oldmankit.com is moving

For a couple of years now I have been the administrator of four websites, and it takes a lot of time and energy. I realised that I need to cut down the time I spend on my computer to what’s really important. So in the spirit of trimming-away the non-essential, I’m merging my two personal websites, oldmankit and withkit. This will make maintaining the site easier for me.

So without any more fanfare or introduction, here is my new personal online home: withkit.com

by Kit on . 

My Diary

I’ve just made a change to this blog which means you can choose what you want to subscribe to. There are now four separate sections in the mailing list:

  • Diary
  • Journal
  • Technology
  • Photography

The diary is for general updates about my life here in Thailand, and is what I’ll use instead of Facebook. The journal is for deeper reflections about life, like this piece about losing faith. Technology and photography are self-explanatory. If you decide that you want to opt-out of any of these sections, just click on ‘edit your subscription’ at the end of any email that you receive.

We’re now in late June, which means all of us have been alive, every single day, for more than half of 2016. We will always be able to make more money, but we will never be able to make more time.

While I can say that I’ve spent a lot of time in stuff that wasn’t worthwhile, I’ve also had some great experiences so far in 2016.

First off, I was invited to be master of ceremonies for a TEFL conference in Bangkok. The invitation made me nervous, but I make a point of saying ‘yes’ to opportunities to practice my public speaking skills. Despite getting nervous every time, I really enjoy them. For this, I also had to learn how to be an MC, and I always like learning new things.

Second was my birthday. Pooky and I took a short trip to Kanchanburi, which is a beautiful part of Thailand that until now I have mostly ignored. It is most well-known for the bridge over the river Khwae1, which was built in World War II.

On the morning of my birthday I did some calligraphy by the river:

There are large national parks with waterfalls and caves to explore. And there are also some restaurants in town that float on the river:

Pooky enjoying fried fish in Kanchanburi

I whole-heartedly recommend Kanchanburi.

One more thing. For a few months I’ve been working on a new website for the National Library of Laos. When the site was completed, they asked me to go to Vientiane, the capital of Laos, and train their staff in how to use the site. I’ve never taught technology formally before, so preparing the course took a long time, but my heart was full of joy when I saw the library staff understand how to write updates and take control of the site for themselves.

outside the National Library of Laos, Vientiane

I had a wonderful week there. On the way back to Bangkok, since it’s the rainy season, we were treated with views of amazing cloud formations from the plane.

rainy season clouds, Thailand


  1. The spelling Kwai is totally not how it is pronounced.
by Kit on . 

The Darkness of Disbelief

At one point in my life, in fact it happened on a particular morning on a particular day in 2005, I realised I didn’t believe in God anymore. This wasn’t an intellectual thing. It was something I suddenly felt, or rather it was the lack of a feeling. Until that morning I had felt the presence of God every time I prayed, and from that morning I could no-longer feel it.

This ruptured the core of my life. It left me lost and viscerally depressed, deprived of my life’s meaning and purpose. Since my family were Christian and almost all of my friends were Christian, I also found myself feeling alone. But I could not hide from it, and I couldn’t pretend that it hadn’t happened. I wasted no time trying to warm myself on a fire that no-longer gave heat, and I stepped out into the darkness of disbelief.

by Kit on . 

Refuge in Work


When life is stressful sometimes we can take refuge in a good, honest bit of hard work.

by Kit on . 

Home is inside your heart

A half-hour window of time presented itself to me, so I began some calligraphy practice, which evolved into free writing. From this play with letters and words, a phrase evolved. It represents that our balance and security needs to come from within, and that once we have found this, we become immeasurably stronger in the face of the whirlwind of things that life lays before us, or throws at us.

Home is Inside Your Heart

Home is Inside Your Heart

by Kit on . 

Songkran in Cha-am, Thailand

Songkran is one of the three occasions that Thailand celebrates as New Year. And I had a plan. It was to be a legendary road trip. I had gotten a hammock with mosquito net and fly sheet, so that I could sleep anywhere where there are trees trees—which is everywhere in Thailand. I had my motorbike loaded up. I had weeks off work. The vision was big: ride as far south as I could, perhaps spending half of each day on the bike, and maybe even get as far as Malaysia.

