We cant say that we havent made the most of our time over here, but it had to come to an end eventually. After 2.5 years we made the decision to head back to the home country and begin the next stage of our lives. This was not a split second decision but one we talked about for quite a while before deciding when to return. It was as a result of a few different things that happened within the last year, as well of the fact that age is catching up to us and we need to become responsible adults sooner or later. A lot of the reason we decided to leave was work related. Jac headed back to Oz last year as she was suffereing from homesickness. I stayed in the Uk and would continue to work as a guide until she came back to good old London. However after about 2 weeks of her being in Oz I got a call from my guiding company saying my services would no longer be needed. Being self employed there was not really much I could do about it. Now it wasnt just me that got let go, but also my NZ friends Dan & Dean. Thankfully Dan did get his foot back in the door and continue to work until he left. But what it really came down to is a form of racism. They didnt want expats guiding English tours. I sort of understand but not really happy about how it happened. The worst part is that it was the most enjoyable job that I have ever had, and I was bloody good at it. I tried to get into a few other guiding companies but it is hard when you are not a native, or studying history. I did manage to do a couple of tours for another company but it was for a lot less pay and the company was a bit of a shambles. So Jac returned early from Oz so she could continue bringing money in, whilst I continued to look for work. After getting shafted from Evans Tours and my original job with Trafalgfar I actually struggled to find work for a month or 2. Eventually I managed to get a job back in accounts (which I hate) for a TV Production company. I have been here from June 2012 until leaving and can't say I have enjoyed it that much but at least it kept the money rolling in. Jac has been working most of the time since she came back, well apart from every third week when they're on holidays, back in supply teaching. She hasnt really enjoyed it that much either. We decided to let go of our nice one bed apartment and move in to a share house to save more money. As a result of all this we knew that it was time to go. So rather than travelling through winter we decided to stick it out until March, save the dosh, and travelling for as long as we could, all in the warmth of spring & summer. Now this will be unique to us as most of our travel has been in the colder months so we think it will be a great way to finish off. So we have struggled through our last winter here in jobs that we don't enjoy for crap money and living in share accommodation that we do not like. As you can imagine it has been a long 7 or 8 months. Our share house was ok to start with but is definately a lot dirtier than we are used to. We are confined to our room as there is no common area to hang so that room is really our world at home. We live with people from all over Europe but don't really associate with them. One memorable story we have from our time there was that an older Gentleman called Arvy lived in the room beside us with his daughter living downstairs. At 3am one morning his music started blasting from his room. Then his daughter came bang on his door with a lot of arguing up & down the stairs. Jac told them to shut up but he went back in his room and started playing his guitar. About 20 mins later we hear shoulting at the bottom of the stairs. "Arvydas, Arvydas, come down with your hands up". No reply. "ARVYDAS THIS IS THE ARMED POLICE, COME OUT WITH YOUR HANDS UP". Still no reply. We opened our door to be confronted with a police officer with a riot shield coming up the stairs, followed by an officer with his pistol drawn. "Go back in your room please sir" they requested. Well we did what the man with the big gun said and closed our door. We then heard the breaking of the door followed by Arvy being handcuffed and led away, never to be seen by us again. As it happened he had threatened his poor daughter with a fake gun and pushed her down the stairs. Poor thing, at least she was ok. His application for father of the year has now been withdrawn. So his stuff was packed up and last we heard he had headed back to Lithuania. But apart from that story our time in the house hasn,t been that enjoyable. Anyways it is at an end so we are extremely happy about that. We have a factory to move in to back home so we can enjoy living by ourselves again. My current job is back in the accounts world and it has made me realise how much I do not want an office job. I loved the guiding which is all about dealing with people, however last year I got to partake in an amazing role. I became a team leader working for the Olympics commitee and we were charged with making sure people visiting our venue were directed the correct way. I was based out at Wimbledon for the Olympics where I got to see all the famous players from the world. Not