World trip – Day One

You join me at the best possible time. Boarding a plane. Looking down the gap between the door and the jetway. Makes you feel strange going into, what is essentially, a large metal tube. Soon to be a large metal tube 35,000 feet in the air. A large metal tube that seems to have the same ant infestation as your kitchen cupboards.

Breathe a sigh of relief, you’ve taken off and you’re not dead. I tend to do that at least. Theres something deep within us all that can’t help but imagine “What if we started to nose-dive – or the tail brakes off – or this tilt turns into a barrel-roll”.

I feel silly confessing this, I have willingly jumped out of an aeroplane – twice! Both times attached to a man I’d met 15 minutes before. The second time in no more than shorts and a t-shirt. So for me to be planning the last few seconds of my life every time we hit the slightest turbulence seems absurd… I guess that’s human nature – stubbornly ignorant.

Twelve relatively comfortable hours later – watching 3 star movies. Documentaries on Planets & the universe. Pee’ing twice. Wondering why on earth only aeroplanes have headphones with two mini-jacks (rendering my new Dr. Dre beats useless) – We land.

The familiarity of stepping off a jet in a new country makes me feel like James Bond. I clutch Mary’s hand all the way through the airport. She’s been here before and knows the score. We fly through customs and lift our packs off the conveyor. Its time for the bit I’ve been waiting for since we landed. The one step after the air-conditioned airport.

Heat hits you like every english summer you’ve ever had all at once. This is where you pause. Turn to Mary (unless you happen to be with someone else) and beam a smile of relief. A smile of excitement. A smile of an adventure starting.

The inevitable happens after this brief moment of joy. A truly evil force in the world. One of gut wrenching slime and soul shattering filth. The airport taxi service. For the pleasure of bad driving, bad manners and bad smells – you seem to be paying the cretin roughly three times more than you should. My advice – either walk the 14 miles to your hotel or buy a used car on Craigslist the day before (it’ll probably be cheaper!).

The next part of the agenda is echoed around the world after a twelve-hour flight – sleep. Grunt at the hotel staff. Lug your belongings to the lift. Decipher the room keys unique method of access. Sleep. Don’t worry – the world will be out there when you wake up. Kiss Mary (that parts just for me) and sleep.

Sleep.

sleep

sle-

For Writers (and those with opinions of any calibre)

If you don’t know what you want to write, my suggestion is, don’t become a writer.

Those who choose to write for a living are generally the type of people who are quiet when out for the monthly ‘we must invite so-and-so round for dinner darling, i hear she has a new man and we simple must meet him’. Quiet only due to the fact that ‘so-and-so’ casually slips into dinner conversation that she met Mr. Blah-Blah because Sagittarius happened to be in her favour that week of her menstrual cycle. Or that they’re meant to be together because they both went to the same church as children and the Bible that she dropped on her way home from sunday school happened to be the same colour as his t-shirt the day he bought a new copy of the old testament. Upon hearing such utter nieavities your better half more the suggests with a unmistaken look that ‘quiet’ is exactly how you should remain (At least that is until Mr. Blah-Blah and whats-her-face have left earshot). In short, in my opinion, a writer must have an opinion.

Furthermore – said opinion should be of the calibre to warrant it being committed to  text. Every jolly-do-gooder has an opinion on the world but when such gems as ‘”fucking who talkin shit bout me so just don’t alright??” plague my Facebook feed everyday i wonder if the term ‘limited’ truly gives justice to these people’s capabilities. Maybe I’m just a stickler for good old-fashioned diplomacy. Don’t make the mistake of thinking I don’t have outbursts of emotion from time to time (especially confronted with aforementioned theologists) but I like to exhibit a slight more tact then my keyboard thumping Facebook friend.

I have been distracted from my point, like in the film Tron where you cruise along at insane speeds and then fly off on a tangent equally as fast, I have ‘tron’ed’ from my subject – writers.

    I am currently reading a book entitled ‘C.E.O of the sofa’ by P. J. O’Rourke. His background is journalism and he brings across through his past papers a truly remarkable sense of humour in the most unlikely situations. A full review of the book will be penned as soon as I finish but until then I would like to mis-quote his text if I may (I mis-quote only due to the fact that his book is currently in the jumbled accumulation of all my belongings, sitting on the hotel room floor. I, however, am trying to escape the blisteringly cold chill of an AC unit which knows two settings – arctic and off)

P. J. O’Rourke on the subject of Women hiding all the secrets of success in the business world in ‘how to manage with a toddler’ books

“I suppose women thought men would never read these books. Or women thought these books would be read by the kind of man who bikes to his job at the organic food co-op–not a threat to promotion. Anyway, women didn’t work very hard at putting their percipience into code. Even a bored chairman could crack it. Examine the following passage, allegedly about biting…”

He then takes a passage from the children’s book and replaces characters with ‘executive assistants’ and ‘account supervisors’ and the passage plays out in a completely new light. Seemingly confirming his theory of a secret sisterhood of business-women who pass on vital information through ‘123… the toddler years’.

