So after two years, four months and three visas I am finally home. Whilst it is great to be back that statement alone provokes me to let out a sigh. The dream is over (for now) and reality is beginning to bite. Quite frankly, I am at a loss as to what to do with myself. Living abroad brings so many challenges that coming home almost seems boring. My laundry is done for me, I have my own bedroom and TV plus no-one is going to walk into my room drunk at 4.30am. There is no visa deadline to adhere to, no wholly desperate need to go out every night, the football is on at a sociable hour and your parents are only a phone call away.
Despite being at home it is almost impossible not to imagine what I would be doing right now if I was still in Australia, specifically Melbourne. For instance this weekend I would have probably been to Big Day Out on a freebie from a magazine. At some point I’d have spent the afternoon at a beach soaking up the rays on Australia Day Weekend. The tennis would be on constantly and I’d have made an effort to catch the Men’s Final in my favourite spot on a big screen next to the Yarra River with a couple of tinnies and some crisps. Then I’d have gone out, got routinely drunk and struggled to get myself home, it’s tradition.
After a week of being home I can confirm that little has changed here. The weather is grey and miserable, the house is still in the same place, as is my local, which is always reassuring. Everyone is a bit older; I only need to check my Facebook feed on a regular basis to catch up on who is pregnant/getting married/hating their job. Part of me wonders if I hadn’t decided on leaving whether I’d be a father or stuck with a mortgage. Hindsight is a bitch but taking two years out of my life to travel was ultimately worth it when I consider that so many people are unable to do it due to so many factors tying them down.
Since September 2011 I have seen so many fantastic places that I almost have to check a map to remember exactly where I have been. That sounds impressively arrogant yet I am still surprised that I managed it without begging my parents for money. The world may end tomorrow but at least I have scuba-dived The Great Barrier Reef, climbed the Franz Josef Glacier, taken in the isolated splendour of Uluru, dug my own bath at Hot Water Beach, bathed an elephant and crouched through Viet Cong tunnels amongst other things. Life is about experiences and should I ever have children I’ll be able to wistfully tell them about the time Daddie went away.
Having left Australia without arranging sponsorship I have had to live with the realisation that I’d be returning home for the past four months, a period that has been something of a blur. There is an idea of what I want to do in the immediate future yet there is no distinct urge to rush into it. Having spent so long away from home I need to settle back into England and make up for lost time. Of course, there is a tinge of embarrassment the comes from living at home but what living abroad has taught me is that you are always better off considering your options before making a rash decision. Just like recommending a future destination while traveling I need to speak to people in order to make a decision on my future. Reality can wait until I’m ready to leave home.