One year and approximately 5 hours ago, I stumbled through customs and was allowed to take step on British soil.
It was, of course, not without drama, but these things never are.
One year and about a day ago, I sat with Alistair and my mum in Adelaide airport, trying to download and teach her how to use Viber. I think this may have been a distraction tactic to avoid talking. When it was time to board, I hugged them both tightly, turned around and didn't look back.
One year and about 4 months ago, I sold the remainder of my belongings. All I had left was a tiny fraction of my remaining clothes, and my books were put in storage.
Two years and about 3 months ago, I got a crazy idea into my head that I would move to London. I had no idea where to start, or what to do, or how to go about it, or whether I would even be able to survive alone in another country. To keep myself accountable, I started telling people about my crazy plan. I couldn't very well say, "Oh yeah, I..um..changed my mind.." after I told everyone, right?
For one full year, London has been my home. I still get confused when talking about "home"; sometimes it's Australia, sometimes it's London.
I have fallen in love with this city. It isn't for everyone, but the fast paced lifestyle, the food and drink, the theatre and the arts, the travel, the countryside, the bustle, keeping to the right and minding the gap makes me feel alive.
It hasn't been perfect - but then you need the difficult times to appreciate the positive. It's been challenging. Life affirming. Character building.
I am most proud of all the travel I have accomplished, either alone, with friends, or as part of a tour. I feel I have only scraped the surface of Europe still and I have places that I would love to return to so I can continue exploring them.
Here, then, is a list of all the countries I have visited since leaving home..Australia, home:
- England (of course)
- Czech Republic
My heart swells when I think of Iceland's rolling wintery landscapes, or Budapest's golden-lit cityscape, or Florence's intricate cathedrals. My mouth waters when I think of Greek feta, or Italian gelato, or hearty Hungarian goulash.
And England, my current home, has offered up quaint little villages nestled amongst bright yellow fields and wooded forests. It's offered a plethora of history, famous landmarks and art. England has allowed me to meet some of the kindest, funniest, sweetest human beings who build me up when I am feeling low and join me on crazy adventures.
So here's to another year packed full of surprises. May this rotation of the sun go slower than the last.
And may I never grow tired of Big Ben.
Live, laugh, love.