I left the UK shaky legged and teary eyed a year ago this week. I checked into a Bangkok hotel, leaving my job, my friends, my family, my home, my life all to become a solo traveller. I only had one goal and that was to explore the world. Well as much of the world as I could fit into a year. I never really expected to get this far, in more ways than one. To say it’s been life changing is selling it short and now it’s home time.
Well I guess it’s mission complete because I jumped in feet first and travelled around Asia, Oceania, South Africa, Central America and South America. I’ve travelled through 22 different countries and tried to learn as much as I can about different cultures and subcultures, the animals, the oceans, food, music, art and religions.
I’ve walked The Inca Trail, reaching Macchu Pichu; dived with Tiger sharks in South Africa and Carribean Reef sharks in Belize’s Blue Hole; stared face to face with a Great White Shark; jumped off tall things in New Zealand; hanglided across Abel Tasman; reached Everest Base Camp; hung out with South Africa’s Xhosa people, Australia’s Aboriginal community, New Zealand’s Maoris, Lake Titicaca’s oldest community & Tibetan Monks; mountain biked Bolivia’s Death Road; fire limbo in Thailand; A Full Moon Party in Koh Phangan; kayaked in Halong Bay; surfed in Bali, Jeffrey’s Bay South Africa, Raglan New Zealand, The Great Ocean Road Australia; volcano trekked across Java, starved myself and shit myself at a detox centre in Phuket; sailed the Whitsundays; fed crocs in Australia’s Northern Territory; Salsa danced in Guatemala; toboggan run down the Great Wall of China; eaten swan, donkey, dog & guinea pig; rock climbed and abseiled down waterfalls in Bolivia & Costa Rica, seen elephants, lions, kangaroos, parrots, crocodiles, koalas, caiman, monkeys, zebra, tarantulas, toucans, orang-utans, Komodo dragons and piranhas in the wild.
I don’t have a favourite country. I cannot wrap all the experiences I’ve had into a neat list. Every single experience I’ve had has been unique to my adventure across the world, good and bad.
The people I’ve travelled with, the natives and even the guys n girls who I’ve just been able to share a smile with, or a 30 minute dorm room chat have all shaped this journey. I’m grateful to have met every single one of you. Everyone back home who’s liked, commented, retweeted, shared, favourited my posts and sent me private messages have prevented any homesickness. All your interactions have helped keep me on my path knowing there’s interest, love and support from afar. Also a huge thank you to those I’ve never met in person but have also taken the time to read and comment, it means a lot.
I’ve read 40 books, soul searched, got lost and found myself again and been given the opportunity to see things from a different perspective. I’m so, so grateful for everything.
The kindness of strangers has touched me, I’m going to miss those warm smiles. Perhaps people smile in the UK too, my memories are hazy. Maybe it was just me that didn’t smile much there and the strangers just mirrored my emotions. I just hope I can retain the sense of calm and contentment I learnt on the road.
Right now though I’m a jittery mess all over again. I have no idea how I’ll fit into ‘real life’. Perhaps I need to resign myself to the fact I’m now a nomad. Freedom is so important and I can’t seem to achieve that in the confines of four walls, I spent 32 years trying. Perhaps I’ll feel differently, more settled, when I get ‘home’. I’m reluctant to give up blogging… so expect posts detailing what I’m having for breakfast, lunch and dinner – jokes (I hope).
Anyway, those back home I cannot wait to see you! Those on the road or in a far flung place I hope our paths cross or or cross again. If it’s meant to happen it will.