Yes I am writing this final blog from my home in WA. I arrived in Perth just over two weeks ago and have left it very late to write this but here goes.
My last day in London was mainly concerned with purchasing a 'hoody' for my daughter Jalisa, who had been asking me for one from about the last three overseas trips I had done. I tracked a suitable one down in Covent Garden after experiencing the best British Rail could dish out when the underground train I was on had to stop for an indefinite period to wait for a broken down train to be moved from the line! Not very encouraging - so I bailed out, walked for a while, then took a classic London cab to my destination.
Late in the day I packed by bags and caught a couple of trains to Heathrow airport. I caught a midnight horror to Hong Kong and managed to sleep a bit so arrived feeling not too bad. I checked out through immigration and met my brother Kent in the airport and we had a good catch up over a meal, after which I caught the second midnight horror into Perth.
Much to my surprise the immigration and customs routine was much improved and getting into Australia was relatively painless. I even succeeded in bringing the sheepskin in, after it was duly declared, inspected and passed.
Sandi was there to meet me and cried again - but this was good crying - and the photo shows us together in the Perth rain outside the terminal. I am eternally grateful to my Lovely Wife for the support she has given me while I travelled around Europe and lived my dream. I stayed in constant contact with Sandi throughout the trip and enjoyed the freedom to travel solo while simultaneously enjoying the comfort provided by the knowledge she was 'virtually' travelling with me.
Since then I have had some time to reflect on my time away and the effect it has had on me. The world seems a much smaller place now, many of the (European) places I have heard about all my life I have now visited. I see competitions to win trips to Europe and they make me laugh. I read the local paper and it appears very short sighted and trivial. I find Perth does not frustrate me as much as previously as I realise it is not the only place on Earth to live and has its own character (and limitations). Perth seems very spacious and the roads are wider than I'm now used to.
An unexpected effect of the European travel is my rekindled desire to travel within Australia. I have already completed an 800km motorcycle journey to the northern WA wheatbelt on the second weekend home, and plan another this coming weekend. It is good to cruise through WA's open spaces after the break away.
Another thing that surprised me but shouldn't I guess, is the way people at home still see the trip I have completed as difficult, whereas for me it now looks quite easy. I like to sit down in the lounge room occasionally and think back to May 09 when I sat there with the Michelin Europe map spread all over the floor and wondered just how it would feel to ride to all of those places. Language, cultural and currency issues that looked difficult then are now much smaller problems. It leads me to wondering what else is possible. Maybe my desire to ride between Australia and Europe is not so difficult after all?
For a while then I will settle down with my Wife, get a job and enjoy Australia, but I hope to travel internationally again by motorcycle in the not too distant future.
In parting I would like to thank you all for taking the time to read my blog entries from time to time and for your comments on the message board (even Kent's!). It was great to know you were interested in my journey. I look forward to reading your own blogs when you travel next! Thank you to all the people who helped me along the way. I enjoyed great support from friends old and new and getting to know you made the trip a much richer experience - not to mention much easier and more ocmfortable as well! To all those to whom I offered reciprocal accommodation and assistance I trust you will take up the offer - it will be great to catch up again and show you my part of the world.
Bye for now