I'm Back

Trip Start Nov 26, 2007
Trip End Apr 17, 2008

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Flag of United Kingdom  , England,
Monday, June 23, 2008

Well, the transition from life in Asia to life in Manchester was almost seamless.  The flight home was nice but uneventful.  I had managed to get the best seat in economy, right behind the toilet bulkhead with plenty of legroom.  We were late taking off due to a horrible looking thunderstorm and then the waitress took a real shine to me and when I asked for a G&T and a wine I ended up with a G&T and several bottles of wine so was sound asleep in no time.  Due to my lack of intelligence when booking the flight I had managed to land at Heathrow but connect to Manchester through Gatwick so had to get a bus across London.  Obviously a 45 minute bus ride was no problem to the new travelling Simon but it was a nice welcome back to have to pay 17.50 for 45 minutes on a bus.
On arrival in Manchester Liam and Clarke met me in the arrivals area complete with a can of Guinness and cheese sandwich...very welcome after no cheese and lager for the last 7 months.  We had to go to the Red Lion to pick up a set of keys from Carl.  On getting home there was a loaf of freshly cooked bread and a brilliant banner that my mum had made.  The banner had a selection of A4 laminated pictures from throughout my trip and really brought back a load of fantastic memories. 
I relaxed and unpacked at home until mid afternoon when we all went down to the Red Lion and got the Ma (that scary Chinese spice), Double Happiness, Moa quote matches and dice out (most of my presents are still on a boat somewhere).  The Ma went down a treat, everyone getting nice numb mouths on nibbling a little bit.  The dice were great fun but they had their night in fame as I left them in the pub and they are gone now.  It was really great to see everyone who came out.  I managed to last till about 1am and then the jet leg finally got hold of me and I had to go to bed.
So, what's it like being back?   Busy is the 1st thing I would say.  I had a pile of post feet high..I did open one letter the minute I got back but as it was a court summons from the DVLA (for road tax on the car that they declared SORN 6 months before...) I decided to have a couple of days off mail.  As it was great weather I got stuck into the garden with Carl, on the Monday after I got back I think he thought I had totally lost the plot when he opened his curtains to see me knee deep in the pond shovelling black, stinking gunk out of it.  It has been nice to be back and se everyone but I wish I didn't have so many friends on Facebook on round the world tickets who keep posting fantastic photos of themselves having fun in Indonesia, the Phillipines, New Zealand etc....makes me realise that actually I have only seen a tinky tiny part of the big world in my 7 months...I did see it properly though and didn't rush through places like most of the people on those round the world tickets have to.  It really is going to be difficult getting ones attitude round to getting a serious job knowing what is out there and how little I can live on in Asia.  It really was a shocker going to the shops for the 1st time and paying 80p for 2 pints of milk and 1.5 for 2 courgettes...what the hell has happened in this country since I left...and that's not to mention the 3.10 for a pint of beer in Didsbury...needless to say I have been staying in a lot since I got back!!
5 good things about being back:
- Friends and family
- Cheese
- Cooking
- My own bed
- No bargaining  

5 bad things about being back:
- Prices of food
- Prices of transport
- Prices of going out
- Rain
- Too many things to do  

How much did it all cost: just under 7 grand including everything (even the Christmas and New Year excess's).  Not too bad living the life of a tourist for 900/month really.  Cambodia and Vietnam cost about half the other countries but that may have been because I spent most of my time alone and didn't go out much in those places.  The spreadsheet is available on request for anyone considering it.

Would I recommend it.  Yes.  Would I recommend doing it alone.  Definetly...there are lonely times but that way outways being your own person which I value so much.

So its all been gardening, paperwork and sleeping since I got back really but that's all about to change....I now have a job at Glastonbury stewarding and then straight after that I go up to Scotland to see my family and prepare for a cycle from John O'Groats to Lands End.  I am doing this with Tintin that I met in Vang Vieng but Phil Bamforth from Manchester is coming along as well now.  Tintin is doing it for his charity (http://www.justgiving.com/cycleadventureuk) but me an Phil decided to do ours for Cancer Research (http://www.justgiving.com/philbamforth) since we have known a few people affected by cancer in the last few years...and just before Glasto Jockey Nick (the originator of my favourite phrase Yeah Man at Glasto 5 years ago) died of cancer making it all the more relevant.  We have a Facebook group for the cycle (http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=16654373043) and I will try and do a blog on this site if we find internet facilities on the route.
Thanks to everyone for reading....it might not be the end quite yet...
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