One of the things travel has taught us is that there’s always something new to discover, wherever you are in the world. We now see the UK with fresh eyes, when we visit we make an effort to explore new areas and we appreciate the natural beauty and cultural heritage of our homeland much more than we ever did when we lived here.
I was on a train to meet Andrew in Wales, chatting to the girl next to me, when she asked: “So, where do you live then?” the question had me stumped. After mumbling something about just getting back from Asia and visiting family in the UK I eventually had to admit that I don’t really live anywhere. “I’m just travelling around at the moment,” I replied. I could tell from the bemused look on the girl’s face that she thought I was odd and for a moment I saw my life from a different angle, one where not having a home, job or more than a backpack worth of possessions doesn’t look as amazing as it feels.
Where were you this time last year? We were in Thailand, relaxing by the river Kwai in Kanchanaburi whilst preparing for our trip to Burma. I’ve written many times about our love for the Land of Smiles and now that the weather has turned cold and wet here in Hanoi I often fantasise about heading back to the warmth of one of our favourite Asian cities: Chiang Mai. We have fond memories of this northern Thai oasis; volunteering at the nearby Elephant Nature Park, hanging out with visiting friends and family and celebrating the New Year’s water festival, Songkran.
I had a sneaking suspicion that I would fall head-over-heels in love with Edinburgh – and I wasn’t wrong. With its cobbled lanes, pub-lined streets, castles and ancient buildings, Edinburgh has so much character and history. Since we were there while the Fringe Festival was on we were also totally sucked into the energy and colour that surrounded us; everywhere we went there were street performers, shows going on and crowds of happy sightseers.
I couldn’t conceive of going to Scotland without visiting Loch Ness, the largest and perhaps most famous lake in the UK. So we set out on a two-hour journey from our cottage in the Highlands to cruise the loch and investigate the myths that surround this atmospheric piece of Scotland.
Back in 2013 I shed many tears when we said goodbye to our lives in London. Although we were leaving by choice to fulfil our dreams of travelling the world, it was still painful to dismantle the lives we had spent almost four years building in a city we absolutely loved. Back then I had no idea when we’d return to London and I was worried that travel would spoil the city for me; that my love for it would fade. Now we’re back after over 15 months of travel and I’m relieved to say that my fears dissolved the moment I stepped off the train at Waterloo station - I felt like I’d finally arrived home.
We’ve been back in the UK for over a month now and after an incredible homecoming we’ve settled back into life here more easily than I ever imagined we would. As I write this we’re sat at the kitchen table in someone else’s beautiful South-London home while their cute five-month-old miniature schnauzer mills around our feet. We’re house and pet sitting for the first time in our favourite city and even though it’s raining outside, life in London is undeniably great.