That’s all folks

*this post was written when we were nearing the end of the trip. I am posting it unedited as this was how I felt about the adventure we had. It is now nearly 2 years since we returned home (wow – I have been terrible at getting these posts finished – I’m really sorry!) but I still think about the places we went, who we met and the unbelievable things we got to do often and I miss travelling a lot. I hope to revisit many of the places we went to and I love talking to people about their planned trips to the countries we visited – even if I’m also really jealous to not be going back with them!

In the past two years we have very much settled back into normal UK living, although it would be a lie to say that it wasn’t a huge adjustment coming home! We have managed to get some more little trips in but closer to home such as going to Paris, Amsterdam, Cyprus, the French Riveria and Austria. Niall went back to his previous job and has since received a promotion and I was able to get a training contract at a law firm starting in September of this year and am working in the firm in the meantime so we’re proud of the progress we’re making. We would have loved to be able to travel forever but have other aspirations that we needed to tackle so we plan on exploring the rest of the world on holidays instead. I’ve included a few pictures of us since we have been home just in case you’re missing our faces!

I want to say a huge thank you to everyone who read my posts whilst we were away. I hope they were interesting, entertaining and even useful to you. I’ll leave it there with my final blog post below.

Imogen xx

—–

After 21 months our trip has come to an end and, with it, this blog. I started this blog back in October 2016 as a kind of public diary to document everything we did on our trip so that when I’m old and losing my memory I can read back on it all and go ‘yeah, I did that!’ It was also a way to keep our nearest and dearest in the loop with everything we were getting up to so that they didn’t need to worry and could come along on the adventure with us.

Over the time we have been away we have done way more than we could ever have expected. I didn’t know I’d be going to South Korea, diving with sharks or doing a week long trek into the Himalayas – but we have!

We had always planned on bungee jumping in New Zealand, skydiving in Australia and learning to scuba dive somewhere in the world and all of these things were better than we could have imagined with diving now being something we have done in many of the countries we have visited and something we plan to continue throughout our lives.

I’m not going to say we have caught the travel bug because we had it before this all started. Personally, myself and my siblings have been brought up on the wonderful stories that my parents told of their three year world trip that they took before we were born. We were told of monkeys eating their cereal, firecrackers being thrown into their bedroom in China, the wonders of the Himalayas, great food, even better people and of memories that have shaped who they are and stayed with them throughout their lives. My parents are an inspiration to me in so many ways, not just in wanting to travel, and I couldn’t be more thankful for their support during the last 21 months. Niall has also been told stories from his grandparents of places they visited during the war as well as in their younger years whilst he was also on planes from an early age visiting the Greek islands and America. We also couldn’t have gone without his parents and grandparents’ support during this trip. We wouldn’t have managed this trip without the ongoing, unwavering love, guidance and support of our families back in the UK (and New Zealand). Despite us missing them and them us, they have always maintained how good it is that we were out there seeing and doing everything we were seeing and doing and that was invaluable to us. We’ll be forever grateful to them and we really are incredibly lucky to have them!

Sometimes writing this blog was difficult. When we were very busy, moving around a lot, with new friends or seeing loads in a short space of time, it would be hard to keep up with what we had done. Wifi was also an issue as I like to include some of the many, many pictures I take of everywhere we go which involves a good internet connection. It was frustrating at times seeing the list of blogs I had to write or post increase and spending hours and hours writing and posting them. Niall was always on hand to help edit the posts and remove those little errors or check it all made sense and I was always happy once the post went out. I have met a lot of people who, like me, started a blog at the beginning of their trip but after a few posts in they lost their flow and stopped writing. I am so pleased that I kept mine going until the end (aided by Niall’s dad, Dave, keeping me on my toes through his not so subtle nudges when the posts were becoming few and far between – I needed that sometimes!). I know I would have regretted it if my writing had stopped and even during this trip we have used my blogs to advise others or remind ourselves of a particularly place name or event.

My writing style over time has developed into something I’m proud of. I like reading my blogs back already (thank goodness) and even though sometimes the details may seem too precise for some, I always thought it was important to remember those bits as they’re the details you need to know when travelling. I liked how, particularly in the later stages of my blog, I started to reach a broader audience. The comments I received about my blog posts always made me smile and it’s great to think that any of the posts I have written could help someone in their planning for a holiday or big trip like ours. We had read so many blogs when we were looking into places ourselves and often noticed how many people sugar-coated the bad bits in the hope of creating this perfect image of the adventure they have had. I didn’t want to do that. How does that help me if I wanted to revisit a country or anyone else reading the blog if they used my information in their planning? Some days were hard, some terrible (Tongariro Crossing I’m looking at you) and some were just nothing days of travelling or working. But the majority of the trip was incredible. I loved it. I don’t have a country I look at and think, that was completely rubbish and a waste of my time. I don’t have anything that I regret we did – even that terrible crossing could have been amazing so we had to at least attempt it – and so I don’t need to sugar coat the bad bits because when I look at the trip we have done it’s in one giant sugary, candy floss coating already just from being unbelievable.

When Niall and I started this trip we had been together for nearly 8 years. We knew each other really well having grown into the adults we are today by each other’s side. Saying that though, we hadn’t spent longer than two weeks constantly together due to keeping separate lives, attending different universities and just generally not living in each other’s pockets. Coming home, we have spent the past 21 months (except for one week in March where Niall was in New Zealand and me in Australia) spending every single day together. In fact, aside from the odd night out or when we were at work, we have spent pretty much 24/7 with one another. We have gotten to know each other even more than I thought was possible and have supported each other immensely through all of the highs and lows we have had (and there have been many of both). I don’t think either of us could have done all the things we have done without the other and I’m very grateful to have had him by my side through this adventure and to continue onto our new adventure back in the UK together.

I’ve loved being able to meet new people on this trip. We have made loads of friends that I’m really hoping we’ll be able to keep in touch with now we have all gone our separate ways. We would meet people for less than a week and feel like we’d known them for years. We have been able to see how truly lovely people can be. From being taken in by a family friend we’d never met before (thank you Anne), being spoiled in New Zealand (thank you Rachael, Steve, Vanessa, Lynley, Robin, Sophie and Dan) having people help us negotiate a good taxi rate so that we didn’t get ripped off, someone withdrawing money for us when our card didn’t work and just trusting we’d pay them back as well as the many people who helped us when we looked lost or didn’t speak the language. There are definitely more good people in the world than bad (something we need to remember) and I’m happy to say we’ve mainly only met the good ones.

By the time we reached Sri Lanka, our final stop, we think we were ready to come home. Nine months in Asia had us missing our home comforts and being away for nearly two years had us very much ready to see our family and friends again. Some people go on trips like ours and never want to come home or develop a kind of hatred for their home nation after seeing what else is out there. Not us, we like the UK (despite its politics) and love Newcastle and it was always our intention to return. It was time to get back to real life but this wasn’t the end of us travelling… we still have the rest of the world to see!

Thank you for coming on this journey with us. It’s time for Niall and I to start the next one.

Sending eternal love,

Imogen x

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