When I left England back on January 18th I was worried about my flight being cancelled due to the thick snowfall carpeting Heathrow. On my return I walked into the choking heat of the glass-walled hall of terminal 5. The car ride back was fogged with sleep deprivation and lazy heat.
At home, I was happy to find an Easter egg waiting for me in my bedroom. My cat sulked at me and mum talked to me about badminton. I had fun giving Pete his ridiculous souviners; a New Zealand all-blacks stubby holder complete with muscly arms, a kangaroo jumpsuit from Australia, a capsule machine Rambo figurine from Japan. Dad was chuffed with his Australian leather sun-hat.
The garden at home was in its usual overgrown state; the apple tree had another plant growing in it and the honeysuckle had eaten the stone wall to one side. The lawn hid sleeping neighbours' cats and dangerously camouflaged cat poos.
It's very arrogant to say nothing has changed for anyone else; my friend Rimli had a baby. Pete left his job and went freelance. Perry had one of his best teaching years. Frances moved house. Mum started snooker lessons. Dad lost a stone. Lots of things have changed for lots of people. The thing that is eating away at my brain is this:
I haven't really changed!
Now a week has passed. I'm living in Pete's house. Unemployed. The same weight as when I left. I'm back on six cups of tea a day. I'm back eating toast and fajitas. Cheese and tomato swirlies from Tesco. I feel like I never went away at all.
With my big trip the winding down set in early. The last four weeks snowballed into the finale. I started to buy things, heavy things. I lost my faithful pair of moldy converse shoes. I started to resign myself to the going home. It was already over in my head, I was counting the days. Pete was waiting for me, and I was waiting for Pete. I was forgetting the present.
I've spent the morning looking through my photos from Peru. It feels further away than last year, but I remember the returning travel high. It's where I seriously caught the travel bug. I realised I could go and do what I wanted- I realised I was an adult. I look at pictures of beautiful ancient valleys where condors fly. At low lying clouds and llamas trotting through crumbling ruins.
It brings me back to what I've seen. What and where and who and when I've seen all over the place. Tropical rainforests, skyscraper cities, mountain rivers, lightning storms, suicidal tuk tuk drivers, saffron-clad pilgrims, turrets of multi-coloured spices and medieval streets; the smells of Phad Thai, chillis, coconuts, tumeric, fresh paddies, the mellow-sour of the ocean, human detritus. The sounds of buzzing insects, a crowd of water-fighters and distant base, the tunes of tubes and the ear-splitting bugle of traffic horns. The quietness of wind atop a mountain.
I need to grip on to the inspiration and the memories. I need to re-read this blog and keep it alive. I need to keep moving forward- keep finding and embracing change and enjoying the smells, sights and sounds of the new and exciting world of... the World!