Ramblings of a jetsetter

Homeward bound…

So if you follow me on my instagram or have me on Facebook you’ll have probably noticed I had a little surprise appearance in Scotland at the half way point of my trip…so here’s the story of how all that came about and why I decided to reroute my flight to drop me off in sunny Scotland for a quick stopover en route to my next destination…

As much as New Zealand lived up to its full potential and was everything I imagined it would be, I still wasn’t feeling quite myself and I couldn’t work out why. I was actually beginning to toy with the idea of postponing the rest of my entire trip so that I could go home and try to reset before continuing on at a later date when I would appreciate more about where I was and what I was doing…

Honestly I think I’d just never fully recovered from feeling so down after I left Australia and it was really starting to grate on me when I found myself daydreaming of life after travelling and what I was going to do with myself when it was all over. I was full on stuck in the biggest rut and I was so upset and mad at myself for wishing my time away when I’d paid so much money and sacrificed so much to be doing all of this when I wasn’t even really enjoying it at that moment.

So I gave myself a shake and sat myself down and questioned what I really wanted. What would make ME happy and allow myself to keep going on this trip of a lifetime. And it all boiled down to the simple fact that I missed my family. I missed my dogs and my wee granny and just that sense of familiarity and I knew it’s what I needed to do to get myself back to myself again.

I needed to go home.

As soon as I landed in Auckland, I had the emergency numbers for my airline dialled into my phone before I was even off the plane. When I explained to them what I was trying to do and how I wanted to re route my flight to Vancouver to take me via Glasgow instead – I realised how big of an ask it was, and with every passing minute on hold to the operator my hope of going home slowly started to dwindle. I don’t know if it was the fact that I was all choked up at the possibility of seeing my family, or if the agent on the other end of line had kids my age and knew exactly what I was going through. But whatever happened that night I won’t forget in a hurry. He pulled some strings and cancelled my flight altogether (which is really unheard of…) and rebooked me onto an emirates flight leaving for Glasgow the next morning. I couldn’t even say goodbye properly I was sobbing so much. I was about to fly 42 hours across the world…and my family had no idea I was coming home…

It took everything in me not to ruin the surprise and tell them I was coming. Instead, I made up a tangled web of lies about going on a cruise to the northern islands for a few days (this technically wasn’t a lie, I’d got on the phone right after my emotional call to the airline and the cruise also refunded my trip for me !) I just didn’t tell my mum about the cancellation…

So I’d bought myself some time to be MIA. My first flight was 19 hours straight from Auckland to Dubai and my second flight (after a 9 hour layover in Dubai airport) was 10 hours home to Glasgow. I absolutely loved loved loved New Zealand but I tell you what I won’t be hurrying back any time soon. That 19 hour long flight was one of the worst things I’ve ever had to do in my ENTIRE life. I was a walking zombie by the time I got off it, having slept for about 2 hours of it. The rest of the time was spent watching Disney movies and hassling the air hostess for little bottles of wine to try and knock me out for a while. I just knew the layover in Dubai was gonna be even worse and I wanted to try and get as much sleep as I possibly could…fat chance of that happening as it turned out!

One of the worst parts about it all was, when I landed in Dubai I noticed there was a flight to Glasgow leaving in an hour (the flight I was booked on wasn’t for another 9 hours…) so I raced to the gate and did my best to beg to get on it – and there were seats – they just couldn’t let me on because of rules and regulations. Defeated and exhausted I slumped back through the sea of people towards the uncomfortable airport seats and settled in for a long, long wait. I just wanted to be home already…

Eventually my flight was called and I got myself organised to get on. I couldn’t even get excited as by this point I’d been awake well over 24 hours, I’d cried an absolute river in that time and all I’d had to eat was terrible plane food. I was starting to lose my mind a little. Instead of handing over my passport and boarding ticket I handed her my book and couldn’t for the life of me understand what I’d done wrong. She was a good sport about it and helped me find my documents, wishing me a safe flight and to have fun at home. Home! That word hit me like a truck. I was going HOME.

