The North London bubble

Blimey, where is all the noise?

Walking to my local gym at 7 am felt most alien. I have made the same walk umpteen times in the last couple of years. Usually, I walk there automatically without thinking about where I am going.

However, recently arriving from India everything feels tainted.

Strolling along the main road in the cold, felt bizarre. For starters there was barely anyone around. Secondly, I couldn’t help but picture the skinny Indian women and men sleeping on the sides of the dusty roads. Here at home there is no rubbish on the floor and there are no malnourished homeless people.

I know in London homelessness is a pressing issue (I volunteered with Crisis last year in London) and saw first hand the pain and suffering – 8,000 people sleep rough every year in London. Regardless of this, in the suburbs of North London we are living in a comfortable bubble and we don’t even recognise it. Instead we are complaining about menial occurrences. On my journey to the gym I was suffocated with guilt.

From a young age we were taught to be grateful for what we have as many are not as privileged. I have always been thankful but each time I go traveling my eyes are opened that little bit more. It is completely different reading statistics about poverty in your geography text book to actually seeing it with your eyes. Even witnessing the pain of others; the sheer quantity of it and extreme depth is simply unimaginable.

In this seemly perfect North London bubble I know there are hidden layers too, things that we don’t see on the surface. For example, in the UK there are estimated to be 13,000 modern slaves. This is astounding. Most of us don’t even think about it.

Traveling has this way of opening your eyes to what else is out there.

On reaching the gym I remembered my entry pin (ingrained into my brain) and began my spin class. Nothing had changed. I have traveled over 15,000 km to India and back yet everything remained static (other than the bikes that were going insanely fast). The same instructor motivated us, the same regulars were still panting at the front and the bike felt the same.

Getting well and truly into my work out I felt much better. I rode my bike for all those I met. Even though I wasn’t helping anyone directly I was clearing my mind.

I walked back covered in sweat feeling refreshed. The endorphins pumping around my body were helping immensely. Thinking about what a wonderful and thought-provoking trip I had I felt utterly blessed.

Little was I to know that Delhi Belly was on its way to me from India!

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