It is genius that the program required us to purchase a return ticket before our initial departure; not only would I have been less likely to come home in the end, but I would have been hard pressed to find the money for that flight. I didn’t intend to miss my flight from Dublin to London, but I was all too close. I arrived early and became that girl in the corner of the airport relocating clothing to avoid an overweight bag fine. But I won’t complain, I wasn’t about to throw out all that Norwegian chocolate so I stuffed it into my purse and carried on. Through security with a might-as-well-be-empty roller and a shoulder-breaking, jam-packed purse, I very stupidly entered the wrong part of the airport after pursuing the wrong gate, was forced to exit through customs, jump the queue to re-do security and run to another terminal in fifteen minutes. I barely made it. In London, I had a third round of security where a woman transferred all of my roller’s belongings to a bin; I think that was her loss though because it was two weeks of dirty underwear and crunchy socks. I bought a venti Starbucks to cope with the previous four hours of dilemmas, pat-downs, and sprinting before boarding a 787 Dreamliner bound for Austin, Texas. That airplane is so posh. I watched 5 movies and landed 9 hours later to an immense amount of humidity and a little heat.
My first stop was Homeslice Pizza for obvious reasons, followed by a sprint to the patio to see my dog and falling fast asleep in my own sweet bed.
It feels a little like I just awoke from a coma. It can’t possibly be summer here? It seems like I’ve been gone for years. But if I had to be anywhere but London, it would be right here. I have a desire to wear cowboy boots that I don’t even own, to go to a baseball game to eat a hot dog, to drink margaritas and be incredibly American because it’s kind of lovely here right now. I’m not as bitter as I thought I would be, but I’m sure it’ll hit when routine sets in. There’s a lot to be happy about now so I’m rolling with it.
In the end, I added up all the planes, trains, ferries and coaches I took for five months and came up with 18,006 miles. But add hundreds more for the miles logged on the Underground/Metra/T-Bane/S-Bahn and Metros, as well as a few hundred more for the amount of miles I walked or ran (for survival, not exercise). I covered England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland, Spain, France, Belgium, Netherlands, Norway, Germany, Czech Republic, Italy and the Vatican making my goal of 14 countries in 2014 complete (when you include the United States). I attempted to speak seven languages, traded in five currencies, slept in five hostels and five apartments. I also broke through four pairs of shoes, one backpack, a MacBook Pro and my Canon Lens. I’m still in the process of adding up each and every expense over the last five months as I meticulously kept track of each purchase along the way. I barely made it out alive, but I managed to fund every side trip, food, beer and miscellaneous purchase on my own which makes last summer’s three jobs completely worth it. But this is also the reason that I found myself at work 15 hours after landing in the United States. I’m alive, I’m well, I’m a bit more versed about a few big things and I’m so full.
Of all the things to bother me when I came home, it was my closet. I have so many things that I never gave a thought to for six months. I don’t want any of it. I didn’t realize that my lifestyle had been so materialistic. It just isn’t what is important. I’m going to run with this notion and straighten up a bit.
Also, American money is ugly. Could we have picked a less exciting color?
So this could be it. If you want this silly thing to continue or you have a suggestion as to what this should become, I’m all ears. Thanks for seeing out my heart’s desires over the past few months, I’m such a sucker for adventure.