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I am currently reading Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts. A great novel and interesting provider of insight into Indian culture and its ways.

This is a quote that intrigues me (P367) “When we act even in the best intentions, when we interfere with the world, we always risk a new disaster that mightn’t be of our making, but that wouldn’t occur without out action”.

This quote is relevant to my interest, and to a certain degree, concerns about charity work.

I would like to place myself in a situation whereby I am helping those who most need it. But here lies the problem – if you educate and help people and increase their chances of opportunity then what if these opportunities do not exist. All then you have done is provide a false sense of hope.

A false sense of hope is a dangerous concept. It can lead to apathy, drug abuse, violence etc. This is something that I must keep aware of and will be one of the biggest challenges surrounding the charity aspect of my trip.

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Some people say that that was the quickest mid life crisis they have ever seen. Hit fourty and quit my job to go travelling, bang just like that. Well I actually handed in my notice two days before my birthday, so I guess it was just, slightly, pre mid life crisis. Furthermore, I believe that I will live to 93 so that pushes the crisis well into the realm of pre pre mid life crisis.

What is more, lets face it, life is full of crisis – the type of crisis that is easy to deny. Crammed on public transport as we suffer a job we don’t really want to do, only to pay for our overpriced existence. Violence in the papers, war, death and plague spurting from televisions, bread going stale etc.

Crisis is everywhere. We can hide this crisis and place it under the banner of “Not my problem” or “It is the way that it is” or “Things will get better”. We can accept that crisis is not part of the crisis. Most importantly we have to question, does it make me feel good?

So every good plan needs a plan.

Quit job and work out 3 month notice. This will allow the company plenty of time to re structure itself and figure out what on earth I did for them.

Carry out one month TEFL (Teaching English as a foreign Language) course. It’s always good to have a safety net as fall back. Also it makes my English betterer and will aid in learning something foreign.

Move to India. Everything about the country facinates me. Plus, I love curry and yoga.

In India I intend to carry out atleast 3 months charity work. Not too sure of the reasons behind this yet. Whether it is: maybe I am a good person or maybe I need the impression that I am a good person or maybe I do these things and become a good person. This I am not sure of.

After the charity work, for whatever its reasons, I intend to travel. I want to see as much of India as possible, spend time in Ashrams, travel to Nepal and go to Everest base camp, travel to Myanmar (Burma) and catch a boat to the Andaman and Nicobar islands. 

Carrying out Yoga, photography, writing and getting close to the people and culture are essential to the plan.

Over the coming months this plan will evolve. Place names, time and goals will hang off it like a brightly decorated Christmas tree. Eventually there will be a structure to the plan where all its integral parts will exist in symbiotic to one another with enough space to grow and be fluid.

Planning the plan builds the dream in the head. The dream becomes the future and ultimately becomes the past.

The English (from Old English) are a nation and ethnic group native to England and who speak English. The largest single population of English people reside in England, one of the constituent countries of the United Kingdom.

Zen (Japanese:) or chán (Chinese:) or Sŏn (Korean:) is a school of Mahāyāna Buddhism notable for its emphasis on mindful acceptance of the present moment, spontaneous action, and letting go of self-conscious, judgmental thinking.

It emphasizes dharma practice and experiential wisdom—particularly as realized in the form of meditation known as zazen—in the attainment of awakening. As such, it de-emphasizes both theoretical knowledge and the study of religious texts in favor of direct individual experience of one’s own true nature.

On February 11th 2008 at precisely 11.45 AM I, Colin Laidlaw, handed in my notice at my regular job.  

Regular work, regular money, regular friends, regular faces, regular conversations, regular annoyances, regular habits, regular sandwich at the regular sanwich shop, being a regular at the regular’s place at the regular bar.

Regular as I knew it will never be regular again!

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