SO. Here I was. My last stop before coming home. Almost five months on the road, my first time travelling (mainly) on my own, and thousands of pounds spent on some pretty amazing bucket list adventures. It was pretty mind-blowing to think how far I had come on that cold January morning in London and now I was finishing in one of the greatest cities in the world – New York. I had travelled 5,000 miles by land across America to get here.
And what did I do? Not much! I mostly…chilled out. New York is a total whirlwind of sights, smells, sounds – every sensory experience you can have, you can have here in seconds. I had been to this great city twice before, both for long periods and I had ticked off everything I wanted to do and see tourist wise. There are millions of guides and blogs on the city which you can read for detailed 3-5 day itinerary plans. But instead of rushing around like a maniac, as I had done in many other places along the way, Dom and I slowed down, took our time and walked. So if like me, you want a slower experience I suggest this: Walk from Chelsea to Time Square and back again, walk High Line Park and grab breakfast in Chelsea Farmers Market, walk to Washington Square Park to see cute shops, a puppy play pen and a park frequented by locals, not tourists. I tried to live a bit like a New Yorker for 48 hours, and it was really fun.
What wasn’t so fun was thinking about reality and coming back…yes it had plus sides – seeing people I had really missed, my own room, a comfortable bed (!) but the downsides seemed vast – not seeing something new everyday, not learning anymore, would I meet any new people in the next month even?! Would home friends even care what I have done? And the obvious one – oh Christ, I best start job hunting.
The euphoria of seeing familiar friends and family is quite overwhelming and in many ways, coming home was a highlight of the trip. It is absolutely true when people say – travel makes you appreciate what you have at home as well as what you don’t.
People have asked since I have been back – have you “changed”? And at first, I would always laugh and say no. But now, I’m not so sure, I think I have. As annoying as this may sound…bear with me…
I think I’m more likely to say yes and not give up on myself at the first hurdle – I had some low moments but also some great highs and accomplishments I’m really proud of, so I’m not so scared of trying (and failing) anymore. The whole experience gave me a perspective on how others live and on my own privilege. I am happy to have been a brief cameo in 100 other backpackers’ travel stories and experiences – because that’s all we are to each other in life, a supporting role in the story of an individual. We all have our own lives, needs and wants – solo travel means you have to think about and look after your own, all the time, which was certainly different for me, but it has given me a confidence to know what is right for me and what isn’t, and who is and who isn’t as well…some fellow travellers I just didn’t want to spend time with, and that’s ok!
So this is my last post – I’ve loved writing about my adventures and hope you enjoyed keeping up with my various escapades. When I left in January I never thought I would swim with whale sharks, climb the highest mountain in South East Asia, dive the Great Barrier Reef, jump out of a plane, snorkel with a pod of 200 wild dolphins, road trip 5000 miles across the USA, or meet all the great people I did doing those things with me.
If anyone has any doubts about doing something similar – it will be the best money you ever spend and the best thing you ever do. So enjoy everything life is, use your freedom wisely and travel!
Bye (for now!)
Nome From Home x