Thats what I love about writers. They can take any mundanity and put their opinion on it, Transforming not only the way they look at the world, but, with a little ingenuity and the right linguistics, the way the reader looks at the world. So, back to my point. If you don’t know what you want to write, my suggestion is, don’t become a writer. Maybe that should read ‘If you lack an opinion worth writing’

Plan How To Change Your Life Forever

    I’m going to talk about the way I looked at the next few years of my life, more specifically the ways I planned it all. I’m not saying that my ‘to do’ list is going to be the same as yours but I will say that there is a method you can use (exactly like I did) to see what your short (and long) term future could look be. I will say at this point that if you want to understand how I got to this point then go back and read my earlier blogs about How to earn money quick and where to begin? 

 

Now the answer to how exactly to go about planning a life different to your day-to-day routine is both the easiest question you’ve ever been asked and the most difficult. the funny thing is, we all know and we’ve all been asked it…

 

Alan Watts made a speech that i can never forget,  I’ll let you decide what to make of it…

 

(Click here to hear the speech yourself in a new window)

 

 

 

“So I always ask the question: What would you like to do if money were no object? How would you really enjoy spending your life? Well it’s so amazing as the result of our kind of educational system, crowds of students say ‘Well, we’d like to be painters, we’d like to be poets, we’d like to be writers’ But as everybody knows you can’t earn any money that way! Another person says ‘Well I’d like to live an out-of-door’s life and ride horses.’ I said ‘You wanna teach in a riding school?’


Let’s go through with it. What do you want to do? When we finally got down to something which the individual says he really wants to do I will say to him ‘You do that! And forget the money!’ Because if you say that getting the money is the most important thing you will spend your life completely wasting your time! You’ll be doing things you don’t like doing in order to go on living – that is to go on doing things you don’t like doing! Which is stupid! Better to have a short life that is full of which you like doing then a long life spent in a miserable way. And after all, if you do really like what you are doing – it doesn’t really matter what it is – you can eventually become a master of it. It’s the only way of becoming the master of something, to be really with it. And then you will be able to get a good fee for whatever it is. So don’t worry too much, somebody is interested in everything. Anything you can be interested in, you’ll find others who are.

 

 

But it’s absolutely stupid to spend your time doing things you don’t like in order to go on spending things you don’t like, doing things you don’t like and to teach our children to follow the same track. See, what we are doing is we are bringing up children and educating to live the same sort of lives we are living. In order they may justify themselves and find satisfaction in life by bringing up their children to bring up their children to do the same thing. So it’s all wretch and no vomit – it never gets there! And so therefore it’s so important to consider this question

 

 

What do I desire?” 

 

 

 

 

    Upon hearing this for the first time the words struck a chord within me. I think this is true for a lot of people. His words simply make sense. What he talks about makes sense. The best thing is he is telling you that you don’t need some magic potion to be happy, you don’t need the money or the education. All you NEED is already possessed by you – the clarity of mind to sit down and think to yourself ‘what do i enjoy’



    I did just that, i thought about everything from if a university degree would make me happy, or if I wanted to become a teacher, if I loved film enough to try to make a career in that… In the end I wrote a list. I sat down and wrote a list of things I want to do. now these were not all sensible, they were not all practical and they definitely were not all going to change the world but nether-the-less I wrote down things like…



see the sunrise and sunset in the same day.

Fire a big gun

play a song on guitar

live in another country

sing in public





    My list is not finished (and may never be) but the important thing to me was I could see them. I could look at this piece of paper and see goals to head toward. You want to know how to plan a life changing future for yourself? Start by asking yourself exactly what you want in life, if you do that then it will not matter if its boring, stupid or completely insane because its YOURS. If you can write 5 things today that you would love to do tomorrow and end up doing one of them because of it then its WORTH DOING.

 

Try and prove me wrong.






    There we have it. I had the drive and passion to leave my day-to-day life. I was earning the money I needed to leave and I had a list of things I wanted. Time to take a leap of faith…



 

How To Get Rich Quick… Get Sick!

Working two jobs, paying the rent, paying the bills. Sounds pretty average right? I mean, we all can name dozens of people doing the same thing right now. So how did i manage to save up enough cash fund my escape? Well i didn’t do it alone, I got help from an ‘unconventional’ organisation and at the same time had an unforgettable experience.

