western world operates has been in the back of my mind for some time now, like a leaky kitchen tap, dripping louder and louder. I can’t take it any more.
I want to be an explorer. I want the leaky tap drip to stop. I want to join the global community, and not moan about being part of the British community. I want to behave like and believe I can make the world better by my actions. I want to banish my fear of the ‘other’ and embrace the different. I don’t need a security blanket anymore… I need a backpack.