Turning 24 this year I find myself looking back and looking forward.
I have truly been blessed with a wealth of experiences; and here are 24 that I wouldn’t change for the world.
1. My Granddad teaching me the capital cities of the world when I was six; during a walk up to High Force Falls
2. Setting up a ‘business’ at 8 years old and employing my whole class for 3 weeks, before realising I was going to have to pay them..
3. Selling CD’s at High School, my first ever source of income
4. My grandmother buying me a stereo for my 11th birthday
5. Watching the re-release of Return of The Jedi in a cinema, turning my head to see the projector and being struck with the realisation of what it must take to create such an experience; this was the genesis of my love affair with cinema.
6. Strutting out of Sunderland City Court, cleared of all charges
7. The second time I played Nas’ illmatic all the way through. I was an avid hip hop listener at that point but this genuinely stuck with me.
8. Cruising the streets of Sunderland at 3am, the night before my last A Level Exam
9. Manchester 2009, running a charity event and being put in charge of a team running Sankeys for the night (Best Nightclub Ever!)
10. Catching a Chicago Bulls game while catching up with my uncle and catching a glimpse of Derrick Rose before his prime.
11. Nursing a Hangover as the crowd around me erupted at the bullfight below at the Plaza Del Toro, Madrid 2011
12. Panic buying souvenirs at Westgate shopping mall, Nairobi
13. Holding a baby cheetah in my arms
14. Stepping out of the Whitesands Resort, Mombasa to a clear white beach and being handed freshly cut mangos and coconuts, the morning after the night before..
15. Planning and writing for the release of my first mixtape during an epic 14 hour stopover in Dubai international airport
16. Simultaneously discovering the joys of Bob Dylan and recreational drugs in a dorm room after failing my first university exam
17. The smile on my mothers face as I walked down from the stage, degree in hand.
18. Discussing existentialism while sipping champagne on the 29th floor of the hilton, overlooking Manchester on my 21st Birthday
19. Waking up in the wrong hotel room next to a beautiful woman before driving to the nearest beach, sipping wine and watching the sun rise, before my last day on shift.
20. (w)rapping on my first real music video [Pun intended]
21. Standing atop the amphitheatre in Epidaurus and pondering the significance of art throughout human history, without even realising.
22. Witnessing the glorious third act of Raymonda in full, at La Scala
23. The First time I sampled the signature ‘Black Cod in Miso Sauce‘ dish at Nobu, Park Lane in London
24. Catching my first fish in the Indian Ocean before sailing back as I saw the sun set with my extended family off the coast of Pakistan, Christmas Day 2004