Saturday, 19 October 2013

one year on

- This is the part where you find out who you are -

Goodbye to the GC!

Well. One year ago today I stepped on a plane and jetted off to places I’d planned to go for a long time, in the company of one of my best friend. “Moving to the UK” had been this thing I wanted to do for so long and it was finally happening. As an added bonus I was going to be backpacking through South East Asia. We had the first 2 weeks vaguely planned, so that we could make it to Koh Phangan in time for Full Moon Party. After that there would be 6 weeks of zero plans, other than ending up in Hanoi by the 14th of December to get on a plane to London. A week after that I had a train booked to Edinburgh, my final destination.

Some things went to plan, and some definitely did not.

When I think back to those last couple of weeks in Australia it is hard to believe it was only a year ago. In some ways it feels like so much longer. I remember trying to pack and throwing a tanty because everything I wanted to take wouldn’t fit in my backpack. There were family dinners, watching sunrises and last walks along the broadwater. I definitely miss that life. But things always have to change and move forward. And in this case I know something similar is waiting for me there if I want to go back there.

Sunrise one year ago

Mum and Dad before going to the airport

Saying goodbye
I clearly remember my parents driving Kim and I to the airport and saying goodbye to them. I cried a bit of course, but we had already talked about them visiting and I was excited to be off on the next part of my overseas adventure.

We started out as we meant to continue.

Eating the Indian way in Singapore! 
After a whirlwind tour of Singapore it was off to Thailand. We landed in Phuket that night went to the backpackers we had found online the day before and discovered the instant friendship and camaraderie that comes with backpacking in South East Asia.

I could go on about the rest of our trip, but you can read about the whole thing here on our Kiwis Take Asia blog.

Sunrise at Bayon, the morning before leaving Siem Reap

Something I didn’t write about on the blog, and that I refused to let Kim post on it at the time was the bus accident in Cambodia. Roads in Cambodia are terrible, and night bus accidents are not uncommon, something we didn’t know when we got on the bus that night. The bus we almost missed because the hostel didn’t give us tickets and we forgot our passports in the safe so Kim had to rush back for them while I convinced them to let us on the bus. Obviously in hindsight it would have been better if we missed it. I think this experience changed my view on travelling a bit. I have taken and probably would still take more risks when I am travelling than I would normally, and particularly in countries where whatever it is may be pretty normal. But I think I will always be more anxious and have that fear that I wouldn’t have had before because I’ve been through something that proved that we are not invincible. Looking back on it is almost surreal and it is another part of our trip now that I cant separate from the rest, no matter how hard I tried to pretend at the time that I could forget about it. Kim wrote about it here. And I can thankfully say after a year I could now sit at the front of the second story of a bus. Well...maybe not right in the front, but I don’t really think about it now so much.

Distracting ourselves on the bus leaving Camodia
Be sober now...
Bracelets on arrival in the UK

So since we missed some of the places I really wanted to go, I left Asia and arrived in Europe a bit more unsettled than I would have liked. Seeing Carys and staying with her family in Coventry was awesome, and after that I ended up heading to Congleton to spend Christmas with Kim and her family, something I really needed and that turned out to be awesome.

Carys and I out in Coventry
Christmas jumper!
Last leg of the journey! 

And finally on the 27th of December I arrived in Edinburgh, the place I currently call home.

Since then I have worked a few jobs, made new friends and travelled and experienced as much as I possibly can.

I’ve walked the streets of London with thousands of other Kiwi’s, dressed as a pukeko and celebrating the only thing we have close to a national holiday in a way I have never done at home.

Sophie, Jess and I - Waitangi Day 2013

I’ve sung (badly) to Taylor Swift while driving through the Irish countryside with my partner in crime (and ridiculousness).

In the Irish countryside
I knew you were trouble...

I've taken mini day trips to places nearby (and eaten lots of scones and soup).

Lunch in North Berwick

I’ve travelled on one of the best train lines in the world through Norway, and eaten far more than my fair share of cinnamon rolls.

Skiing area only accessible by the train

I’ve spent 4 days traipsing around the Monopoly Board that is London.

View of London from the top of St Pauls Cathedral

Been back to Thailand and made some more friends, three of which I will see in the next month on trips to Iceland and Germany!

Thailand awesomeness
Having a moment

I've wondered the canals of Amsterdam.

View from the cutest little cafe ever
Some sort of miracle getting a picture alone

Got caught up in a royal wedding in Stockholm (and eaten more cinnamon rolls...)

Hot Swedish military men
Did someone say cinnamon rolls?

Cried at my sister’s wedding in Kansas and partied in true New York style on rooftop bars and in a limo.

Bridesmaid and Bride

Experienced the Edinburgh festival in all its fun (shows and bars everywhere!) and not fun (people in my way....)

Wellington Ukulele Orchestra

And entered the 7th year of my twenties (oh dear god) on the magical Isle of Skye.


Which brings me to now. One incredible year on.

When I reduce the year to this it really glosses over so many small things that have happened. In many ways this year has been harder than I ever imagined it to be. Despite that it's also been the best I could have made it. 

I feel like during my time in Australia I really "found myself" so to speak and was centered and happy. Leaving threw that all up in the air and I have been on a crazy rollercoaster ever since. 

Not to say that hasn't been great in it's own way. And I also believe that's really what it's all about. 

So here I am, where I could only try and imagine I would be one year ago. And I can’t wait to see what's to come in the year ahead. 


- It feels good to be lost in the right direction -

1 comment:

  1. I read your friends account of that bus crash, that sounds terrifying and so sad. That poor man and his poor family. I can't believe the Australian embassy would be so awful! Glad you guys made it out ok.
    (On another note, I think cinnamon rolls are probably my favourite thing! Am yet to spot them in Italy though, so I may be making my own for Christmas. And good luck for your second UK year!)