I have now been back in my motherland – the UK – for almost 2 weeks and am quickly adjusting to life without my trusty yet haggard, old backpack.
Throughout my 16 months of travel I settled and worked in Auckland, New Zealand for 7 months, ventured through South East Asia for 6 months and treated myself to a few pit stops in Fiji, Oz and America along the way. I lived on a very tight budget, wore the comfiest of clothes, ate at street stalls, stayed mostly in dorm rooms and sat on buses for hours on end every few days.
It was a lifestyle far from what I was used to at home and a lifestyle I loved and adapted to instantly. Here are the weirdest things about being home after long-term travel.
I no longer have to live out of a backpack!
For the first time in 16 months I have unpacked my clothes into a legit wardrobe with hangers and everything and have been able to leave my toiletries in the shower without the worry of them being nabbed – oh, the luxuries.
Food glorious food
There’s nothing quite like the feeling when you open the fridge at home and you see that it is FULL of food.
Although I miss the street food stalls in Asia more than anything as well as, the luxury of being able to afford to eat out for every meal, every day, it has been nice to be able to dictate what I eat a little more and cook.
I’ve never been a great driver so, after 16 months away from the wheel my Dad and I were a little nervous about me getting back on the road. Nevertheless, I did it and I survived. Wooo!
Since returning home I’ve realised that drinking alcohol every night isn’t quite as acceptable as it is when you’re travelling.
When you’re on the move, every day is a Friday or a Saturday and drinking a giant £1 beer to ‘refresh’ yourself or to socialise with your new friends is more than okay.
There’s a chance I’ve come home with a minor alcohol problem and I’m addressing it with a Monday – Thursday drinking ban (LOL).
Not walking everywhere
I became so used to walking for miles and miles each day whilst travelling that I am now struggling with not having anywhere new and exciting to wander – my waistline is also suffering…
Urghhh, I hate putting on make up. It stresses me out and takes up far too much time – especially when my eyelashes go all clumpy and my eyebrows end up wonky.
Therefore, as you can imagine I was in heaven whilst travelling. I went months at a time without wearing a drop of make up and never had to worry about taking my face off at the end of the day.
Much to my dismay, now that I’m back in the Western world I feel a lot more obliged to put on my brows so I don’t look like a walking thumb.
Other than my time in Auckland, during my travels I rarely spent anymore than three days in one place. As a result, adjusting to going to sleep and waking up in the same place every day has led to a small spout of cabin fever.
Not being on the move
Similarly to staying in one place, it’s been weird not hopping on a bus or plane every couple of days. I really enjoyed the time I had on long journeys to watch the world go by, listen to music, read my book and reflect on what I’d been up to and achieved over the past few days.
I miss the challenge of getting to my next destination and the achievement I felt when I made it on the other end.
No more squat toilets
(I didn’t think I should post a picture of a squat toilet)…
Life with a guaranteed toilet seat and toilet roll is weird. I do miss the bum guns though…
Not sharing a room
Between the time of me leaving New Zealand and coming home (8 months), I probably stayed on my own in a private room no more than three times, which has made sleeping in my room on my own feel odd.
Much to my sister’s dismay, for the first week of being home I forced her to let me stay in her room with her for a few nights – poor gal.
I definitely don’t miss the worry of loud snorers and the top bunk though!
Withdrawing money for FREE
Even though I came home and realised I’d forgotten my English card’s PIN number (great start), it’s been amazing to be able to withdraw money and not have to worry about a stupid £3 or more fee for each transaction.
In every country I travelled to, I would have my trusty currency conversion app at the ready to work out whether I was about to be ripped off or not. It’s weird to suddenly not have to times the price by 4 or divide it by 10,000 to convert it into pounds – it is just £1.50.
No longer using Maps.me like my life depends on it
Maps.me is an offline map app and is the best thing in the world whilst travelling. I downloaded the app half way through my trip and have no idea how I ever survived without it. From that moment on, Maps.me was constantly glued to my hand to ensure I always knew where I was going and how long it would take to get there.
Earlier this week, I did the unthinkable and deleted the app – I know where I am at all times now…
Digesting it all…
Finally, the weirdest thing of all about being home is suddenly having the chance to digest all the incredible (and tough) experiences I’ve had along the way. As well as, appreciating how lucky I am to have been able to have such experiences.
I’ve stayed with a local in Bangalore, India, worked on the other side of the world, stayed with a family in a traditional village on a paradise island in Fiji, swam next to giant turtles in The Philippines, witnessed wild orangutans and Pygmy elephants in Borneo, glided alongside mammoth manta rays in Bali, trekked bubbling volcanoes at sunrise in Java, spent Christmas and New Year with my friends and family on the beaches of Thailand, splashed around in deserted waterfalls in Cambodia, eaten a lifetime’s worth of street food in Vietnam, trekked for three days through spectacular scenery in Myanmar and partied in the bright lights of Vegas – all with friends, family and on my own.
I’ve been so busy making these unbelievable memories over the past 16 months that I’ve not had time to sit back and digest what a journey I’ve been on. It’s been colossal and I’m so grateful for the people who have been a part of it – both locals and travellers as well as, the countries that have opened their arms me, given me these memories and helped me along the way when I’ve been lost.