Thursday, February 26, 2004

Everyone knows that there's no place like home. But I'm just seeking refuge in a world full of storms. Washed up on a distant shore. Can't go home anymore.

I've just had some brilliant news.

I've been accepted by VSO.

It may take a while, but in the not too distant future, I will be working abroad. Hopefully I will be using my skills to make people's lives better rather then just making rich people richer.

As you can imagine, I'm dead chuffed. But there's also a sense of enormity as to what I am about to undertake. Making rich people richer is one thing - but soon people could be relying on me to help them make money simply to feed themselves and their families.

We all have doubts as to our own abilities. And just as I know where my strengths lie, I can also perceive a few weaknesses. Can I afford to have weaknesses in such a critical situation?

Of course, however, these concerns are more than diluted with the feeling of exhilaration. The chances are I will end up in Africa or Eastern Europe. Might I be tucking into a supper of sheep's eyeballs in Mongolia while wearing everything I own to fight off the -40 degree cold?

Or will I be sharing a mud hut with a family of six? Right now, sitting in my lovely Newcastle home it seems almost absurd, but I am sure I can do it.

Most of all I would love to go back to Asia. As anyone who has read Space Hardware before will know - I love Vietnam. To live there for two years would be a dream come true. Then there's the other stops on my South East Asia tour - Cambodia, Malaysia, and Thailand.

Near neighbours Indonesia would be fantastic too. If you ever get the chance read what John Pilger has to say on Indonesia - it is a fascinating country, albeit yet another entry on the list of countries that the West needs to apologise to.

I have recently read Slow Boats to China and its author Gavin Young makes the Philippines sound like a fantastic place. In addition, I have always had a hankering to visit Sri Lanka. India, like Africa, scares me a little but Sri Lanka has an air of "India Lite". In other words, if the guidebooks are to be believed, it has the mysticism, the sunshine and the views (not to mention curries) without the overcrowding and squalor.

Of course though Sri Lanka has its own "war on terror" with the Tamil Tigers. There's a group of freedom fighters/terrorists that need a brand makeover. "Tamil Tigers" makes them sound like a crap rugby league team.

Most of all though, on a day when our Prime Minister has once again embarrassed us in front of the world with his hilarious bugging antics, I am just glad to be getting out of the UK.

I am enormously proud to be a Geordie, I am enormously proud of Newcastle. I think regional pride works. But for some reason nationalism amongst British people just manifests itself as racism and imperialist behaviour.

I'm tired of the tabloid rants against asylum seekers, I am tired of our toadying to the USA and I'm tired of this country's inability to get itself steamed up enough to boot out a PM who has behaved deplorably. From "sexing up" to bugging - it's the kind of behaviour you would expect from Nixon, Kissinger or Bush (junior or senior) not from a country that is supposed to pride itself on fair play. Then again, perhaps our illusion of fair play is just a mental tool we use to justify the bad behaviour to ourselves.

So, I'm not off yet. However when I go my plan is to carry on the blog - an Internet connection willing.

And just you wait, the very second I leave this country Newcastle United will finally win something.

Love, light and peace,


I saw two shooting stars last night I wished on them but they were only satellites. It's wrong to wish on space hardware. I wish, I wish, I wish you'd care.