It was with sadness but also excitement that I left behind Venice Beach to head off to LA airport for my final flight home. Excitement to see all my family and friends again but sadness for the end of an incredible journey. I had visited 16 countries (17 if you count staying in the airport in Kuala Lumpa) and a total of 122 places. I had done activities I had never imagined such as white water rafting, glacier climbing and sky diving. I had also met an incredible range of people who had all added to the experience. Plus I had experienced what an amazing world we really live in.
LA airport was a massive disappointment- very dull, grey and no shops to amuse me. I was also impatient to get on the flight and head home. The flight itself was a non-descript and soon we were landing into terminal 5 and home. Unfortunately the snow had capsized plans for my family to meet me, but very fortunately my best friends were around. Unaware of this, I wandered out of customs into the strip where everyone gathers, looking for my mum. I saw these two 'teenage' looking girls running to someone and I assumed that they were waiting for their father getting off a business trip. It was a complete shock when these two people suddenly lunged towards me and started hugging me and crying. It was Wells and Amber. What a better welcome home? They had made banners, got balloons and even flowers. It was the best welcome I could have imagined (besides seeing my mum!). No one else around had such a welcome and I am sure quite a few people were jealous.
So I was home. For what started out as a dream to travel had become reality. My year away to the day was more incredible than can ever be described. The beauty of our planet can not be surpassed. I was also made aware of the generosity, friendliness and honesty that people still have. I have met people that made my trip; some I will keep in touch with, others just made the ride more fun. There are more tales to tell than possible. My trip taught me it is possible to break the routine and get out there, to do things you would never imagine, to test who you are and to face your fears. It is possible to rely on you and you alone and still have an amazing time. Basically the world and your life is what you make it.
Thank you to all those people who made my travelling experience what it was, whether you were part of it for an hour, a few days, a week or month. You have made me a stronger person and given me unforgettable memories.
For those behind at home, open your window. Get out there, see the world. There is so much to see, to learn from and just to be awed by.
So is the travelling bug gone? Don't bet your life on it. Now where is that next flight to....?
P.s there are some people who do really need a mention and thanks:
To Mayank, Laura, George, Louise, Mary and Simone and all those in India, thank you for an amazing experience. India truly is one on its own.
To Elaine, Paddy, Mike, Matt and all the boys - South East Asia was a blast. Elaine especially, you are a genius!
To Eefje, Ash for teaching me how to ride a motor bike!
To Steve- I may have only met you for a few hours but thanks for keeping in touch!
To Sam- who made Cairns!
Most importantly to Cathy who helped me survive sailing and drinking and eating .....!
To my awesome housemate Lissette- I miss living with you! To Tones, who was also a fab housemate, great teacher and friend- thanks for looking after me all those times (and doing the tender runs!). To all the Prosail lot, Craig, Scotty, and the Skippers (especially Azza) it was amazing working with you.
To the New Zealand lot, especially Simon for the wine and Blair for the fun- beautiful country and friendly peps!
To all those in South America- what a trip. You all deserve thanks for being incredible people. Dawn for sharing with me. Katy and Mel for the shopping and giggles. The boys for being the boys. Awesome.
To Leigh for accompanying me to the amazing sinkholes in Mexico. Incredible
To Phil and James. Hollywood isn't Hollywood without you two.
To Daniel- I met you only briefly but thanks for a fun night when I needed my mind taking off things.
To all those who I have missed who still made my trip.
Thank you but not goodbye. x