Flucamp. Yes, it is exactly what it sounds like… That is, if you thinking ‘Flucamp sounds like where you take multiple trips to the heart of London to undergo rigorous trails and tests to determine your physical capabilities, your mental capabilities and your pre-existing medical history (including genetic implications). All culminating in a Fifteen day Quarantine period as your body is introduced to a particular strain of rhino-virus, then being left to allow the infection to spread before being subject to the latest version of a manufactured chemical ‘cure’ in the hope that no adverse effects arise and the compound can be approved for use in general public’  … well if you were thinking that i would be very impressed indeed because that’s exactly what flucamp is!

The fact is, medical trails are very common. (more so when you travel further a field to places like the united states of america but nether-the-less we’ve all heard of them) and the compensation you receive (for the relatively short time it takes to complete) is huge. Not to mention the additional money you save by not having to pay for food, water or accommodation for the time you’re in there.

‘Perfect!’ I thought to myself. Hearing this medical trail was accepting applicants was music to my ears. The money they offered was substantial and would be a huge boost to my savings pot. I quite literally wasted no time in texting back to the number to request a phone interview.

Now, I realise writing this, that this method of ‘earning’ money may seem a tad extreme to some people and certainly when I told people I was planning to go ahead with it all the reactions were mixed to say the least! With the expected remarks of “you’re crazy! I’d never do that! what if you grow an extra eyeball or something?” I think my favourite comment was “I’ll see if you survive it before I ever apply”

Despite the somewhat sceptical outlook that those close to me shared, I was quite confident and even rather excited at the opportunity (not least of all because after discussing the details of the trail I learnt I was to receive three and a half thousand pounds for the time I would spend there)

So lets fast forward to after my first blood screening, they checked here if my white blood cells were correct, they were. Continue past my second physical screening where my lung and heart were put under scrutiny… I passed. All the way up to my first day in the quarantine unit… The picture is me on the first day in a rather fetching face mask. No contact with anyone for the next two weeks. Now a full review of my time in flucamp would take far to long to write about here… So if anyone is interested as much as I was at the thought of this (or any other medical trail) then you can see the Vlog I made whilst inside. One video each day the whole way through.

The long and short of it is that for two weeks of sitting in a room alone I was given three months wages.  Now if anyone can find an easier way for the average joe to make that much money then feel free to add your ideas for us all to know!

Here we go then. After making the decision to get up and do it the first priority was to increase my income with a second job. The second step for me was to find a way to dramatically increase my savings in a short space of time. Next was where it starts to get fun… how on earth do you begin to plan  your life after leaving everything you know behind. That is my next challenge…

 

The first Step To A New Life

    Rat Race. Look it up on IMDB. It’s a comedy film about a race across america and the winner gets a cash prize. It is by no means a spectacular film (although I still enjoy the end theme by Smash mouth) but its the title that caught my attention. Rat race, It describes, in a somewhat derogatory way, the struggle of everyday life in our culture. To quote another film “working jobs you hate to but shit you don’t need” the endless cycle of working to pay the bills, to survive, to spend your life in the same place and be content doing so, maybe aiming (at most) for the next promotion… Far from the hollywood-esc ideal of shooting for the stars and living ‘the dream’. Were always asked as children ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?’ as if anything is truly possible and little joe bloggs can grow up to be a billionaire-genius-astronaut-ice-cream-man when sadly (for the vast majority of people) its un-realistic to even strife toward a fraction of this adulthood.

    If this is the case, and were destined to be stuck in the ‘rat race’, it is, as far as i can see, only out of our own choosing! The people who will be remembered forever were not content with a ‘normal’ life. Every single moment of every single day each person on this planet has a choice, whether large or small, important or not or maybe just the choice to wear a smile or a frown it is these moments that make up your lifetime and ultimately guide you where your future is headed.

    You must have heard of the butterfly effect right? That concept intrigues me. The idea that each event (however small) can have a huge effect on everything that happens after it. It works too! think back to one event in your life that changed a lot. Maybe your wedding day or your first child or your first kiss, now think of what must have happened for that event to occur. If you woke up 5 minutes later on june the 5th 1996 maybe you’d have never met your future wife. That is definitely one way of looking at the line I wrote down two and a half years  ago ‘creating elegance through chaos’

    Anyway, I digress. I am supposed to be talking about how after I made a decision to leave england it came to be….

    One step at a time is the only way to begin an epic journey and here I was, about to make my first step. Co-incidentally finding my first obstacle. Money. Money is where 90% of people give up.

“i cant leave my job, how would i survive”

“some of us have bills to pay!”

“i just can’t afford to go away for 1, 2 even 3 years”

    Money is huge to us, especially in England. The things we buy are expensive and the things we save up for are luxury. When I really sat down and looked at the figures of this trip I was astonished. The flight alone was more money then I could afford to spend. Heres what I did…

    I said to myself, this IS what im going to do. I can plan to earn as much as possible before I go, I can factor in certain monitory boosts along the way but WHATEVER happens I will do this.

