So, we’ve been on the road for nearly 16 months now and the end is nigh. Nearly time to hang up our backpacks and return home. Wow, what an experience this has been. We’ve learnt so much about ourselves, each other, and the world, and all the clichés are true. The connections with people, with the jaw dropping beauty of the world, eyes opened to new cultures and passions like hiking and diving. I’ve never felt so connected with everything around me. It now feels like everything is possible, everywhere is possible, and we don’t want to rest until we’ve seen as much of this planet as we can. The travel bug is firmly wedged deep into our minds.
We know we’ll return to the UK with simpler aspirations than before. We want to live a pared-back lifestyle; one that affords us flexibility to travel more. We already have our next 18 month adventure sketched out – which countries, key experiences – from tales of travellers we’ve met.
Having said all that, the practicality of how we’re going to make this work is pretty scary. We’re terrified about going home, and how we’ll survive in one of the most expensive cities in the world. We’re having sleepless nights in anticipation, still unsure of the career paths we’ll take; haunted by thoughts of our stressful 50 or 60 hour working weeks from our previous jobs. We don’t know where we’ll live, how we’ll simultaneously rent a flat (at sky high rental prices) and also save for our next travel adventure. The thought of commuting on busy tubes, endless grey skies and rain are making me feel jittery and sad. We’ll be leaving hot weather, carefree attitudes, outdoors adventures and endless time to explore, breathe, stop and think, all behind us.
There are some things we’re really looking forward to, like seeing friends and family. We were lucky enough to have two different groups of friends come out to visit us for a few weeks at a time, so the connection with home wasn’t lost completely. Being back with good mates and having a laugh with the most important people in our lives was totally overwhelming, and did make me feel slightly homesick. Not for the place, so much as the people. We miss creature comforts a little more than before – the stability of sleeping in the same bed every night; a kitchen to cook in; a sofa to lounge on. I’m craving a shopping trip to replace the clothes I’ve worn for 16 months straight, or least a long overdue reunion with the rest of my vacuum packed wardrobe!
All in all, it’s a mixed bag of emotions and our main priority is to get back, enjoy the British summertime with friends and family, then have a long hard think about how we’re going to make our lives work financially – housing wise, job-wise, travel-wise. There’s a Masters degree I’ve been checking out in Counselling that I want to pursue, and potentially try my hand at freelancing as a way to prevent myself being sucked into full-time work hell. Sam hopes to return to teaching, so we’ll see how that goes. Aaaaaargh! I’m sure ( – I hope) it will all be fine…!