You may think I have been taking my nomadicity to extremes. Although I did in fact spend all of Friday night on the streets of London – sleeping “rough” might be over egging the spoon.
True, I laid my head on cardboard boxes and shivered the night away, along with 60 others – but the evening was also spent enjoying Brazilian music and a cheeky carafe of wine. And the East End of London isn’t quite what it was either. Expecting a bit of edge, I was disappointed to find that Spitallfields Market was really rather clean and lovely. Even Wagamamas was in sight. My immigrant forefathers would have been amazed.
But the night was not really about racking up another perilous adventure, despite claims by friends that I was “brave”. It was about raising money for children who sleep on the streets every night. It was about trying to change that. Today Street Child World Cup let us know that our efforts raised £7000. I am sure there is more to come.
An estimated 100 million children live and work on the streets. Street Child World Cup is a global campaign for the rights of street children. Through football, art and an international street child conference they provide a platform to change public perception and realise the rights of street children.
They have had notable successes – both individual stories and real results as they lobby governments for changes in policy (e.g police round ups).
My main hope is to see a team of street children from Pakistan take part in the Rio challenge in 2014, and I know people are working behind the scenes to try and make this happen. And one day, who knows, maybe a team from the football loving nation – Iraq.
So here are the shout outs followed by a few photos of our night:
Donate for our Big City Sleep achievement
Become a Supporter
Street Child World Cup main page
On Twitter: @scwc2014 @daisybotha (my roughing it partner!) @abctrustuk (Action for Brazil’s Children)
Daisy making clothes for our favela washing lines
I think that might be John from Momentum Arts waking up next to a cardboard favela
Portrait Artist, Caroline Jaine grew up in the west of England in a creative household and expressed herself through drawing and painting from an early age. After studying Art & Design in Bath and Cambridge her professional career took her overseas, where she has spent much of her adult life. Caroline continued to paint and exhibit wherever she was assigned, worked under the mentorship of renowned artists Anoma Wijewardene in Sri Lanka, and was sponsored by the British Council for her solo show in the Slovak Republic in 1999.
Caroline’s move to portraiture coincided with a particularly tough spell living in Iraq and her recent moving collection shown in London, features Iraqi journalists alongside Sri Lankans and Afghans and a significant number of BBC correspondents and broadcasters that Caroline has worked alongside. She is currently working on single protraits of prominent British figures that have “made a difference” and has a keen interest in portraiture for social cohesion. Caroline is also a published photographer, writer and founder of an organisation that promotes the use of the visual and descriptive arts in conflict transformation.
Caroline rarely accepts private commissions for portraits – but feel free to contact her directly to discuss this further.
No, not mental as in mad. Mental as in imaginary. I have no means of transport – so it’s all in my mind. If I could mentally transport myself ANYWHERE in the world right now it would be to a certain campsite in Brittany, France. But this nomad doesn’t travel far of late. Not since she spun out of control on a wet road somewhere near Brize Norton in Oxfordshire last Sunday. Out of control and into a four foot deep ditch which someone had carelessly left alongside the road. I am told it is pretty hard to write off a Landrover (right off?), but discovery by name, discovery by nature – we found out it was possible.
Amazingly me and the kids clambered out with barely a scratch (although I had mysterious bruises on my knees that I put down to dubious alien intervention). My son said it was “like Jackass” and my daughter immediately texted her friends, glad to have some dramatic news. My youngest was more concerned about spilt chocolates. I have to say the site of the underbelly of my beloved vehicle illuminated by the flashing police lights in the pouring rain was a sobering moment. They closed the road as the recovery truck winched her out, and she slithered out of the undergrowth like a newborn. I slapped her arse and knew I wouldn’t be driving her again, poor love.
So this week I have toyed with the idea of having no car. I went through a similar feeling when I said goodbye to the au pair last year. How could I possibly cope alone with three kids? It would save money of course, but logistically? Was I mad? It seems like such a big change, but as Alan Cohen writes:
It takes a lot of courage to release the familiar and seemingly secure, to embrace the new. But there is no real security in what is no longer meaningful. There is more security in the adventurous and exciting, for in movement there is life, and in change there is power.
Wise words indeed (perhaps better on my nomadic-wisdom site although that has been taken over by Iraqi football). “In movement there is life, and in change there is power” – 4 Nomadic with her perpetual moving on and perpetual arriving at something new the words give strength. But I realise that although dubbed nomadic because of the number of times I have moved house and for the many places I have been to around the world, it is really all about a state of mind. I can continue to embrace change and life can be an exciting adventure, without actually going anywhere at all. The movement is all internal and the trick is not to stagnate.
That said, I have spotted a wonderful 1973 soft top Series III Landrover that would suit me down to the ground. I could be in Brittany before tea time.
