So after 240 days (8 months) I’m finally back home in the UK, shorter than the year I had originally planned but long enough for me actually. Over this time I’ve been to some beautiful environments, seen some amazing sights and met some truly amazing people.
The things that stick out for me were the Golden Temple in Amritsar, India, the Taj Mahal, my first glimpse of the Himalayas (but any time I was in the mountains really, trekking in Nepal and Bolivia), island hopping in Thailand and learning to scuba dive, getting stranded on a beach on Koh Rong, Cambodia on Norwegian Independence Day, having my own motorbike in Vietnam, the caves in Phong Nha national park, sailing in Ha Long Bay, Iguazu Waterfalls, driving around NW Argentina, Isla del Sol on Lake Titicaca and Machu Picchu. Then there was all the great people I met and travelled with from my time in Pucon, Chile to when I left South America. Of course there were lots of other great experiences but these just stick out particularly.
I’ve also enjoyed the food whilst I’ve been travelling, experiencing new flavours and ingredients (good and bad!) wherever I have been. The food in India and South East Asia was my favourite though, although it was an experience going to some top end restaurants in India, Argentina and Peru.
I have been extremely lucky that I’ve survived the trip without any serious disasters really. Only lost a Kindle and a laptop charger (both when I was drunk…), expensive but not major losses. I only gave myself one nasty injury when I hit my head and was bleeding from the ear, I did have a dodgy tummy a lot though…
So what have I got from this experience? Well I’ve seen a lot of the world I’ve always wanted to see and also many wonderful places that I didn’t know existed. I don’t think I’ve changed that much or learnt anything about myself, not that I was expecting to anyway. Maybe I’ve learned to just go with the flow, whenever something goes bad or when faced with the unexpected, good or bad.
I don’t think I’d do a long trip alone again though, I’ve learned I work best when in a group and always try to talk to people and make them feel included. But it takes that initial courage just to say hello to a stranger and I think this is just easier when there is more than one of you, I think this courage is still something I can lack when I’m by myself. But once you make that crucial step you can make the most wonderful relationships with people. That has been the true highlight of the trip.
Places like Machu Picchu and the Taj Mahal will still be there for many years to come but you only have one chance to connect with the people you meet while travelling. When I have had the courage to say hello or vice versa I have found these people to be funny, interesting and generally jolly good company. From this trip I have made friends from all over the world so on my future travels I will hopefully find at least one friendly face wherever I go. And in return they will always find a friend in me if they ever visit England or wherever our paths may cross again!