After 8 days on the road we finally made it home to sunny Chester (it actually was sunny!) on Friday, just in time for my birthday. It was lovely to be back, I wasn’t sure how I would feel but yes it was great. The house was left in excellent order by the family, thank you guys and time shared over the birthday weekend has been lovely.
Now that we’re back, I wanted to take the opportunity to provide a few reflections, a few things to share that I have observed, learned or would like to learn, written in no particular order…
Appreciate the simple things, blue skies, sunshine, warmth on your back
Actively appreciate being well, lots of people aren’t
Learn to speak the language if you want to live comfortably in another country
Even if you do, you will always be an outsider
Other countries really value and invest in their public services and public servants……, sports centres and community space even in the smallest of towns
Compromise is vital
Look around and be inspired
Try to inspire others
Take the time, at the time to recognise and value that you are having a good time
Take the opportunity to live amongst new people and learn from them
Live in the moment
Try to find out more before you judge
Try to not to judge
Love the twinkle of sunlight on the sea
Don’t be too hard on yourself, celebrate what is good about you
Drink alcohol and enjoy it but build in dry days even when it’s sunny!
Mix with people of all ages and particularly enjoy what young people can offer
Remind yourself to smile and show others when you are happy
Laugh when things go wrong
Save your anger for the big things
Nature is bigger than all of us, appreciate how small and insignificant we actually are
Love different plants and animals that you see on your travels
Love the different foods (well most of them!)
Love Chinese Bazaars!
Value differences, don’t expect or wish for things to be the same as at home, that’s not why you’ve come abroad
France and Spain are vast countries, so much open space, even 3 months just scrapes the surface
Waves change the shoreline every single day, the sea is blue but a different blue everyday, nothing stays the same
You actually need far fewer belongings than you think
Efficiency is good, bureaucracy is tiresome
Care for and truly appreciate family and friends and stay in touch….
That brings me nicely to what I want to conclude with…. I would like to start by giving my thanks to my friends and work colleagues, who from the outset encouraged and helped to fuel the madness of this first adventure, keeping me going for the last few months in my job. Thanks too to my brilliant family for egging me on and providing reassurance that all would be well at home and full encouragement to be mad and seek out fun and pleasures. My greatest thanks go to Mike who helped me turn this vague plan into the most brilliant reality. Mike was really the organiser in the background and he could never be sure until we arrived somewhere if things would be ok. He was also the driver, covering more than 5,000 miles in 3 and a half months. I believe not everyone could spend such an intense time with their partner, luckily we really could, growing and sharing everything along the way. Out of interest Mike never read any of my blogs before posting so he had no part to play in my version of events. Without him the adventure would never have got off the ground so I give my thanks publicly. I know that he has been keeping his own probably very different account of the trip and this will appear in the hard back book that Greg is creating for me as a fantastic birthday present, which I look forward to immensely.
Lastly I would like to thank everyone who has taken the time to read my blogs and for the many encouraging and supportive comments you have given to me. Sometimes when I have missed home those comments made all the difference. So thank you.
Would I do it again. Oh yes! Our next adventure will be a trip to Australia in the spring to see Rosie. Other adventures are very much on the cards and who knows, maybe I’ll take up the travel blog again. Until then, au revoir, adios and goodbye x