Coming Home

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Arriving at Heathrow.

No wonder I’m smiling – I’d just visited 21 countries and volunteered in some of the most harsh and most beautiful places on earth.

It took 35 flights, 4 trains, 7 boats, 10 buses and 1 car to get around the globe. I’ve seen 4 New Wonders of the World, 2 Natural Wonders of the World and 10 of the world’s most endangered species. I’ve also climbed one of the world’s most iconic bridges and thrown myself off another.

I’m now back home in the North of England. It feels strange. My shoes feel strange, my handbag feels strange and I suddenly have a purse full of plastic – I’ve just counted 9 loyalty cards, 2 debit cards and 1 credit card. I’m wondering what the girls in India would make of that.

Tomorrow is my first day back at work. I’m thinking about how I use my old skills and when I might use my new ones. There isn’t much demand for dissecting dead wildebeests in this neck of the woods.

I’ve also picked up some invaluable truths along the way – not everybody wants to kill you, hostels aren’t hovels and wherever you are in the world, there will always be an Irish Pub.

You can stay healthy too. I never used Malaria tablets, I ate street food in India and South America and the only thing that made me sick throughout the entire year, was the ocean.

I’ve experienced poverty and appreciated luxury. I’ve slept in five star beds and flea ridden beds. I’ve been woken up by a scorpion on my leg, a cockroach in my ear and by the loudest teeth grinding I’ve ever heard. I’ve also heard people sing in their sleep, giggle in their sleep and watched them walk in their sleep.

It’s been a year of extreme happiness and extreme sadness. Without doubt, it’s been the best year of my life.

And there are more adventures to come.

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Rome: In Pictures

St Ambrose said “If you are at Rome, live in the Roman style.” Good advice. I spent the last few days of my round the world trip eating well, drinking well and sleeping well. There was some sightseeing too.

COLUSSEUM

It was one of those perfect evenings when you walk around familiarising yourself and suddenly stumble upon the iconic landmarks you’ve only seen on screen. It’s not difficult to do that in this city.

ALTARE DELLA PATRIA

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A huge yet minor detail of the Fountain of the Adriatic Sea.

PANTHEON

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The sun casting a heavenly image upon the ceiling. It rains inside the church too.

GELATO

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More flavours than I’ve ever seen. Yes, those labels do say ‘Celery Cream’ and ‘Gorgonzola’ (which actually tasted quite nice).

SPANISH STEPS

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I don’t know how people find each other at this ‘popular meeting place.’

CAFFÈ GRECO

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This was nearby. It was a real treat having coffee and canolli in these beautiful surroundings. Back in the day, the café was frequented by the likes of Byron, Keats and Casanova.

BOCCA DELLA VERITÀ

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A Hepburn moment. Couldn’t help it.