Except it didn’t go according to plan. It was April, which is the hottest time of year here. It’s exhausting to spend even half a day on a motorbike, in the blazing sun, blasting down the roads which only get hotter as you move further south. So instead of finding some pristine spot of nature to pitch my hammock camp, I went looking for a cheap guesthouse. A cold water shower can sometimes feel like all the luxury you would ever need. After reading a novel on my Kindle, getting a good night’s sleep, and then breakfast, I got back on the road, and wondered where I would be sleeping the next night.

When I got near Cha-am, which is under 200 km from Bangkok, I headed for a small national park that I had already researched and marked on my GPS. It was almost deserted, but the few staff left said it was fine for me to stay there in my hammock. I dumped my stuff and went for a walk around this small park.

The summit of a hill, overlooking a precipice. The walk was only about an hour, but the heat was utterly debilitating. Here you see me hot, exhausted, but happy.

The summit of a hill, overlooking a precipice. The walk was only about an hour, but the heat was utterly debilitating. Here you see me hot, exhausted, but happy.

And that was it. No more! Sometimes we’ve got to toughen-up and be strong, but sometimes we have to go with the flow, which is always towards the sea, and find somewhere comfortable to lay low. I found another guesthouse, parked my bike inside and decided to stop trying to be a hardened woodsman and start enjoying things the Thai way.

by Kit on . 

the value of not owning music

When I first met the Quakers in 2006, one of the things I was drawn to was their value of simplicity. I guess this is because my life had got so full of stuff. Mental stuff, emotional stuff, and physical stuff. The value of simplicity seeks to strip away the non-essential to create space inside our hearts and houses, and this space brings clarity.

Spending a year as a backpacker, where all the things I needed were in my backpack, taught me that you really don’t need a lot of physical objects in order to be happy. But back in England there were draws, boxes and cupboards full of things, all waiting for my return.

I got rid of a lot. In the UK there are loads of charity shops where you can dump your stuff. It makes getting rid of things much easier when you know they’re going to be useful to someone else. In Thailand there is a similar service, but you just leave your stuff on the street outside your house. People drive around on improvised motorbike-sidecar-trailers at dawn and pick it up. They sort through it and then sell it on.

Sometimes it hurts. Getting rid of my guitar, which I had owned for many years and which held a lot of fond memories for me, was difficult. But I didn’t play it any more, and I had no plans to start again. So it’s gone.

And with each thing that’s gone, there’s a bit more space.

In a post last year I wrote about why I wasn’t going to pay for a streaming music subscription like Spotify. I made a list of reasons, which are still valid, but a lot of it hung on the fact that I wanted to own my music. I wanted to hold onto it for my whole life. And I didn’t want to pay money for this music if I couldn’t archive it on my computer and feel like it was truly mine. When you cancel a Spotify subscription you lose the music, and I didn’t like the thought of that.

Which is a bit funny really. I pay for mechanics to service my motorbike. I don’t own their service; I need to go back again in the future to keep it running nicely. I don’t own a haircut, but I’m happy to pay. So getting into streaming music required me to change my mindset.

Enter the 30-day free subscription, and it’s all been changed for me.

I love streaming music1. The reason I love it is because I can explore freely in a sea of music, experimenting, trying out a lot of new artists, and be free of the burden of having to download music, add it to my library, and then make a decision of whether I like it enough to buy. I can just enjoy it. And here’s the thing: I am enjoying music more now than ever before in my life.

So it’s a 180° turn for me. Subscription music is great. And it’s taken away another burden, the burden to download or buy a music collection, and to keep that collection organised. More space. More life.


  1. I don’t use Spotify, because they don’t offer the service in Thailand, but there’s something similar, Rdio, which does.
by Kit on . 

The Peace Inside

The peace is always there—around you, inside you—the question is whether you connect to it.

by Kit on . 

yoga nidra

I did a 45 minute yoga nidra session last night (by Steve Wolf). It blew me away!


by Kit on . 

goodbye drugs, hello clarity

It’s easy for someone who blogs about wellbeing (especially one who’s also a Reiki teacher) to fall into a trap. It’s the trap that says I’ve made it—I’ve found inner peace, health, and everything in my life has fallen into place. But inauthenticity is like a siren: a sign that something’s wrong, and a bloody obvious sign at that. So here’s my confession.

