Back on home soil !!!! The circle is complete

Trip Start Jun 15, 2007
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Trip End Jun 27, 2008


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Friday, June 27, 2008

And so..here we are.  The final entry of our blog.  The final entry from our trip.  I feel like I want to write something poetic, deep and meaningful.....but I am not sure I have it in me!!

We boarded our flight from Belfast on Friday evening.....scheduled to arrive at Doncaster airport at 7.30pm.  Landing at Donny airport was very important to us as it meant that we completed the full circle.  On June 15th 2007 we departed from this airport to head for country number one, and on June 27th 2008 we arrived after visiting fourteen different countries. Fourteen different countries in fifty four weeks sounds a lot, and it is a lot particularly when you consider that we spent two months in China, four and a half months in Oz and nearly two months in New Zealand.  However, we definitely didn't want to 'fly' through countries just to get the stamp in the passport - it was important for us to spend some time in each place and get a feel of life there and not just see it in 'holiday' mode.  This website has a little travel calculator on each of the pages that calculates the percentage of the world traveled - according to this we have only seen six percent of the world!! Six percent!! That really brings it home to me just how big the world is and just how much there is to see and experience (expect future blogs from future round the world trips.....only kidding mum, I am going nowhere!!).

We have been asked many times since returning where was number one place and it really is a difficult question to answer as each country offered something different.  Where would I up sticks and emigrate to?  New Zealand without a doubt.  The only problem with NZ is that it is miles away.  If someone airlifted NZ to say, next to Ireland, then I would move there tomorrow.  But then again so would everyone else.  I would also move to San Francisco at the drop of a hat if I was that way inclined.
Number one destination in terms of experiences has to be China.  It is the most amazing place I have ever visited and the time we spent in Sichuan ranks up there as top places seen; the bike ride and Emei Shan experiences were just amazing.  And to walk on the Great Wall of China is just fantastic - to stand on the wall and remind yourself where you are and the history and enormity of it all is something I would recommend to everyone. 
The whole of South East Asia impressed us and captivated us, but by the end of the 5 months there, we were ready to leave.  Without any planning the trip essentially became a trip of two halves.  The first six months were in culturally diverse countries in Asia, and the last six months were in 'familiar' territory.  Oz, NZ, USA and Canada were all unique and special in their own ways but culturally very similar to what we know.

However, despite of all this talk of relocating, both Nic and I have come back feeling very very settled. I have always had this desire to emigrate at some point in my life yet I now find myself feeling like there is no place like home.  England has it faults, the climate being the biggest bug bear for me, but there are also countless things that no other country has.  You really have to take yourself away for a long period of time to appreciate this.  I know many people will disagree with this sentiment but this is how both Nic and I feel.  Without sounding too soppy, no country has your family and friends like home.  We have some very good friends in many different countries and it has been wonderful to catch up with them and get to spend time with them, but home is home. 

At first we thought that this settled frame of mind would wear off after a couple of weeks but we have now been back over two months (yes it really has been that long, and yes we really have been that slow at updating the blog) and we still feel the same way.  However, I do always put a get out clause with anything I say, come the first sign of winter, no doubt I will be on the first plane to sunnier climes waving farewell to my dear friends and family.
Although we are settled back home, my thirst and want to travel has not waned.  If anything, I want to do more.  I don't think either of us will do a trip of this length again but we have lots of ideas for future trips and have a long long list of places to go.  Europe and the UK is top at the moment as this has been overlooked by both of us, and then there is the whole of Africa and South America which we bypassed on this trip.

Since being back we don't seem to have stopped.  The first few weeks were spent seeing friends and family, enjoying time with them.  We then moved into our apartment and then it has been all about looking for work.  August has to be the worst time to look for work for both of us.  For Nic, as a teacher, it is fairly obvious why August is a bad time as all the schools are shut, and for me, any decision makers tend to be on holiday and therefore nothing happens.  Hindsight is a wonderful thing and something we would all benefit from. 

Now it's September, things have started to happen.  Nic has interviews lined up and I have a number of opportunities waiting to be finalised.  We are confident that within the next couple of weeks we will be back into the work lifestyle again (and no doubt dreaming of far away places).  To be honest, we cannot wait to get back to work for both financial and sanity reasons.

So, that is it.  End of the trip.  All the planning, all the worry, all the laughs, all the tears, all the experiences, all the memories, done and dusted, for this trip at least.  I would recommend anyone, if there are able, to do something like this.  It was worth every single feeling of anxiety and believe me when I say there were plenty.  It was worth selling up home, possessions and giving up jobs.  People said we were giving up everything. Not a chance.  We gave up very little to experience everything.  We had the most amazing time and will spend many many many years looking at photos and reliving the memories.  However, this trip was not a one off, never to be repeated, experience.  It was the first of many future expeditions of various sorts.  Watch this space...................

We hope you enjoyed reading our blog and sharing in our travels. We have been blown away by the feedback and response from people.  We have been amazed how many people have taken the time to look at the blog.  We realise that lots of the entries are very long and understand that not everyone wants to read them, so we hope you at least enjoyed the photos.  We have had several people, strangers, email us asking to be sent the blog.  We have also had people that are planning their own round the world trip contact us, asking for pointers or commenting on how they have found our updates useful in their own planning.  We have even been contacted by a journalist wanting to publish our story....ha ha.  Seriously.  Unfortunately it came to nothing as we didn't have enough scare stories in there and they actually commented that due to the level of interest we have had on the blog, they feel that they won't have the exclusivity on the story!!! Amazing!!

Thank you for taking the time to read this.
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Comments

pierrelepont
pierrelepont on

Thanks for the mammories
As Jordan once said.
Fantastic finish to a fantastic blog. Enjoyed every minute of your stories and accompanying photos. Highly entertaining and amusing yet informative at teh same time. Many thanks for including me in the circulation and if you decide to do it all again, keep me on the list. All the best and when are we meeting up for that pint?

holmzc
holmzc on

Loved your blog
My son Andrew and his girlfriend are on a gap year and are currently exploring the east coast of Australia.They too loved NZ.I have enjoyed reading your experiences and comparing your observations with theirs.My ambition is to explore OZ and NZ with my husband once we have supported my daughter through university.Thanks for transporting me to parts of the world on a cold January winter evening after a long day teaching Art and Design in a Sheffield classroom.Good luck with your job search and I look forward to sharing future adventures.

holmzc
holmzc on

Bush fires and Floods
Congratulations to you both with the oncoming arrival of twins!How exciting a family of four soon, to share new wonders together.
Andrew and Beth are now off on their adventures having spent the last six weeks in Brisbane working in a book factory.A good base to work in as it turns out, with a heatwave and the devastating bush fires in Victoria and floods further north in Queensland.They leave this weekend to explore Frazer Island and then onto the Whitsunday islands and great barrier reef before flying out to South east Asia mid March.Let's hope they have as memorable a time as you both did!

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