I skipped my way onto the plane and sat down with a massive smile plastered on my face. I didn’t even care that for the next 10 hours I’d be airborne, uncontactable. I was just so happy to finally be on my way. The last hurdle before I could get a cuddle from my favourite people…

I’d only told one person I was coming back. My pal Colette was sitting poised and ready for my text telling her I’d landed. And after racing for my bag and manoeuvring around the new Glasgow airport lay out I was hurtling towards her little green car like a bat out of hell. I think I was speaking gibberish at 100mph the whole way home I was so jet lagged and overly exhausted. I didn’t even care what I looked like I was just so HAPPY to be home. I knew I’d done the right thing coming back. This was exactly what I needed.

30 mins later I found myself stuffed into the backseat of the car, hiding under black bin bags to try and block out my hair as we drove into my driveway. I knew my mum was awake because I told her I’d be coming back from the islands that day and arranged to FaceTime her as soon as I was back at the hostel. So she was waiting on me, she just didn’t realise I was outside her front door when I went live on Facebook…

Whenever I switch my profile to “live” she’s always one of the first people to click on it. So that was my plan of action. I went live as we rolled slowly into the driveway, only showing darkness as I was stuffed underneath those black bags. But as soon as I opened the door and flipped my camera round to a view of the house and the garden, and knowing she was watching- I handed my phone to Colette and burst through the front door shouting “what’s happppppening!!!!”.

My granny was standing in the kitchen so I made a beeline straight for her – she was so shocked she didn’t say anything she was just holding onto my arm for grim death staring at me in disbelief. Next thing I heard was my 6’4 brother bounding down the stairs at high speed. He’d heard my voice and apparently leaped out of bed and out of his room with his feet barely touching the floor. I hardly got a chance to take a breath before he was picking me up and swinging me around in circles. I guess he was pleased to see me after all !

… and next to appear was my wee mum running down the stairs faster than I’ve ever seen her move before. Between my mum, my gran, my dad, my brother and my dogs I don’t think I could tell you who was happier to see me. We all kinda stood in a circle laughing giddily for around 10 mins – my gran intermittently making accusations to my whole family “did you know???” “Did you know??!!” I explained that NOBODY knew. I’d just flown right around the world over the past 40 hours and not a single soul at home (except Colette of course) knew what I was up to. I’d call that a success wouldn’t you?

So there I was. In my house – after the longest stint of travelling I’d ever done. Physically and emotionally exhausted my body felt defeated. But I didn’t care. It would pay off in the end. I needed this to be able to keep going. I needed to recharge and take some time for myself and I wasn’t missing anything by doing so. It was the perfect time to do it and so I grabbed the opportunity with both hands. I was home, surrounded by people who loved me and for the first time in weeks I felt settled again.

All I could do was smile as I stood in my own shower and later when I climbed into my own bed with my wee dog for the first time in 6 months…I knew I was right where I was meant to be.

The following weeks in Scotland went by in a blur as I made the most of my time at home. Catching up with friends at home and in Edinburgh, hiking (or attempting to hike/ break in new boots and get the worst blisters of my life) and my head was finally clear enough to start planning the rest of my adventure. When it was time to leave again it wasn’t as bad as it was the first time around. It wasn’t goodbye for a year, it was only goodbye for not even half of that so it made it much easier to handle in my head. Knowing that I was already half way through and would be home by the end of the year again, I realised that whatever time I had left I had to make the absolute most out of it. No more wishing my time away or wishing I was back. I’d been back. I’d checked back in and I was ready to get back out there again and do what I set out to do.

I was ready to see the world again, and this time I was heading state side to road trip with one of my best pals. We didn’t have a route or a plan, or even a car to road trip in. We were full on winging it…and I couldn’t bloody wait.

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