    I was determined. Determination is a powerful thing. I’ve always read in quotes how ‘you can do anything if you put your mind to it’ and maybe that’s not true for everything in the world but there’s a hell of a lot you can do if your willing to stick at it! My first step was a second job. Now I already worked in a school at the time, one of the finest special needs schools in England, the pay wasn’t great but the perks of the job more than compensated for that. (On a side note if anyone is bored with retail and wants to try their hand at something new… try volunteering one day a week in a school. I learnt more there in 3 years then I did throughout my teenage. I also was on a salary which means I was paid even when on school holiday which in summer is 6 weeks. not too bad at all!)

    As I was saying the first step for me was to work two jobs. I made up my mind in the morning that I would print off a new CV. I spent the morning walking around town handing it in and talking to managers and that evening I had a second job. Remember I spoke of determination? Well to all those who think ‘there’s no jobs out there’ you are simply not trying hard enough.

(Here’s me looking particularly haggard whilst working my second job, I like this picture because I remember taking it, and I remember how I felt at that specific moment. I can look at it now and feel grateful I’m not there)

So i was bringing home two wages every month. That was a huge boost to my confidence about the future. I knew at the time that I would be tired and exhausted from the mental drain of school days and the physical drain of retail work but I knew it wouldn’t be forever and the money I could afford to save at this point would greatly improve my future chances to succeed.

     I have now taken you on the first step with me. The second step was something altogether different. Something I’d never done before, and for it id have to get sick….

Where to Begin?

     I often wonder this, because I often think about committing words to a page and describing how and what I do, not from any deluded expectation that my life is grander or any more interesting then any one else’s… But the simple act of writing down your experiences and aspirations can fuel the fire to achieve more of your goals.

 

    When I read back though things i’ve wrote in the past (apart from having the hindsight to see how ignorant I may have been as an adolescent) I learn from it. I can see how much i’ve changed. I can take a rather unique perspective of my own life that I think only someone who writes can get. The fact is, we, as a species tend to forget. A lot. We take generalisations of situations for future processing but on the whole the details of our day to day life are irrelevant and therefore forgotten.

 

    It stands to reason therefore that the choices i’ve made, certainly the big decisions in my life, have stuck with me. I can remember the first cigarette I smoked. The first day I was alone in a new country. How i felt sitting on a empty bench in the middle of the night back in 2009. And every single choice i’ve made has led me down the long, and sometimes unexpected, road that I am on today. As I mentioned before as I write this entry I am in a hotel room in Vietnam. But this is very very far from home indeed, and if you asked my 5 years ago where i would be… Here is far down on the list of possibilities. so, where do I begin?

 

 

 

  I think the English thing to do, when keeping to etiquette would be to formally introduce myself.

 

   For those who are unfamiliar, my name is Mark Lewis. I am 24 years old (for the next three days) 

 

    Roughly 6 months ago my girlfriend and I came to an important decision, one that we couldn’t take lightly and certainly one that would be remembered. To leave England, to leave our jobs, our homes, our friends and our lives.

 

    So thats how i’m going to start. With the decision. A good place if you ask me.

 

    In this blog i will take you through my journey. From the decision to get up and stop letting days be forgotten, through the trails of planning and saving, the tricks and tips on the shortcuts i made, the plane journeys, the bus rides, the sleepless nights and the unforgettable experiences. 

 

    I hope at this point that people who feel like-minded might take notice, if your reading now and feel like you too want to change something in your life, that you want to leave the country you live in, the town you grew up in or maybe just you have the aspiration to live independently. To everyone who has thought ‘what else could i be doing right now, where else could I be if I had taken that chance or acted on that urge’ then my blog is for you. I hope you enjoy, because if nothing else, I know that one day I will read this and feel how I have changed, and that is more then enough reason for me to carry on.

 

Something good is coming

Welcome to Powelly52.com

My brand new website. My first ever ‘.com’ and oh how proud I am. For me this will become a place to collect together the things I hold dear and share them with the world. A place where the most interesting things in this life can be squeezed together through the magic of cyberspace and be thrown into your big red faces. Im intoxicated with excitement.

but wait..

 

Why Should you be wetting your pants with excitement?

 

Among the riff-raff of your internet daily life, between the Facebook feeds and Twitter avalanches, you can click on me. You can check in with old Mark and find things you like, find things you hate and find the sorts of things you’d forgotten about.

A daily blog – for better or for worse. Thoughts, Feelings, Issues, Tips, Advice, Humour & much more.

Exclusive access to Articles – Previews of current works, Published articles and New Ideas

Scripts – intellectual property these days is a nightmare, why not just post scripts for the world to see

My very best Photos & Drawings – A skill twenty five years in the making. Judge for yourself.

My passion – Film – from ‘Silly Songs with Mark’ to intellectually challenging pieces. My films are where my heart truly lies.

 

 

This is all coming. For now, you have to wait.