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.