It Was Dark, So I Switched On A Light

In 2013 I had been saving for 2 years to get myself out of the UK after becoming disenfranchised with the country.


I had grown to become very negative about the direction the world was heading, and wanted to see how other parts of the world worked because I could only see darkness for the UK – and I’m not just talking about the weather. I was in a privileged position where I was able to leave, so I did. Whilst travelling, I ended up in Vietnam and fell in love with the country and was lucky enough to find work in Hanoi, Vietnam – but after 6 months, I wanted to see more of the country, so I left with just a backpack, a map and a motorbike. I travelled for over 6000 miles through to Cambodia where I met amazing people and incredible communities but I began to feel a lot of post colonial guilt and western privilege. I guess it’s because I am constantly asking questions of myself and my Intentions, a continual internal struggle that I absolutely love. Not.

I found myself thinking a lot. Riding through Vietnam lends itself to a lot of reflection time and some of those thoughts shaped who I am now.


A lot of people in Britain are definitely not happy with the current state of affairs. We often hear people talking about all the negative things that are wrong within society – the social difficulties, the distribution of wealth, the lack of ‘community‘, the political elite, the lack of cultural understanding, the overload of misinformation fed to us daily by a corporate heavy media… just to name a few. As a consumerist society, we are influenced by various means to look and focus inwards on ourselves and revolve our existence about fulfilling the idea of ‘self‘. The majority of products, from electronics to shoes, from books to kitchens, are marketed to us as individuals. We have advertising to “suit you” spread across social media. The big issue is down to the rhetoric & language used by the media which trickles into our everyday lives – which along with the instinct to wanting to be happy, leads us to focus on our own individual needs.

Now I’m not necessarily saying that focusing our energy inwards is a negative thing. We as humans just want to live happy lives so we say things such as “I only have one life…” and there is nothing outwardly wrong with this if we want to live happy lives, why shouldn’t we  – but we should attribute a portion of our lives to focus inwards and to understand the connection we have with the world and each other, then we should explore that connection, embrace it – even dare to change it.

We use the phrase “my body is a temple” which makes us do what’s best for the body. Now many of us complain about the society we live in and believe something needs to change. We only ever focus on the negative elements in conversation so we need to stop focussing on “society” as if we are outsiders and start embracing the fact we are connected! As humans, we are quick to moan and be disgruntled but we need to act! If something is making us unhappy in our individual lives – we change it! We should apply this way of thinking outwards to society and our local communities!

There are many ways to advocate change. Engage in a new perspective as members of families, members of communities and members of society.


We have voices, we don’t have to be passive onlookers to the world we live in. We have the power and ability to create sustainable change. We should apply the previous mantra and start treating the society we live in as a temple and be willing and open to creating change.

Imagine… there are three people sat in a dark square room that are trying to find a way out. The first is sitting there trying to understand why it is so dark. The second is walking around in circles looking for the door. The third switches on the light.

Be honest with yourself and ask which person are you?

Written by Jay Crutchley.

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