I’m back! After about a month of constant travel, I returned to the UK on the 23rd June – just in time for the EU referendum and what lovely news to be welcomed back with the next morning *tears falling as I fall down in a slow circle and die*. The words of Take That might echo the thoughts of Leave voters this past week with my friend Grace suggesting that Coldplay’s ‘Fix You’ should replace the United Kingdom’s National Anthem. Anyone else care to contribute to our EU fallout party playlist?
2016 is proving to be a dismal year, so to brighten things up, I’ll refrain from lamenting on things I’ll miss from my exchange and look towards some home comforts that I’m glad to return to:
- Personal space! Whilst Hong Kong is a city over spilling with vibrancy, one thing I won’t miss is constantly sharing space. Nothing beats having your own room, infrequent violations of one’s personal public bubble, or even taking your time with a meal without being shooed away for the next customer.
- Me-time! As selfish as this sounds, travelling around with a group of friends really makes you cherish your time alone. It’s absolutely wonderful to explore different countries with close friends or develop new friendships, but it can also be exhausting being around people 24/7 (hello hostels). It’s nice to have some down time once in a while, reconsolidate your thoughts and just soak in being in a different country, rather than focusing on the next place to see or activity to do.
- Sleep! For a pretty active person, I do love my sleep! Sure, if you have three months or more travel time, you can afford to sleep in now and again. If not, travelling usually means early mornings and late nights, which can also be a mood killer. (I get the sleep equivalent of ‘hangry’ if deprived of my slumber.)
- Sensible currency! One crazily inflated currency is hard to get your head around, so try three in the space of a month. If you’re too lazy to pull out your phone before every transaction, mental arithmetic is necessary to convert back into GPB, but at least this cognitive effort is rewarded by pleasantly cheap prices. (Unless it’s Japan. Everything is expensive in Japan). Being back means not getting confused at the amount of zeros in the price, triple checking the notes I’m handing over and worrying about being stuck with useless coins!
It’s easy to romanticise this past year – certainly the best one of my life so far. However, the reality of returning will be an entirely different experience as I remind myself that studying abroad and working abroad are not the same thing! Separate posts will up in due course for all the places I visited, but for now I’m basking in the fleeting novelty of being back at home and in blissful ignorance of my unpacked suitcase.