It's 15 weeks since I got back from the big trip... that's three whole months of coping back in the real world: living with an alarm clock which must be obeyed; finding myself back in front of a class of obstreporous children, 5 days a week; paying unwelcome bills; listening to continuous doom-and-gloom news; adjusting to an Ireland deep in a recession and discovering the implications this has for me in terms of income levies, increased prsi, increased pension contributions, rental property levies, dramatic decrease in the value of my home and lack of potential buyers... is it any wonder I couldn't settle and was eager to hit the road again?
I spent frantic weeks emptying my house; watching the weather in disbelief; packing shipping crates and arranging collections and deliveries; whingeing about the rain; obtaining a new passport and wading through paperwork and bureacracy to fill it with the required visas for my next journey; despairing at the howling winds; trying to figure out russian train timetables and plan a tight itinerary with them; wondering how summer could possibly be so chilly; dealing with
estate agents, solicitors, appalling rental agents and even more appalling tenants (who, among other things, chose to ignore their contractual obligation to not have an animal in the house, and managed to get away with hiding a dog for a few weeks, complete with smell, hair and other associated mess... big lump of slobbery meat in the middle of the kitchen floor?... mmm, lovely!). Oh, and did I mention the weather...?
But finally the summer camp is over, the shipping boxes lie stuffed and sealed awaiting collection, the bag is packed, the final farewells have been said over emotional last pints, and in a couple of hours I will hop on a plane.
My penance is over. In the words of the great Scots twins "I'm on my way!"