Today marks the final day of my 6 month sabbatical from work, so I thought I’d round things off with one last blog post. The last 6 months has flown by, and yet, at times, Hong Kong and Australia seem like a lifetime since.
A lot has happened since mum took me to Swindon station on 29th December. I’ve taken 11 flights, flown approximately 32,000 miles, been driven roughly 17,000 miles (and sometimes it was a bit rough!), taken about 5,000 photos, met so many amazing people and seen so many amazing things (yes, I’ve used ‘amazing’ twice). I’ve made friends and memories to last a lifetime. And now I’m back home and about to go back to work. The last 6 months has definitely given me a different outlook on life. I am determined to have a better work/life balance (before I went away it was just work, and for the last 6 months it has just been life), and I am also going to make more of an effort to see more of the country I actually live in. Basically just to have a bit more fun.
To round things off, here is a list of the things I have learnt/discovered over the last 6 months, some of it serious, some of it less so…:
1. Free wifi is a godsend. It was distinctly lacking in hostels in Australia and New Zealand. You do, however, get good at finding places which have free wifi, including Starbucks, Macca’s (McDonalds), libraries, banks, some towns and cities also have free wifi so it’s always worth switching your wifi on just to see.
2. Treating yourself to clean pajamas…lush!
3. The freedom of not wearing any make up
4. An eye mask and ear plugs are vital.
5. Umbrellas are not waterproof in a tropical rainstorm.
6. Neither are my ‘waterproof’ walking boots.
7. Drinking every day is not good for you. Aside from 3 weeks around Easter, I pretty much had a drink every day.
8. Power banks/battery packs are amazing. Massive thanks to work for getting me one as a going-away gift!
9. Don’t take any white clothes when you go backpacking, they’ll never be white again.
10. Hostels that provide towels are a godsend, and are very limited. I managed to lose my travel towel in San Luis Obispo, and I wasn’t that disappointed to say goodbye to it.
11. Dominos do $5 pizzas in Australia and New Zealand. That’s £2.50!!! (Or it was before the pound crashed).
12. If you listen to enough Justin Bieber, you’ll eventually like a couple of his songs.
13. Travelling on your own is liberating. You get the confidence to go to a restaurant on your own, go to the cinema on your own, drink a bottle of wine in a hostel on your own. And if you don’t want to be alone, there are always other people around who want to hang out.
14. Reading is good and I should do it more at home.
15. You will learn pretty soon to chuck all your clothes in the same wash, irrespective of colour. They’ll all emerge from it just fine.
16. Compression bags for packing are amazing – that and a battery pack were the best things I took with me.
17. McDonalds in the UK really need to start doing frozen cokes.
18. Don’t stop travelling!! There’s a big, wide world out there to explore and I very much intend to carry on exploring!
This is the end of one great adventure, but there will be more to come 😀👍✈️☀️🏝🌇🌅🏞⛰🌏🌎🌍👋