If you’re reading this you may or may not know that I’m home!
After getting back from Fiji I spent two days packing up all my things and spending time with my aunt and uncle. On Tuesday I left my home for the past 8 and a half months and flew to Sydney. Now is probably a good time to mention how lucky I am to have such close family in Australia, and to say a massive thank you to Tracey and Scott for looking after me and putting up with me for so long, I don’t think staying away from home for long would have been possible without you.
In the 259 days I’ve been away, I’ve managed to accumulate quite a lot of stuff, which now all had to be packed to come back to England. The final result was 4 bags; including one suitcase (15kg), one board bag full of clothes as well as the surfboard (16.9kg), one carry on suitcase (9kg) and my other carry on bag (not sure exactly how much it weighs but after carrying it around on my shoulder all the time, I know it’s quite a lot!). I have also become not just a bag lady, but also probably a bit of a cheat of a backpacker with my suitcase (although my backpack is in my suitcase, no way I could leave that behind!).
With 4 and a half days to spend in Sydney, Natalie (who I met in Fiji) kindly let me stay with her for a few days. I spent the first day shopping (even though technically I can’t fit anything else in my bags, but there were so many sales going on I couldn’t resist!) The next day the weather was beautifully sunny and hot so I headed down to Coogee beach to do the coast walk to Bondi. When I got there the weather was so nice I couldn’t resist having one last swim in the sea. The walk took a few hours and I enjoyed the beautiful views of the beaches and ocean along the way. That evening Natalie and I went back to Bondi to get tattoos. Obviously I know there are a lot of different opinions on tattoos, but I wanted to have something permanent and beautiful on my body and I have spent a long time thinking about this. I think that when thought about and chosen correctly, tattoos can tell a story about who someone is as a person. I had a small wave tattooed on my left wrist, easily covered by a watch or bracelet if I want to. The sea is something I have fallen in love with over the past few months, I am constantly in awe of its beauty and power. When I go home I know how much I’ll miss living so close to the ocean, so I wanted to keep a small part of it with me.
“There’s nothing wrong with enjoying looking at the surface of the ocean itself, except that when you finally see what goes on underwater, you realize that you’ve been missing the whole point of the ocean. Staying on the surface all the time is like going to the circus and staring at the outside of the tent.” –Dave Barry
The next day I caught up with Joel, an old friend who moved to Australia a few years ago. Later on I also went for dinner with another friend, who I met earlier in the year working at the Falls Festival. My last day in Australia I went for a walk around the Royal Botanical Gardens, and enjoyed the view of the harbour bridge and opera house from a different angle. That evening I went up to Circular Quay (along with thousands of other tourists apparently) to see the final night of Vivid Sydney, an annual outdoor lighting festival. It was beautiful to see the Opera house, harbour bridge and many of the buildings overlooking circular quay lit up in so many colours. Some of the ferries were also fitted with light installations, like animals, which moved across the water and small light and music installations also littered the quay. This was a great way to spend my last night in Australia and afterwards I headed back to pack and get an early night, reading for my 3am start the next day.
I got up at 3am the next morning, just as most people were returning to the hostel from their night out. I packed up and hauled my 4 bags outside to get a taxi to the airport. After trying to check in once, my bags were overweight, but by some small miracle, the next man that checked me in let me get away with my heavy bags without paying any extra! Soon I was boarding the plane and saying goodbye to Australia.
The past 9 months have been amazing, I’ve volunteered with elephants, wandered around the largest temple in the world, hiked up a mountain, learned to surf, jumped out of a plane, learned to sail and bathed in mud pools, to name a few. I’ve met the most inspiring, interesting and amazing people and I hope a lot of the goodbyes won’t be forever.
But now it’s time to get back to reality and back to my family and friends; I surprised my mum and sister by coming home a month early, which was a complete shock to them (there was a lot of tears that night!) and I can’t wait to catch up with all my friends. One thing is for sure though, this will definitely not be the last big adventure I go on.