Since I became an adult, able to choose what I do and when I do it, I’ve had an unhealthy relationship with what I put into my body. I’ve used substances as an escape, a way to hide from myself.

The most obvious thing I put into my body that has caused me trouble is alcohol. I tell myself that I need to relax, that I work myself too hard anyway, and that having a drink will help. While there is some truth to this, I’ve got a weakness, which I think runs in my family, that means I quickly get dependent on alcohol. It’s not that I binge drink, just that I find myself wanting a drink (or two, or three) every day. This isn’t necessarily a problem, except for the fact that a feeling builds up in my body—the feeling that things aren’t really well for me. When I take a break from drinking, that feeling goes away.

Since I became a non-drinker on 20th July this year, I’ve felt clearer, healthier, and that I have more energy. The only times I’ve wanted a drink since then has been with friends who are drinking, but the desire quickly passes.

But I’ve been a bit like the monk who, following the Buddhist monastic rule of no food after mid-day, decides to take up soft drinks and cigarettes, which he enjoys each afternoon. (Yes, I really met a monk that did that. He lives in Koh Chang.) He hasn’t broken any formal rule, but he has missed the spirit of the rule: refraining from ingesting certain things in order to focus on the interior life.

And what did I do to replace the alcohol? Just like him, cigarettes!

This gave me another escape. Tobacco isn’t nearly as fun as alcohol, but it still changes your state of mind, so when you don’t want to face how you truly feel, it’s a quick and easy escape. On a par with alcohol, at least for me, is its negative health effects. The hot smoke would irritate my throat, and just one cigarette would make me feel different all day, a kind of messiness in my chest. It was also psychological: feeling that I had done one damaging thing to my body in the morning would make me feel less positive throughout the day; there would be a lingering negative feeling that accompanied the lingering physical effects.

I thought I’d just have the one pouch of tobacco and then stop, but I didn’t even last that long. The rewards of smoking were just so small compared to the negative effects. And after smoking for a few weeks it became clear what I really wanted: the ability to live my life, to face my real emotions, without relying on drugs.

I smoked my last cigarette on 21st October. The next day I took a bus to the seaside, and then a ferry boat to the beautiful island of Koh Samet, where I am now. I’ve been staying on a secluded little beach with just a few other guests. Most of them (it’s surprising how many) are drinking, or smoking, or both. The beach is about relaxing, right? So alcohol and tobacco should really help. That’s the logic I always took with me on previous beach holidays, anyway. But this time, without either of those crutches, I’ve had to appreciate what’s really going on. It’s a different attitude, where I can no-longer hide away from how I really feel, because I don’t have either of those buttons to press that can make me feel different.

The fact is, I’ve been feeling quite good (except this annoying cold I came down with yesterday). Seeing the other guests smoking and drinking has made me miss both a little, but really not much at all.

Pooky and me on Koh Samet

Pooky and me on Koh Samet

On previous beach holidays I always had the option to smoke or drink, if I felt like I wanted to change my state of mind. It was like a safety net: if I’m not enjoying myself enough, or I don’t feel relaxed enough, I have an option. And being without that option means I have to experience things with more courage, because I know that even if I don’t feel the way I want to, I’m going to stay with it.

This has transformed my experience. I’ve had clarity and mindfulness in a way I’ve not had in a really long time. And I’ve felt more centred in myself, and comfortable with who I am. In some ways it’s been tough, but in the opposite way to cigarettes: cigarettes are easy, provide a pathetically small boost, and have lasting negative effects. Being free from these substances has required strength, and has provided significant improvement in my wellbeing, without any negative effects.

I used these drugs in the past because I didn’t want to be the uber-disciplined, holier-than-thou guy who didn’t know how to have fun. I wanted to be relaxed and free. Getting really drunk certainly makes you relaxed and free, but the cost for me was just too high. So now that I step out in life (back to work tomorrow!) without these crutches, please wish me well.

by Kit on .