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04.27.15 A year of life: London to India

A year of life: London to India

In April of 2014, after months of saving money and fighting with my family, living alone, crashing on friends' couches and working a few terrible jobs, I bought a plane ticket to London and left for a two-year stay permitted by a working holiday visa. I'm here in Rishikesh looking back and forward at the same time, feeling more like a ghost than a man. I just feel the need to share the whole story, as it is, so maybe someone can make some sense of it. I was on this site years ago under the same name but was banned (can't remember why) - I remember something always positive came from sharing your life on this site so I wanted to see if it still does.
1Sufjan Stevens
Carrie and Lowell

I arrived in London in April with the hopes of being a musician, writer and filmmaker, carrying only a suitcase, a twelve string guitar and a sense of optimism far beyond what my abilities would prove to fulfil. In my first week, I fell into a deep depression and wondered to myself what I was doing there and what business I had being anywhere. After the first week I found work as a ktichen porter in Camden and though working I contiued to move from hostel to hostel. A month later I found a room in a flat in Kentish Town for eighty quid a week with a middle-aged woman named Maya (who I later found out to be an alcoholic). Within the first week of being there I recorded four or five demos and began playing shows at open-mic nights in East London and as a supporting act to local bands and over a few months and a few shows I had little success in making any sort of impression and had little morale left to continue. I fell into the same mood I had the week I arrived.
2Kendrick Lamar
To Pimp A Butterfly

Despite my best intentions, I had failed to write anything in the way of songs or literature and was spiralling quickly into a depression that showed, which my coworkers noticed but took no care as to enquire. Four months after I had arrived I quit my job and began living on friends' couches while I attempted to scrape together the pieces of my life into some tangible direction. I had met at the time some film students at a Hindu festival in Trafalgar Square and had been invited by them to work on a comedy short that they were putting together as part of their own series. We filmed the short in three days and in that time I managed to scramble together a script for a short film I wanted to do. After filming was completed, I set aobut filming my own short with borrowed equipment on borrowed time. With the help of those I'd worked with before, we shot the film in a small sound studio in Brixton.
3Kendrick Lamar
good kid, m.A.A.d city

With what we had captured I set about editing the footage into some tangible product but quikcly realized that the footage was, to my dismay, disastrous and utterly unusable. By that time Winter was setting in. The sun was rising at nine o'clock in the morning and setting at four in the afternoon and there was a low fog around London for most of the day. The streets of Soho where I spent more and more time were utterly desolate, always packed with people but seeming devoid of humanity. The rest of that Winter was a dark time of which I will probably never speak. I remember in mid-November after a trip to Paris talking to a friend, in a little cafe in Brick Lane, aobut the East, about India and I told him of the incredible feeling I'd had flying over there on my way to London. He was telling me about yoga and the different ashrams he had been to in RIshikesh.
4Frank Ocean
Channel Orange

I asked him what it costed to live in the East and he said that one could live on a hundred quid a month, and with that I took what remained of my savins and bought a plane ticket to Nepal. After two months in a village just outside Kathmandu, having written a book and recorded an album in the two-bedroom flat I had rented, I left India with my Russian friend with the intention of doing a nine-day healing course, but after a week in Kolkata and five days in Navadwip the course was cancelled and we parted ways, him for Vrindavan and myself for Varanasi and Haridwar. In Haridwar I discovered the books of a great yogi and his disciples that piqued my interest, and with that, I went to Rishikesh, which is where I am now. Though in Rishikesh I visited a few ashrams and attended a few yoga classes, I picked up diarrhea in the Ved Niketan ashram and have had it for a week. I am finally better, but four days ago I made the plan to go back to Nepal.
5The National

I was going to go that day, but I had a relapse and fell back into this terrible sickness and the heavy depression that comes with it. Meanwhile, the day I would have arrived back in Nepal, this huge earthquake happens. Many friends I have had their homes destroyed, although nobody I know has been killed. It certainly puts my struggles in perspective, though I must say I still suffer from terrible anxiety, self-consciousness and depression that has kept me from keeping any close friends in my life. That is really why I sought out yoga. The things I cared about one year ago are no longer a factor. I fear for my general ignorance of who/what I am in a cosmic sense and I fear for my lack of character, and this causes me tremendous anxiety on a daily basis. I hope this path through India leads me to somewhere I can bare myself, because I feel the pain of this life sometimes is too much to bear. I feel like I'm in this alone, that my suffering is mine alone.

Even though this is a delusion, still I feel totally isolated. I've thought about going back home to Australia and seeing a therapist, giving up this crazy struggle for self-understanding. But something in the pit of my stomach tells me it will only get worse there. So all I can do is see where this journey leads me, whether to deeper struggles or to higher ground? I don't know.
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