Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Is it over already?

Getting to the end of a year long trip abroad is not easy. Ok, I'm not exactly saying anything mind blowing there, but it is just starting to hit home now that soon I'll be back to the real world.

The World Cup is over, I've just entered the last country on my journey and in a week and a half I get on that flight back to Australia.

While I'm looking forward to the first week of being home - seeing friends and family and doing all of the things that you miss while on the road - that feeling is sure to last only until I start getting back into routine. 

First will come job hunting, following closely by house hunting and then paying rent and bills and the 9-to-5 routine where you spend your weekend wishing Monday would never come. For the last year Monday has been exactly the same as any other day. A day where I can do anything I want. 

I am still enjoying my last few weeks it must be said, but I do have an eye on the trip home which is in just ten days. I've been making the most of the tail end by trying to enjoy as much good food and wine, and experience some different things, while also trying to relax as much as possible, because I know it will be a long time before I will be able to leave Australia again - and certainly never again be able to do a trip like I have in the last 12 months. 

There are some things I am looking forward to at home of course. Here's a list of some of the things I'm genuinely looking forward to once I get back to Melbourne.

Friends & Family
This one may be obvious, but this is the hardest thing to leave behind when you leave the country for an extended time. I've been fortunate enough to meet up with friends (and even some family) all over the globe on this trip and that has created some of the highlights. But there's nothing quite like having the bulk of your loved ones live a short drive away for those random catch ups family get-togethers. Skype just doesn't quite cut it.

My Mexican family

Being able to just hang out with people who you know and that know you is also a big plus. While travelling, you'll find new friends, but each time you do you'll find yourself having to give an abridged autobiography. Where are you from? What do you do? Where have you been? Where are you going? How long for? Where has been the best place? There are days when this conversation can be had dozens of times and it can get a little exhausting. Back home those conversations are much rarer and you can just get on with hanging out. 

Food & Drink
I've had some great food on this trip (the extra baggage I'll be carrying upon return will be proof of that) from curry in India, steak in Argentina, tacos in Mexico and bbq in Brazil, I've been enjoying as much of the gastronomic delights of the many countries I've visited as possible. Having said that, there are always going to be things that I'll look forward to eating and drinking once i get home that you just cant get on the road (or at least not the same). For me it is going to be; meat pies, dim sims, chicken parmigiana, Farmers Union Iced coffee, steak, Vegemite, Coopers beer, BBQ Shapes, Twisties, Yarra Valley wines, my mum's home cooking and my friend's cupcakes (you know who you are!). 

Milenesa Napolitana in Argentina - pretty much a parma

I could just as easily have put this in with the food and drink, but for me it is even bigger than that. Being a typical Melbourne coffee snob, travelling the world can be a bit of a struggle in terms of finding some good coffee. You find yourself asking every other person you meet if they managed to find a decent brew before inevitably settling for some brown water that passes for coffee in most countries. 

Cafe in Valparaiso, Chile with a very enticing name

Interestingly, this last part of my trip has been one of the best legs in terms of coffee. Buenos Aires in Argentina certainly has a great cafe culture that feels very Melbourne like, and with some hunting you can find some good coffee. What I'm looking forward to though, is being able to visit any corner and finding a delicious cup of wake up juice.

Not being a tourist
While travelling is still without a doubt my favourite thing in the world, there are times when you need a break from it. You're constantly trying to make sure you're maximising your time in any place because you'll "never be back there again" and this can lead to wearing yourself out a bit. The other part of this that can get a bit exhausting is not knowing what is going on half the time. Turning up at an attraction, a bus stop or a restaurant and not knowing the local rules on purchasing (or even what it is you're supposed to purchase) can be tough. There is something to be said for hanging out at your local bar and knowing exactly what is good there and how to get everything done as easily as possible - also without any language barrier.

Local Sport
This has obviously been a great trip for the sports junkie in me. Not only did I attend the World Cup, but I went to NFL, NHL and NBA games in the US & Canada and visited several other important stadiums in many of the countries I visited.

One happy sports junkie

I am, however, very much looking forward to getting home and seeing some of the sport that I grew up with. I've missed almost all of the AFL season (some will say as a Saints fan that is a blessing) but I'm lucky enough to be getting back to Melbourne in time to see the farewell tribute match for one of the clubs greats, Lenny Hayes, which I'm pretty stoked about. 

The other club I grew up watching though, the Melbourne Tigers (Australian basketball) has ceased to exist since I've been away (due to short sighted owners) which is all kinds of devastating. While I cant see myself supporting the new entity, being a big fan of Australian basketball I look forward to still supporting the league and the local talent.

With the Asian Cup due to take place in Australia later in the year too, it will be a good chance for our country to get behind the Socceroos as they chase some serious silverware for the first time ever. Hopefully that will help being back some of the amazing feeling that I (and the other Aussies) felt watching our boys in Brazil. 

A year on the road involves carrying your life on your back. I'm looking forward to finally unpacking my backpack and having the choice of more than seven shirts or two pairs of shoes. I'm not usually a big fan of "stuff" but having access to everything I own again, rather than just what I can carry is looking pretty enticing right now. 

Going Home
Finally, in a week where almost 300 people perished on flight MH17 (many taking their own trip of a lifetime) I look forward to getting home to all of my family and friends and the comforts of home. 

No comments:

Post a Comment