just from a distance but was walking the same paths as then. Especially before the event started there was hardly anyone at the courts apart from the players practicing which was pretty amazing. The first highlight was meeting Ana Ivanovich. Not only for a quick photo with her, but was surprised that she chatted to me for a few minutes. My conversation wasn't great but that didn,t matter, just a problem with being a little star struck. And yes she really is that beautiful. The other highlight was standing at the office after my shift. Secret service agents appeared so I got the camera out knowing that someone important was coming. Sure enough out came Michelle Obama being rushed into a car. Seizing the moment I yelled "Hey Michelle", and amazingly she waved to me. The best thing is I have footage. So Michelle Obama has waved to me, not at people around me but to me. How cool is that? The whole experience was amazing though. I got to work with awesome people and the whole experience made me realise how much I do enjoy working in things like that and guiding. It has definately given me some direction for the future. It wasn't just working at the Olympics that was memorable. The whole city was a buzz last summer due not only to the Olympics but also the Queen's Diamond Jubilee. We joined the millions of people watching the flotilla on the Thames and even got a sight of the Queen and Prince Phillip, albeit a very distant view. It was actually the second time Jac had seen her as she had visited near a school Jac was teaching at one day, and she managed to see her from behind. We also managed to get tickets to the beach volleybal at the Olympics. We had wanted to get more but they were just ridiculously hard to attain, but at least we can say we were a part of it. So last summer in the city was pretty amazing. This year I felt a lot of excitement being in the same country as they found a king. Richard 3rd found beneath a carpark. The last of the Plantagenant kings and considered quite a villain, although this may have just been the spin put on by the Tudors. But to find a king in this day and age, that is just amazing. We have managed to fit a lot of travel in, especially in the first 12 months. Its not just Europe but we have seen quite a bit of the UK. Europe is amazing but the UK definately just as beautiful and it is a shame that we don't have more time to explore the motherland. If we were younger and going to stay longer I reckon that we would have spent a year or two in Edinburgh, but that doesnt matter. The thing that strikes about the UK is for a small island it is very varied. From the seaside towns and fishing villages, of which Whitby is probably our favourite, to the beautiful old towns of Scotland, and the amazing forests around the country. The seaside towns are definately very different to back home and they do have their charm, but I think I would prefer our beautiful blue oceans and sandy beaches. Unfortunately now that I think about it we have not swum in the oceans in the UK, but not much we can do about that now owing to this freezing cold winter. The first few winters never worried me, in fact I enjoyed it as it was so different. But this one has felt very long and has actually made me wish it would hurry up an end. Of course Jac hated all winters. In fact she struggles with the hot summers back home. However anything between 21 and 27 degrees is just perfect for her. We did enjoy the weather last summer and love how the sun brings people out to the parks. We will miss the parks because they know how to do them so well over here. The parks back home don't have anything on the ones in the UK but I think a lot of that is down to everyone having backyards, unlike everyone living in little shoe boxes over here. As I started my final job in summer I started walking the 3.5 miles to work, but decided I could save a lot of time by cycling. Now I have never been a fan of cycling in cities, especially London, but I thought that as it was mostly back streets I would be fine. So I bought a second hand bike and fixed it up and as a result had a nice ride. After about 2 weeks and upon gaining some confidence tragedy struck. I was on my way to work one morning enjoying the sun. I had the music in and was taking less notice than I normally do, just enjoying the ride. I was going down hill and approaching about warp 7 when I realised I was missing my turn. I slammed on the brakes but unfortunatlely got the front before the back. The one thought I had sailing over the handlebars was "thank god Im wearing a helmet". I came down hard however I did manage to cushion the fall with my left little finger. Getting helped from the road by some good samaritans I checked myself over. Skin off my palms and my little finger bending at an angle they're not designed to. So it was off to the hospital in an ambulance before spending half the day before they straightened it up, whacked a cast on and sent me on my way. My pinkie and ring finger were both broken at the knuckle and after many months and physio visits I still can't bend the little one completely. I am