Posted in travel, Uncategorized
Tagged alan cohen, Caroline Jaine, Change, crash, ditch, Landrover, mental, momentum, Nomadic, Oxford, travel
So I am now entrenched on floor 11 of Beekman Towers. The longest day of my year is now fading into dusky quiet (all that stuff about New York never sleeping is crap). I eventually got some food. I asked for Asian Vegetarian, which normally guarantees a curry and dhal of decent temperature, but America airlines don’t dabble in such foreign muck, so I had to settle for a sort of slop that reminded me of Rohan Candappa’s description of school dinners in Pickle Head (“raisins really have NO PLACE in a main course” – I recommend the book, it is a VERY funny read). This was followed later by pizza (c’mon, you kidin’ me right?).
The chap sitting next to me was perhaps the least friendly New Yorker I have come across. He really didn’t want to talk to me at all, so I invented a nasty story about his week long visit to see a “friend” in London, which included rent boys visiting his B&B in Victoria. The only gem he offered was a grandiose slating of his President (who has just been less than well received in Europe this week) At one stage he asked whether I was trying not to be in the same country as George. I made some quip about Ban Ki-Moon stalking me as he too was in London (considering I was heading for the UN this week I thought it relevant) but it went over his head and he was lost to his book, and I happily went back to mine (more Bonfiglioli).
The weather was pretty good on landing. Which was a surprise because my original flight was cancelled because of poor conditions in JFK. Well. It was a lie wasn’t it? I KNOW it was cancelled because they didn’t sell enough tickets. I was told this truth many times (and rather emphatically) by my fellow travellers. I adore old aged Americans, especially New Yorkers. I cannot for one moment imagine my grandmothers generation wearing baseball hats and jeans and big white trainers (sorry, sneakers). The all have such loud opinions – I want to seat them on park benches in Central Park and give them brown paper shopping bags (perhaps some could be jogging in flannel jogging suits, towel around neck). I actually forgot how much New York looks like (or IS) a movie set. It’s not just the steaming manholes, the fire escapes, the fire hydrants (fire theme emerging here) – it is the very people themselves. No matter what origin there is a sense of being a New Yorker – which is strong like glue and chipper and friendly and proud. Whether they are driving taxis, working in delis, swanking along 5th Avenue with dogs in their handbags, they all belong here. And I can be marvellously British here (which I felt less able to in Bonn for some reason). I like it. At least for a couple of days.
Posted in America, travel, United Nations
Tagged American Airlines, Beekman Towers, Caroline Jaine, New York, Nomadic, Rohan Candappa, travel blog, UN HQ, vegetarian
As usual I am scribbling in my moleskin (although I suspect this is faux and no moles have suffered) on board a passenger airline which is inching its way towards the planets busiest runway. I’ve been up since the early hours and I have visited two of Britain’s international airports already this morning. At last these wheels are about to leave British soil ( I say soil, I mean tarmac – would be ever so slightly concerned if Heathrow’s fast lane was clad in soil).
American Airlines appear to have messed up. I can deal with that. So long as the mess up is handled professionally and apologies are issued, etc. I am a polite passenger. I would put myself in the polite but assertive category I think. But when enquiries about my return flight, cancelled outward flight, and vegetarian meals where met with witless shrugs, and even wry smiles (imagine!) I decided to passively aggressively diss the airline on my weblog. Wild crazy rogue that I am.
Despite it being rush hour, the coach from Stanstead to Heathrow made it round the M25 just in time, but the delay had added travel time to the inevitably knackering time zone change for what promises to be the longest day of the year for me (notwithstanding the looming solstice). My meeting with the company director has been delayed by a couple of hours, and unlike efficient GermanWings, who in recent weeks offered bottled water to compensate for a 45 minute delay, we have had nothing but sour faces from American Airlines ground staff. Being in the Public Diplomacy business, I can see that this is really no good at all for nation branding.
I am very hungry. My life line is the good spirit and smart arse quips from the New Yorkers on board. And at last we are in the air……………
Like any good Nomad – I HAVE MOVED.
All pevious ramblings can be found on www.travelpod/members/nomadic. From Bristol to Baghdad (is just a shameless list of everywhere I have ever been 1970-2007), Into Afghanistan (my first free-to-speak flirtation with blogging) , musings on the UAE, and On the Edge in Bonn. Travels after June 2008 will be posted here.
The scenesetter – I am a single mother of three who is not adverse to living on the edge and visiting some of lifes more challenging places. I like to write about it. 4nomadic is now my self indulgent web place – where I can rest my kit bag, hang out and share some of me travel treasures with you. Pure escapism.
Nomadic can also be found online at www.nomadic-wisdom.blogspot.com