(NB: stop reading now if deep and spiritual isn’t your thing. It’s not usually mine but this just fell out of my fingertips of it’s own accord)
Surprises are one of the most exciting parts of life, in my opinion, so when Nathan and I made the decision to come home a few months ago I was adamant that I wanted to keep it a complete secret. Surprising everyone did not disappoint one bit- although my mum was pretty annoyed that she hadn’t had time to buy fresh flowers for my room, and my cat has fallen out with me for leaving her for so long- the overwhelming consensus was pure happiness, and our friends and families tears of joy reminded us how lucky we are to have people that are so worth returning to.
Once the initial week of happy reunions and catch ups with all of our favourite people were out of the way though, reality really set in. For the second week of being home I felt confused, disorientated and unsure of my decision to return. After months of missing home- I suddenly missed every single element of the life I had abroad. I missed the things I enjoyed at the time such as my lovely job in Australia and the delicious and super cheap street food in Asia, but also the things that I once hated- such as the sweaty humidity in the Southern hemisphere and the constant moving around. My life at home suddenly seemed to pale in comparison.
After a week of reminiscing, I realised that the problem wasn’t my hometown or home life- it was more the wiser and more independent me trying to fit exactly back into the old mould of my ‘home’ self.
Before going travelling, I was against this concept that travelling would ‘change’ me as I didn’t feel that I needed changing. However, although it hasn’t changed who I am deep down- I am certain that it’s improved the self that I was already content to be. I feel more empowered, inspired and confident in my own mind to make good decisions and lead just as much of an exciting life in England as I did abroad. I’m promising myself that I will never let go of the zest and enthusiasm I had for every day when I was travelling, and I’m now moving forward by applying that to my life at home.
I’ve been to so many new places and done so many things that I never thought I could do. I used to hate boats but I actually enjoyed sailing around Thailand and Vietnam. I used to hate planes but I managed 10 flights in 9 months and now I see them as a positive thing, as they enable me to visit places that I once thought would never be possible for myself.
I’ve seen numerous breathtaking sunsets in unbelievable shades of pink and purple that no camera can ever fully do justice.
I’ve had a monkey sit on my head to eat a banana.
I’ve worked alongside my lifelong best friend on the other side of the world- something that our 14 year old selves wouldn’t believe could be possible.
I’ve climbed mountains and swam in cascading waterfalls and natural hot springs.
I’ve befriended people from all over the world and lived with a Columbian couple. I’ve seen swarms of fireflies light up the river in Cambodia. I’ve seen incredibly intricate and beautiful temples.
I’ve seen snakes casually slithering down the street. I’ve been on the most beautiful beaches and in the clearest of oceans.
I’ve eaten the best food I’ve ever had in Asia. I’ve celebrated Thai New Year traditionally with a five day water fight. I’ve fed elephants in the Asian mountains.
I’ve been astounded and humbled by the beauty of different cultures- especially the amazing Cambodian people. I’ve seen the sun rise and set in 7 new countries for me; Indonesia, Australia, Fiji, New Zealand, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam– and I’m so grateful for every single experience I’ve had and every fear that I’ve conquered.
And I have only done everything that I have done because of myself. I have proven to myself that hard work, bravery and confidence in yourself (plus a bit of encouragement from Nathan) can take you to incredible places, and I can’t wait to keep applying that to the rest of my life in England.
So although coming home felt weird and daunting at first, I have decided that great things never come from comfort zones and my life at home can also be adventurous and exciting as long as I keep pushing myself to make the most of every single opportunity.