Wednesday, 6 July 2011
Home, but not for long
In my 4 weeks in China I didn't feel homesick until we were about to land at Heathrow. Flying low over the Thames, passing Canary Wharf, Tower Bridge, the City, Houses of Parliament, Buckingham Palace and all the green spaces that make London so special I realised that there's still so much more to this city that I want to experience and, after all the places I've seen, I can't think of anywhere else I would rather be. I'd have 4 weeks back in the UK to sort out my flat, then I'd be heading back to China to start my 6 month trip through SE Asia and the Pacific.
A month goes rather quickly when the only things you have to do are admin related. I convinced myself that a lot of these things needed to be done at the same time... as late as possible, so there I was, scrubbing the oven door 30 minutes before the rental agency closed, 30 minutes before the latest possible time I could have checked-out of my flat. All this after dropping the final box at the storage place and returning the rental van with a good 10 seconds to spare, hitting the apex of every turn between Balham and Wimbledon and wishing for a SW London DRS-activation zone. It's also quite depressing how all my belongings fit into a 35 sq ft storage unit and yet it takes two whole days to pack. I'm writing this in Hanoi, Vietnam, 10 days into my trip, and I'm still convinced I've forgotten to pack something, or that I'll receive an extortionate bill for disposing of mangy oven gloves that weren't on the inventory.
But all the costs and the hassle are worth it for this opportunity to see a part of the world for an extended period of time. The timing couldn't have been much better for a number of reasons. Ask any close friend and they will tell you that before the redundancy news I was 100% certain to go travelling this summer... which then went down to 95%, 90%, 80% likely as the year progressed and as I started to fall back into the groove from which my Far East dreams once lifted me. As I didn't really have the chance to take a gap year between school and uni or after my studies this type of trip has been on my mind for years, so naturally I jumped at the opportunity.
I took up Steve and Gill's offer to put me up for my last night in London (which was hugely relaxing given the manic 48 hours prior to that) and after having a lovely Sunday in the sunshine I grabbed a sandwich pie (check out Gill's excellent blog for the recipe here... shameless plug!) and headed for Heathrow.