"Open Your Mind" Stippleeffect's Profile
The desire to travel and see the world doesn’t come naturally to me. Four years ago I was happy in my own little world, living to work and walking along the steady line in life. Then I had that all important epiphany that made me look at life differently. Although I’d never want to repeat the circumstances that brought such a reflection about, I’ve come to believe that things happen for a reason. I’ll never be at ease travelling and exploring places. It is something that I’ve got to force myself to do. To step outside my comfort zone and try to do the things that others breeze through. I’m not a risk-taker, nor do I have the desire to go off the beaten track and visit obscure places – not yet. To me, the purpose of experiencing the lives and cultures of others is as much about what you learn about yourself than the photos you take.
Sharing an experience and meeting people is great but replace it with solitude and my happiness shall remain the same. It’s not what we do; it’s how we do it. If I philosophise instead of taking in a breath-taking view, travel for a day rather than a week – then my journey will still have been worthwhile. In five months back-packing round Australia I learnt more about myself than in the previous 31 years. The effect it has had on me has been profound – ‘life-changing’, if you’ll forgive the cliché.
I don’t want to be a year-long traveller, I need the mental stimulation that work gives me and more importantly I don’t ever want to lose that ‘wow factor’ you get when seeing a beautiful sunset or river gorge for the first time. In some place you can be spoilt by such things and it’s important you view each one on its merits without comparison. Wandering aimlessly for 3-6 months is suffice.
Despite seeing countless natural wonders and man-made alike, meeting amazing people and the many journeys in between, it’s the little subtle things that I’ve noticed the most since I returned home. Subconsciously, on many levels, I’ve changed. I’m more patient and understanding, less aggressive and judgemental. Happier. Depression will no longer be able to get hold on me. Bizarrely, I now have an appreciation for architecture.
Strangely though, without having conceived such ideas, I’m now more environmentally-friendly. I refuse to use plastic carrier bags; I don’t leave things on Stand-by, nor needlessly waste water or food. I try to recycle as much as I can but am by no means perfect.
The more I travel the more I’m amazed how it reflects upon my life – It only seems appropriate to continue the trend =)
Aug 05- Jan 06 Australia
July 06 – Scotland
Aug 06 – Netherlands, Belgium & France
Apr 07 - Denmark, Sweden & Norway
July 07 - Canada/USA (East Coast)
Oct 07 - France
Feb 08 - Denmark (Copenhagen) & Sweden (Malmo)
July 08 - France
Zip....nada...absolutely nothing...I seem to be taking a hiatus from travelling this latter half of the year =/
Unless you're a fellow 'leftie' then I doubt you'll understand my passion at being left-handed. Simply, I have my mother to thank. She was schooled in the mid-1950's - a time where being left-handed was simply not tolerated and having your dominant left hand tied behind your back and being forced to use your weaker right-hand, wasn’t uncommon! Unsurprisingly my mother developed bitterness towards her being forced to adapt to a 'right-handed world'.
So, when her youngest son was found to share her left handedness she resolved to make sure I learnt everything the 'right way (the left-handed way)' of doing things. I never really discovered the extent of my mother's dedication to this until I started school and realised that I did certain things differently to my classmates e.g. I couldn’t sit and write on the right-hand side of a table, I held my knife & fork differently etc. Bizarrely though, I could never use left-handed scissors, still can't in fact!
It was something that I thought about a lot during my schooling as I was mercilessly picked on because of it - in plain, to those who mocked me, I was 'cack/gammy handed, a dirty person, a devil worshiper etc. I distinctly remember one day when I tearfully shared my problems with my mother, she said something to me that I will never forget - she told me 'Left-handed people are special son, that’s why there are so few of us' =)
It still brings a smile to my face thinking of it now. It is also a mantra that I have shared with every left-hander I have subsequently met.
Thankfully, my mother ensured I never gripped a pen or pencil in the bent-wrist fashion that a lot of lefties do - thus despite the stereotype, I do not have scruffy handwriting nor do I smudge when I write. When my mother taught me to knit she had to use a mirror to teach me the left-handed way of doing it simply because she was forced to learn right-handed! Now that’s what I call dedication!
