So the time has finally come: I’ve checked in, I’ve chosen my seats, I’ve bought the final presents, and I’ve emptied out my backpack ready to be very neatly re-packed tomorrow morning. After three months on the road, I’m going home. Fear not, blog fans, I have plenty of material left to last another few weeks, and after that I can assure you there will be other experiences to write about. For now, though, it’s time for a bit of reflection on the things I am looking forward to…
I’m actually ready to go. I’m tired after flitting about from place to place, I’ve had some amazing experiences which will live on in my memories for years to come, and I’ve got plenty of things to look forward to:
-Seeing friends and family – In particular, I can’t wait to meet my little niece Lina, who’s been born while I’ve been away; on top, I’m coming back to Geneva right on time for my favourite two weeks of the year, Fêtes de Genève.
-Sleeping in a room with just one bed (in fact, I could shorten this one to one word: sleeping) – After three months of long bus rides and dorms with snoring men (and women), late night antics and early morning wake-up calls, I’m ready for the ultimate luxury of having my own room; and no more night buses.
-Eating breakfast that doesn’t consist of white bread and sugary cereal – As much as I love dulce de leche and there being nothing else is a great excuse to gorge on refined carbohydrates, I’m very excited at the prospect of muesli, or eggs, or brown bread.
-Losing the weight I’ve gained – “It doesn’t matter, I’m on holiday” is not a good food philosophy to follow when you’re on holiday for three months; it does matter, as my tight clothes and general feeling of discomfort blatantly prove.
-Wearing different clothes – I actually packed very well, using everything that I brought without missing anything important; but it will still be fabulous to wear something other than my limited backpacker’s wardrobe.
-Throwing toilet paper in the toilet – It’s called toilet paper for a reason, people.
-Getting a new iPhone – I’ve coped surprisingly well after my life, I mean, my phone was taken from me some weeks ago, but I long to hold that sleek little computer in my hand once again and, as a bonus, have access to the Internet everywhere and not just in places with wifi.
At the same time, let’s not kid ourselves, there are a lot of things I’m going to miss:
-Experiencing the ultimate freedom of being able to do what I want, when I want – It’s sadly rare in life that you really have that freedom.
-Meeting new people everywhere I go – Some will be friends for life, others I’ll never see again… all have played their part in making my trip what it was.
-Having once-in-a-lifetime experiences again and again – Usually, the big WOW moments come only once every few months or years; in the space of just three months, I’ve seen and done amazing things that I could barely have imagined when I first planned this trip.
-Arriving in new and unfamiliar places that soon become familiar – I tend to feel a little apprehensive when I arrive at a new destination, but I love getting to know the place and feeling a bit like a local within days or sometimes hours of getting there.
-Having time to write – I have absolutely loved having A Reason to write every two days; and, as a bonus, I’ve enjoyed the great interaction with friends and with strangers who have been following me and my exploits.
-Having someone do my laundry for me – Ah the joy of getting my laundry back, clean and neatly folded; although the harsh washing methods mean that my new knee-length skirt is now a faded mini, and my underwear has holes in places there really shouldn’t be holes.
-Speaking Spanish – From a shy and timid “Sí” as the only response I could give right through to more or less fluent español, albeit of course with many errors, I’ve had an amazing opportunity to practice and learn every day; luckily I know a lot of Spanish speakers back home so I hope the learning with continue.
So that’s it, tomorrow I’m off. Wish me “Bon voyage”, and I’ll see you on the other side!
Once-in-a-lifetime experience Example One: Galapagos
Once-in-a-lifetime experience Example Two: The Inca Trail to Machu Picchu
Once-in-a-lifetime experience Example Three: The Salar de Uyuni