still working on it so hopefully will get back to something close to working condition. Thus endeth the London biking experiment. We have made quite a lot of friends in our travells but most of them have made their way back home or to other parts of the globe as their visas have run out. It is the sad thing about travel that you share these amazing experiences with people for a short period of your life and then go your separate ways. You hope that when you meet them again things will be the same but it will probably be in more familiar surroundings of the home country. All travellers will know that what we are experiencing is an amazing thing and we are lucky to have our paths cross with the people that are travelling the globe at the same time as us. It has happened to millions of people before, and will happen to millions of people after we have returned home. But it is the people that make the whole experience what it is, and I am sure every traveller will relate to that. Its funny because when we left Oz we said we didn't really want to hang out with Aussies and Kiwis when we were travelling, but together with Yanks & Canuks you find you do congregate together as it gives you that touch of home. You sit around talking about how great your country is, and yet you don't really want to go back to it. You travel as far away from it for different experiences and yet you seek out the opportunites to get back that touch of home when you are in another country. It's a strange thing but seems to be universal, no matter where you go in this country. We have spent quite a lot of time with our friends Jo & Sharif over the last 2 years and have become quite close. Being from Poland & Afghanistan they are 2 ethinicities that are so different to Aussies and yet that is no barrier. We have taken quite a few trips together and shared many a bourbon and whisky. Together with Dan, Dean and Caitlin (who we met in Egypt), they shall all be missed. Not just them but all those who we have met on our travels, no matter even if it was for a short period of time. Speaking about different ethnicities, do you know what I will really miss? Being exotic. Over here and around Europe we are considered exotic, whereas those Europeans with their awesome accents are very common. Here though we have the cool accents and are the foreigners from far away lands. However back at home we go from being exotic to being plain ol' Dan and Jac. Sounding like everyone else. It is just a thought but I will miss the excitement people get when I say I'm from Australia. That's not all we'll miss though. Considering this is probably the last time we will live an a European city we will miss a lot about London life. The thrill of living in a truly big international city, seeing world famous landmarks, visiting sites and buildings that are hundreds or thousands of years old, travelling in an airplane for an hour to be in a totally different society and culture, cider, amazing public transport, beautiful parks, the vast amount of ethnic backgrounds, driving in to beautiful scenery, the ancient traditions, the cheap chicken shops, 24 hour off licenses, local supermarkets everywhere, true winters, courteous drivers, amazing accents and great friends but to name a few. Of course there is a lot that I wont miss. Crappy food, small roads & sidewalks, lack of true bottleshops, drying washing inside, no back yard, real supermarkets and bakeries, lack of mens clothes, the amount of spitters, true winters, public transport (cant wait to get back to a car based society), difficult banks, unfriendly shop keepers, small homes, short summers, people not walking on one side of the footpath, small shopping centres and the noise just about everywhere. But we leave with amazing memories from something that we have always wanted to do, something that has been a once in a lifetime opportunity for us and one that we have grasped with both hands. And so we say goodbye to our time as true Londoners as we set out on the road home. That road however is not a short one. It is one that is encompassing some 26 countries in 135 days. We have all modes of transport covered and we know we are about to add more amazing sites to our list. Amazing sites as well as meeting amazing people, whether locals or other travellers. We have no idea what is ahead of us but we cant wait. We are starting to get excited about what is ahead of us. The hard work is done, the places are booked. All we have left to do now is enjoy it. Just be in the moment knowing that our life is about to change, but we get to have one more amazing journey. The thing that makes it so much better is the reward at the end. The prize being back amongst awesome family and friends. So once again we invite you on our journey as we will be blogging the entire trip. Read my ramblings and hopefully you can get a small experience of what we are doing. Please leave us messages as we love to hear from you no matter where you are in this world. So we are now homeless and jobless and no longer official Londoners. Portugal tomorrow and it all starts. Let the adventure begin!!!