Touchdown in Perth

Trip Start Dec 26, 2005
Trip End Jan 25, 2009

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Flag of Australia  ,
Friday, June 16, 2006

It's a beautiful moment touching down in your home town after being away for an extended period of time... as any traveller would attest.

I touched down into Perth at 10:56pm, after a massive 18 hours in the air... close to 18,000 kilometres from Amsterdam. I admit there was a bit of emotion as I saw the lights of Perth and the eventual touch down onto Australian soil. Knowing that there was a friendly face to meet me on the other side of customs and immigration was awesome. Embracing my mum and brother after 6 months was one of those moments I will cherish... my travels around the world has reinforced how important family is. The Australian immigration and custom were very good to me... a breath of fresh air from the horrors of the horrendous lady at Gatwick. The customs guy was more interested in knowing about my time in China... god bless him.

I can't begin to explain how good it is to arrive back safely and in one piece back in my home town, Perth. I'd like to acknowledge here the hundreds of taxi drivers, pilots, bus drivers, train drivers, tour operators etc. that ensured my safe passage from the many point A to point Bs. The flight from KL to Perth was always going to be long, but luckily, the flight was empty so I was able to get 2 hours sleep on a row of 4 seats towards the back of the plane. It was funny seeing row after row with people stretched out trying to get some sleep. Even though I felt extremely tired in KL, I arrived into Perth feeling fresh and renewed... the flight attendants on the KL to Perth flight were excellent... one of the male flight attendants even gave me a few bits of candy on my arrival into Perth. I must of been glowing!

I suppose my travels around the world have made me more appreciative of the luxuries I have in my life. Getting into my very comfortable and large Ford Falcon AU was so good. I've developed a new appreciation for it... and the little things like familiarity, a comfortable bed, no interruptions etc. have become more noticeable. Driving through Perth just goes to show how good we have it... but I suppose locals don't realise until you see the poverty and struggles of developing countries such as Cambodia and China.

I'm so glad I've had the opportunity to travel through Asia for it's made me more aware of our own country's strengths and weaknesses. I've since met up with Pat, and another colleague of mine who made mention that the main topic at the recent school leader's conference was on 'mental illness' and 'disintegration of the family stucture'... a great weakness of our society. The focus on 'individualism' in western cultures such as Australia is a great weakness of our land... and I only wish that we could have the 'collectivism' and support of the 'extended family' as I noticed as being truly alive in Asian cultures I visited. It was sad to hear that the suicide rates of western cultures such as Australia have spiralled out of control and school personnel are being asked more and more to take on the pastoral care side of bringing up kids.

Anyway, the purpose of returning to Perth is to recharge the batteries and reassess whether I continue travelling.

In some ways, I am being pulled to continue travelling. Realistically, I need to assess the following factors which are affecting my desire to continue:

1. Finances. The stock market has fallen from 5300 to 4800 points over the last month... a drop of 10%. According to the reports I've read, the market has bottomed out and should return to the 5200/5300 mark by the end of the financial year. I've been relying on the 'buffer' of my geared managed fund to finance my trip. I have cash to mid September, but future withdrawals will be dependent on the market's movement. I have a 'buffer' of $3000 but this falls way below the $9000 that I will need to finance the remaining 3 months of the year.

Solution: If the market continues to fall, and I want to continue travelling, I'll have to rely on credit to finance the final 3 months. If, however, it rebounds, I'll have cash.

2. Sick of travelling alone. I was starting to feel the effects of loneliness during the last month or so. Going to restaurants alone aint no fun. But my first few days hostelling in Europe gave me an insight into the many other lone young travellers... which will probably continue through Europe.

As mentioned in previous travelpod entries, if I am to continue, I want more purpose out of my trip by working as a volunteer. Other solutions include doing group tours even though they have their own negatives... and are very expensive compared to independent travel.

3. Sick of doing it rough with the big backpack. My backpack is way too big, and if I return I will use a smaller backpack and slash what I take. Travelling through South America will be rough... so I don't want to be burdened by a large backpack. Having wheels would also be great... I have a small suitcase with wheels, but having a backpack provides a lot more versatility.

I have since rung Qantas and given that the one way flights I've already taken come to about $5000, I am not entitled to any refund given that my oneworld ticket cost $2985. This has made my decision a lot more straightforward, that is, to continue the travel even though the time could be slashed considerably. So I can see myself returning to London in 3 weeks time.

I'm looking forward to relaxing in Perth over the next few weeks... the travelpod will probably continue on but please keep logging in for updates.

Until next time, thanks for reading and I hold true to my opening quote: 'you may live 100 years but if you never travel, you only live a half life'. My travels have opened my eyes to what's out there. I highly recommend travelling for anyone. What a great experience!
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