“Every beginning comes from some other beginning’s end” – Semisonic.
It’s not possible, but I would love to forget the decade of the 2010s. Easily the worst decade of the quadruple I had to endure thus far in life. In love with the 80s, tied to the wonderful Britpop Paddy Campbellic 1990s, wanderlusted and triple country living hopping in the 2000s and now picking up my life in my 30s, in and out of love.
“It’s funny how your new life didn’t change things” – The Eagles.
The 2010s certainly have been my worst 10 pack of years. Oddly this is my SIXTH decade in existence now, yet I am still in my 30s, how is that possible??? Basically I was conceived in the 1970s (1979), born in 1980, lived through the 1980s, 1990s, 2000s and 2010s and am now in the 2020s!
So from 2010 – 2019 what happened? I fell in love again (our relationship lasted 4 years and 44 countries), lived in 8 different cities (/towns/villages/islands) across 5 countries, got engaged and ringreturned to Panny Yu. Later I slumped into mid life crisis and depression following the lies of someone I met.
I wrote 500 new poems and unreleased them. I wrote a 147 chapter book and unreleased it. I backpacked 171 new countries. Depression, despair, decadence, desolate, disaster, derelict. Anything negative with a “D”. Suicide bids, disappearances and I was ready for death. Life had promised a lot and given me nothing.
“Your joys are counterfeit; this happiness corrupt political shit” – Manic Street Preachers.
But I am a fighter. I kept going. I battle suicide daily.
“Suicide is painless, it brings on many changes” – Johnny Mandel.
The most important thing might just be that I survived all that. Suicide bids failed, I squandered hundreds of dollars on medication and psychologists but I found a light at the end of the tunnel. I begged serial liars to apologise and they got nasty. I had an excrement exit wannabe GuruGod stalking my Mum, and three of my friends. But I probably beat them all.
Amongst the depression, I found a get out clause that changed my life. It was unexpected.
I found a new home in Poland.
The Northern Irishman in Poland project was just a joke over coffee one day in Warszawa after my topsy turvy days in Gdańsk. However, it became my new focus and people followed it and liked it. I was in shock. It may also have saved my life.
But there were deeper things after the split with Panny and messing around by fake friends. There was something magic in the air.
And a best friend who should always have been a best friend.
Rafał Kowalczyk won’t need to know his influence on my life but happiness remains. Friends are hudely important – come rain, snow, sleet or shine.
“Some might say that sunshine follows thunder. Go and tell it till the man who cannot shine” – Noel Gallagher.
Poland then? I belong here now. I would probably be a goner had I not started my life afresh on the pretty streets of Poland. I started that new project that defines me in a nutshell – Northern Irishman in Poland, and an honest one at that. Bereft of those nasty liars.
31st December 2009
“I want to fly and run till it hurts. Sleep for a while and speak no words. In Australia” – Manic Street Preachers.
My final day of the previous decade was spent in Sydney in Australia. At the time I lived in Parramatta with my English mates Neil and Daniel as well as Australian duo Pete and Ruben plus Chinese lady Rebecca.
On the final day of 2009, we headed (me with a sombrero on), on the Parramatta party boat to Sydney harbour. We partied all day in the heat of unwinteric Sydney harbour. The crowds gathered in their thousands to welcome in the new year and decade. We watched the fireworks and countdown from the magnificent Sydney Harbour Bridge.
That was a fabulous night and day out!
1st January 2010
I worked in PJ Gallagher’s Irish Pub in Parramatta, Australia and loved it. The decade started with aplomb!
The decade went fast and I lived in many places, visited a lot of places, changed jobs a lot. Finally, I ended the decade in Bournemouth – 31st December 2019…
31st December 2019
I was back in Bournemouth, the place where I have officially spent more of my adult life in than anywhere else. I toured Dean Court stadium again (a venue where I have watched over 100 football matches), I went to the pier and beach, three pubs (Christopher Creeke, Brasshouse, Moon in the Square). Then a house party with friends to end the decade and move into 2020 with…
Places I lived in from January 2010 – December 2019
January 2010 – Parramatta, AUSTRALIA
February – March 2010 – Devonport, Tasmania, AUSTRALIA
April – May 2010 – Poatina, Tasmania, AUSTRALIA
May – June 2010 – Nomadic
July – October 2010 – Parramatta, AUSTRALIA
October 2010 – February 2011 – Nomadic but spent 3weeks in Montevideo, URUGUAY
February – June 2011 – Parramatta, AUSTRALIA
June 2011 – June 2012 – Lam Tin, Kowloon, HONG KONG
June – December 2012 – Lai Chi Ko, Kowloon, HONG KONG
December 2012 – August 2013 – Ma Wan, New Territories, HONG KONG
August 2013 – February 2014 – Nomadic but spent a month in Iran
February 2014 – June 2014 – Lam Tin, Kowloon, HONG KONG
June 2014 – June 2015 – Nomadic
June – August 2015 – Lam Tin, Kowloon, HONG KONG
August 2015 – July 2016 – Nomadic but spent around four months in Bishkek, KYRGYZSTAN
July – December 2016 – Brzeźno, Gdańsk, POLAND
December 2016 – date – Warszawa, POLAND (albeit in four different places/districts…)
Countries I backpacked in (rough)chronological order from 2010 – 2019 (including repeats)
15.Trinidad and Tobago
18.Swaziland / Eswatini
35.Republic of Ireland
49.United Arab Emirates
63.United States of America
87.The Vatican City State
101.Chernobyl Exclusion Zone
119.Sovereign Military Order of Malta
126. Ivory Coast
134.The Kingdom of Romkerhall
153.Papua New Guinea
(list may be incomplete)
The ONLY countries I visited BEFORE 2010 and have unbackpacked since:
So…Happy New Decade, Happy New Year. May the 2020s be better than the 2010s for all of you. Keep on smiling through the pain. I’m back on great levels with Danny and Marko my two brothers and that is a good start to 2020!!
See you all soon.