Back to Reality..!

Trip Start Aug 22, 2011
Trip End Feb 13, 2012

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Flag of United Kingdom  , England,
Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Well it’s all over - SIX-months; over 51,000km travelled; NINE countries, currencies, and cultures; FIFTY diverse cities; TEN time zones; FIFTY-FOUR hotels/hostels; SIXTEEN flights; over TWENTY-FIVE long-distance buses; over FIFTEEEN long-distance trains; and innumerable numbers of boats, bicycles, mopeds, tuk-tuks, taxis, subways, miles driven, swam, and walked - ONE unimaginable unbelievably epic trip around-the-world. 
It’s such a bittersweet emotion being home - to be able to see and spend time with all my family and friends is wonderful. I missed home. A lot. There’s also the plus side to having a stable home in which to sleep, live, be comfortable, and not having to worry about checking-in or -out. The last few weeks have been a blur of moving, decorating, job-hunting, and social events. I think I am slowly coming to the realisation that “back to reality” is the next destination I am heading. 
Saying goodbye to my family at Manchester Airport all those months ago and landing in Bangkok… that first step on legendary and chaotic ‘Khaosan Road’ seems like a lifetime ago. What an unreal adventure that I can’t even begin to sum up or conclude. Maybe once you have travelled the journey you have been on never actually ends but is played over and over in your mind, and reminisced about with loved ones to the point where the memories are so distant that you question whether it actually happened. 
I am questioning it already.
All the once in a lifetime experiences and opportunities that people dream of were jam-packed into a 6-month extravaganza. From the masses of temples in Thailand and the ruins of historic Ayutthaya to the infamous tubing in Laos. Learning Muay Thai boxing, Thai massage, and Thai cooking in energetic Chiang Mai. How do I even begin…
From initially learning to scuba-dive in the Gulf of Thailand and experiencing the under-water world, something I will cherish forever - to swimming with dolphins in Singapore, and diving with sharks in Malaysia and shipwrecks in the Great Barrier Reef. Incredible animals encounters - elephant trekking; horse-riding; night safaris; holding a white tiger cub; hunting Komodo dragons; cuddling koalas and playing with kangaroos. 
Water-sports from bamboo rafting to jet-skiing; pedalo-ing to kayaking in the harmonious Halong Bay; snorkelling to scuba-diving around-the-world; the infamous 2-day slowboat to Luang Prabang; and exploring war ships and submarines in the U.S. of A. Unforgettable experiences.
From getting my first bamboo-stick tattoo in Thailand to bungy jumping in Cairns. From our exhausting sunrise climb up volcanoes in Indonesia to trekking in the USA’s Grand Canyon, walking the length of Central Park, and Hollywood’s “Walk of Fame.”
All the theme-parks and trips, the dreamlike islands, cities explored, and beautiful nature and landscapes. Countless pristine beaches to snowy sheer cliffs. From scorching 35-degree heat to freezing icy conditions. The craziness of Hanoi compared to the serenity of Halong Bay. From seeing “The Illusionists” at the Sydney Opera House, to the “Ladyboy” show in Bangkok, and the “Phantom of the Opera” on NYC’s Broadway. From rat-infested train journeys in Vietnam to driving Route-66 and west-coast U.S.A.
All the monuments, memorials, tombs, mosques, and famous landmarks we have laid our eyes on. The Grand Palace in Bangkok; the White House in Washington DC; Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum; the exquisite Angkor Wat; eerie Alcatraz prison; the Golden Gate Bridge; the Statue of Liberty; the lights of Vegas. Not to mention all the sky-rise towers we’ve been up and panoramic city views we have seen. 
Countless pieces of artwork, magnets, t-shirts, patches, and postcards purchased. All the people we’ve met - some that will be lifelong friends. I could go on and on, but I won’t. The experience as a whole is not so much a collection of beautiful sights and activities but more a completed feeling and memory. 

"Travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living." - Miriam Beard
I don’t know if it’s true what they say about travelling broadening your mind, helping you to grow as a person, and making you appreciate the “little things” more… I’d like to think so. But I do know two things - 1. Travelling is addictive, and 2. There’s no place like home.
What an adventure. So where’s next? Well according to a recent survey I have only seen a miniscule 9% of the world, and there is so much more I want to experience. The Inca Trail in Peru, Japanese culture, China, the Philippines, Mexico, India, Norway, Greenland, Fiji… the Bahamas, Hawaii. Lets just say that I have not awoken in a new country for the last time. The world is rather big and “home” will always wait for you.
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Claire on

Lovely to have you home hunny! and it gets easier the linger you are will always have that itch though!! anyway heres to summer sum with the girls! xxxxx

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