Being part of a city rat race is nothing new for us Londoners. We get up, go to work, eat, go to bed and repeat. A lot of us yearn for a change – however because of many factors (family, finances, fear etc…) we merely end up pushing our need for change to the back of the list. There is one person who decided to challenge everything, and did it anyway – regardless of the consequences. Naturally he learned a lot from his decision and experience – even writing a book along the way.
Who are you, where do you come from and what do you do?
My name is Alva, I’m born and raised in London, but my background is Sierra Leone,and Trinidad & Tobago. At the moment I work in financial risk IT.
Tell us a little of your background and certain interests? If I am not mistaken, you’re quite the skateboarder.
I have a few interests; mainly art, cooking, and writing. Yes, I also skate when I have time, but these days I feel so old and fragile that I just take my bicycle when I go out.
A little while ago, you journeyed to Japan. What made you decide to go there, compared to the many other places in the world?
My trip to Japan was just a series of fortunate events. I couldn’t sleep one night a few years back. I was tossing and turning, and just felt very stuck in life- it got to about 4am in the morning, and I still hadn’t slept. So I checked for last minute international flights. The first two that came up were Japan, and Brazil. Japan was around £700 and the flight was leaving in 5 hours, and Brazil was around £900 and was leaving in 8 hours, so I booked the flight to Japan, packed a rucksack, and jumped on a train to Heathrow. I knew next to nothing about Japan, or Brazil, it simply came down to which flight was the cheaper one. Had Brazil been cheaper, the last few years of my life would have turned out completely different.
What was it like being in Japan as a British Citizen, let alone a person of colour?
Japan is one of the most amicable places I’ve visited. I stayed in various cities, but lived in a small countryside town for most of my time in Japan. I could probably count on one hand, the people there who had seen a black person in the flesh. But they were in no way negative or xenophobic towards me. People who didn’t know me would say hello, people would go out of their way to help me. They always had time to talk, and I used to eat and drink with a group of grandmothers. Anywhere you go in Japan, there are always new people to meet, and you can end up making a whole group of friends in the time it takes to finish one beer.
Tell us about your book: Musings of a nobody. What is it about and what made you wish to write something like it?
The book was a project I’d started a long time ago, but then gave up on. At the time, I didn’t think that I had seen enough to write a book on life’s experience. I was also avery different person to who I am now. But been abroad for as long as I was; all the different countries I lived in, all the people I met, and all the situations I was in, made me start writing again. I realized that no matter where you go, you bring your mind with you. I also realized that no matter where you go, everyone is fighting the same battle with themselves. So I started writing the book again just as a piece on my self- introspection, nothing more. It’s about mistakes I’ve made, damage I’ve caused (to myself and others), and ways I’ve changed. It’s just as the title says, the thoughts of an unknown person.
What sort of person is your book catered to, and what can one learn from it?
I don’t know if there is anything someone can learn from my book, because it’s just a retrospective on my life, and many of the things may be too subjective or specific for another person to relate to, or learn from it. I would however, like people to read it and look at their own life, and think about what they think they’re doing wrong in life, what they think they’re doing right, and how much pain they inflict on themselves. I don’t think there’s a certain type of person my book is catered to; but I do think that people who are at a stage of sudden self-understanding may take more from it than those who are not at all interested in introspection.
So you accomplished your trip to Japan, and wrote a long awaited book. What else is next for you?
Haha, in all honestly, I don’t have a clue what the next step is. I am currently playing at being grown up, and staying in one place for a while. I’m working on a novel, learning everything little thing that I can, and trying to stick to what my experiences have taught me. I still need to live in Brazil because it was the runner-up when I was looking at tickets, so maybe there’s something there for me. And if there isn’t anything there for me, I’m sure I’ll pick up a few life lessons along the way!
Much appreciated Ricky!
To read Alva’s: Musings Of A Nobody, click the link here!