What a Wonderful World.......27th May 2011

Trip Start Sep 09, 2010
Trip End May 28, 2011

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Flag of Thailand  , Bangkok,
Friday, May 27, 2011

In the words of Lennon and McCartney it’s been a 'long and winding road’ I’ve travelled since stepping foot in the ancient Inca capital of Cusco, Peru back in September 2010. I have travelled thousands of miles across 5 continents, taken 21 separate flights, used various modes of transport from bus, cycle, horse & carriage, motorbike, taxi, train and tuk tuk. I've visited 8 countries and over 20 cities, crossed many different time zones from 8+ GMT to -6 GMT, written over 40 blogs and taken 6,000 pictures! I’ve been to the southern most city on the planet, seen Wonders of the World, glaciers and penguins in the wild, rode camels and elephants, eaten guinea pig and been part of a revolution - along the way!

Now I am coming home - it feels like the right time, I am a little tired of living out of a backpack and only wearing flips flops and the same old thing day in day out. I am looking forward to coming back, but also a bit sad that the travelling is now over. I have been so lucky to have spent this time away experiencing new cultures, meeting new people and witnessing amazing architecture and natural landscapes.

For me the highlights have been witnessing the morning cloud mist envelop the tops of Machu Picchu, truly awesome. Seeing condors hover in the clear blue skies of Patagonia and the breath-taking glacier at Perito Moreno, the closest I will probably ever come to Antarctica. I've ridden a camel through the desert with the Great Pyramids as a back-drop and sat high up amongst the trees on the back of an elephant in a Thai rain forest.

I've swum in one of the world's greatest natural wonders - the Great Barrier Reef and seen an array of wildlife in their own habitat from crocodiles, emus, iguanas and llamas to monkeys, seals and sealions. I've chilled out on beautiful beaches, drank beer in the infamous Khao San Road, watched lady boys promote their show and seen a multitude of golden Buddhas in magnificent temples.

All these experiences have been witnessed either alone, sometimes with new acquaintances and also with friends and family. It's been an interesting long and winding journey. I have felt a mixture of all sorts of emotions - some good and some bad: amazed, disappointed, excited, exhilarated, fulfilled, frustrated, happy, lonely, lucky, nervous, sad, tired and thankful. But I do hope that my travels days are not behind me, even though I am now coming back home.

Someone asked me if I have found out anything new about myself whilst travelling...well at 40 I think I know myself pretty well or do I? I suppose you realise what is important to you - for me that is and has always been friends and family; without them the world is a lonely place. I thought along the way whilst travelling I might have some questions answered, where shall I live, where should I choose to call home and lay some roots. Alas, I still don't know the answer! I think I always knew that travelling would probably never provide that. I am though very happy and grateful that I have been lucky enough to have been able to fulfil this long-held dream of travelling.

Since I first started on my journey back in September, as I have experience many new things, so the world at large has witnessed some news-breaking events too: Chilean miners rescued after a record breaking 60+ days under-ground, 2 major earthquakes in New Zealand and Japan, plus the subsequent tsunami and nuclear disaster killing thousands of people, the uprisings in northern Africa and the over-throwing of the Egyptian government - witnessed first hand, the Royal Wedding of Wills and Kate, and the killing of Osama Bin Laden.

On a more personal note a few of my friends have had babies since I left and who knows if there are any ’buns in the oven’ as we speak!! A friend’s marriage has unfortunately broken down and another has lost his mum. A lot happens in a year, births, deaths, divorce….but it’s been interesting to go back to writing a diary and see it unfold in front of my eyes and on paper.

I used to write a diary as a child for many years. About 10 years ago I threw them all out when my mum and dad were moving out of the family home and we had to de-clutter. I re-read some and they were pretty boring - I wasn’t a very melodramic or angst-ridden teenager and had no particular tails of woe to tell, except of unrequited love…as we all have had at 15! They were I have to admit dull and not well written, and ended up in the rubbish bin. But as I’ve got older writing has been a large part of my career, well even before, when I started my English and History degree back in 1991. Since I’ve been away I’ve realised how much I like to write, and how it became quite therapeutic as well.

I know some of you have kept up-to-date with my travels via facebook and my blog, thank god for technology, it is so much better travelling alone, when you can share the experience in this way. I have really enjoyed writing my blog, which is featured on the www.travelpod.com website. Peru, now seems a lifetime ago, although I can still picture the smiling faces of the small group of Andean children I taught all those months ago, and the hugs I got as they greeted me each lesson. I have many wonderful memories of my time away which I will never forget.

And finally one big thank you to those of you who have kept in touch via email and facebook, it really means a lot even just a few lines, especially when you are so far from home. Plans in the UK are very fluid. I will be spending my first few weeks between Worthing and Rugby and well let's see where life takes me next.

The World is a wonderful place, if you get the chance spread your wings and see as much of it as you can - you will be truly amazed.

Adios for now amigos. Love to you all, Sam xxxxxxxx
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