Sunday, 9 April 2017

Week 51 - Home, The Lake District.

We’ve taken 23 planes, 13 buses, 16 trains, 10 boats and owned 1 car to visit 10 countries over 12 months. We’ve taken 4,600 photos and videos, met some amazing people, become an unstoppable/inseparable duo and made some truly unforgettable memories. Many times we’ve been asked to name our favourite country, but we cant, they’ve all been good for different reasons. Take China, for the food, the technology and the fact it is the only place we visited that has very little Western influence and the only place where we depended on our ‘Point-it’ picture book, (a must have for anyone visiting China). Japan was the most unique and individual country of them all, with the friendliest, craziest people. Each corner you turned held a new experience, the gaming world of Akihabara and the waterfalls of Hakone to name a few.

Onwards to South East Asia and the busy Thailand, even in wet season its filled with tourists. Not one of my top destinations but I can appreciate why people return to the pristine islands and enjoy the flavoursome food. Cambodia is the country to make you appreciate what you have, seeing the little that people had to live on, but feeling the kindness that they were willing to share was a real eye-opener, and of course we enjoyed our wonderful experience teaching the children in Kratie with Rith and his family. For the best food in the world, Vietnam gets our vote. Eating in alleys on plastic childrens chairs with the locals for $1 were where a lot of our best meals were enjoyed, and who can forget that wonderful iced coffee? You also can’t take away from the vibrancy and beautiful beaches that this country has to offer. 

Wildlife on this adventure has been a big favourite for me, getting to see the elephant in Cambodia and of course the orangutangs in Malaysia was amazing. Malaysia itself is a great country for National Parks that allow you to get up close to animals in their natural habitat. Also one of my favourite countries for cultural diversity, seeing so many races and religions live peacefully side by side should be something that the whole world takes an example from. Beach life took over our lives in Indonesia, with Bali offering some of the most perfect (if a little crowded) beaches in the world. The Gili islands could be my new home, I’m sure if I stayed there long enough I’d be a snorkelling and surfing pro. 

Australia is an odd one for me, I liked what we saw as we got to see friends, but it didn’t win me over…maybe we need to see more? Get away from the crowds. But New Zealand on the other hand was a winner, as I once said, it’s like the gift that keeps on giving. We saw so much and did so much, from walks, beaches, rivers, mountains, bungee jumps and making a bunch of new friends, as well as catching up with old ones. We both fell in love with one of the most looked after countries in the world. America was a struggle for Kyle, especially with the food, but after California things picked up for us both. Spending time with family, exploring State Parks, the amazing music of Nashville and an unforgettable Broadway show gave our trip a fantastic ending. There’s more things we could say about every country, but we’d be here for ages and I know my ramblings have filled your feed for too long now. 

Being back and sharing stories with friends and families has made us remember small details that we’d forgotten about, and taught us to laugh at things that may have pissed us off at times, (like being stuck on a tiny, cramped mini bus in Cambodia for 7 hours). We’ve learnt a lot about the world, ourselves and each other, me especially about the world, though my geography still leaves a lot to be desired. I thought leaving Asia that I would be less materialistic, but meeting my mum and hitting a mall in America made me realise that I’m still a sucker for new shoes…I suppose some things stick as it’s what were used to, and living in the Western world we’re used to getting new things and having the latest technology. But I will make a more conscious effort to keep track of world events, donate to the right charities and organisations (starting with 3 bags of clothing for the homeless shelter) and supporting people we’ve met with their endeavours. I’m also going to try and cross the road properly, and not text and walk…small things but I’ve seen the benefit of both (especially after falling down the stairs and twisting my ankle watching a snapchat in New Zealand).

Arriving back at my mums in the Lake district to boxes of clothing, a backpack filled with washing and a years worth of mail was a real, “Oh shit, we’re home, what do we do now?” moment. Not wanting to step too far back into the real world, Kyle has decided to get rid of most of his clothes and just repacked his backpack. 

I’d forgotten how boring food shops could be, so a trip to Asda with jet lag was not only draining but a real chore (can’t wait for the first time that I’ve got to do cleaning). We also bumped into an old school friends mum who got chatting about nana, this I found a little upsetting as I don’t think it had yet hit home that she’s actually gone. Thankfully, mum took us to Nana’s house and even though I didn’t want to go at the time I’m glad that I did, as it no longer feels as though she’s there…which can only mean that she’s happy with Grandad looking after her now. 

Mum has taken us on some Lake District adventures and I’ve started to realise that I probably did take this place for granted before I left. We’ve walked to the top of the Hoad Monument, an old lighthouse with great views over Ulverston and the surrounding areas. Trekked round Furness Abbey and got lost in the lanes. Driven out to Roa Island for afternoon tea, and enjoyed the views out to sea, and walked up Gummer’s How to take in the length of Lake Windermere, and tried to decide which mountain we’ll climb next….we will make our own little adventures now we’re back home. 

We’ve visited friends and family and shared our travel stories, and many have asked us how it feels to be home. We probably can’t answer that question yet, at the moment it’s like we’re still on holiday just visiting people and eating the food we’ve missed (hello, meat and tatie pies and flaming hot monster munch). So maybe try asking us in 2 more weeks, when desperately hunting for jobs and we’ve been caught in the rain a few times. For now there’s a few decisions to be made and a few faces to see, I'm just glad that we're still doing all these things together (yay to us for no fall outs) but we’ll keep you posted on what we do, do.

Love Carrie xxx