Now I’m older and wiser, I'm proud to be different and do things differently. I literally do everything the left-handed way with the exception of playing golf, a game I have played right-handed for over 15 years until I discovered six months ago that I was actually just as good at playing left-handed!
I've always been intrigued by the stigma attached to being left-handed, it is something that is common throughout the world - like many other things it is completely groundless and mainly comes from superstition and hearsay.
Regardless, I'm a passionate leftie - obsessive to an extent.
David Wolman's book - 'A Left-Hand Turn Around The World' gives a fascinating insight into the origins, beliefs and discrimination towards being left-handed. For example, in a small area of South-Yorkshire there are 81 colloquial words for being left-handed! Moreover, as a percentage of the world's population there are now more left-handers than ever before. In short, we're slowly taking over the world – ‘There has to be an advantage to being left-handed otherwise evolution would have eliminated us!’
I'll leave you with an excerpt of the books final paragraph:
'So the next time someone asks how left-handers are different, reply by saying they're special. And that science can prove it!'
Seems like my mother was 'right' after all!!! =)
My VT Left-Handedness Study
Genes. Normally considered a curse as it slowly dawns on you how much you’ve become like your mother/father. It’s only in the two years since my mother passed that I’ve discovered how many of her characteristics/traits I’ve actually inherited. Rather than being depressed at such a revelation, I consider it a god-send. Apart from possessing the same ability to be stubborn, obstinate and principled, and all the other subtle idiosyncrasies that define our personality, there is one characteristic above all that I’m proud to have gained from my mother. A passion for literature. Whereas my mother read trashy Mills & Boons novels and was a slave to a ‘good’ Barbara Cartland and Catherine Cookson tome, my tastes are somewhat more diverse. Even so, the desire to always have a book handy and constantly be on the lookout for the next read is what separates my mother and I from the rest of our family.
My passion is non-fiction. The need to live and learn about the past and a range of other topics is paramount for me, however there is no direction or order as to what I read and why. Fiction holds little attraction apart from the odd classic such as Dickens, Orwell, Wells and indiscriminate children’s texts that my employment demands.
I desire to have the clichéd Study with floor-to-ceiling oak bookcases containing a litany of obscure titles from yester year et al.
Over the years, I’ve developed some reading quirks. Firstly, I have to purchase a new copy of any book I wish to read – no hand-me-down dog-eared editions ever grace my palm! Secondly, I refuse to ever read the same book more than once, despite the attraction of seeing the text from a different perspective second time round, I’d much rather learn something new from a different book. Lastly, I have to have my next book ready and waiting on top of my bookcase. My Amazon shopping basket has at least 6 titles ready to be ordered!
Strangely, I can never recall sitting alongside my mother as a child and reading to/with her. Nevertheless, there were always plenty of books in the lounge during my childhood and I’ll always be eternally grateful that I inherited such a passion. Hence why, the first book I picked up following my mother’s death was the one she failed to finish.
Dandy In The Underworld - Sebastian Horsley Autobiography of the english writer and artist.
The Diving-Bell And The Butterfly - Jean Dominique Bauby The remarkable account of the author's devastating stroke and paralysis and his subsequent battle to compose this book by his only means of communication, the blinking of an eye!!
My Dark Places - James Ellroy The famed american crime-writer details his obsession with attempting to solve the murder of his mother in 1958
Fahrenheit 9/11 - Michael Moore A non-fiction account of the popular film, includes the original screenplay and supplementary evidence to support claims made in the film.
Brave New World - Aldous Huxley A rare foray into fiction...a utopian society where promiscuity is the norm, is stunned by the arrival of 'The Savage'.
Into The Wild - Jon Krakauer The incredible story of Chris McCandless who donated his worldly goods to charity and hitchhiked across the USA and onwards to Alaska...unbenownst to his family and friends. A fascinating tale of courage and naivety in equal measure.
The Hollywood Book Of Death - James Parish 'Does exactly what it says on the tin'! A detailed account of the demise of film stars past and present. An intruiging read for film fans!
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“Laugh and the world laughs with you, snore and you sleep alone! =)”
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