This is my second snowy, wintery, white Christmas as part of my 100 weeks journey. I had planned to be in the glorious heat of an Australian summer this year, but as they are prone to do, plans changed at the last minute, and instead, after Christmas Island I headed for Europe and a week in chilly Iceland.
I flew back from Reykjavik to London on the 23rd, and stayed with Martin and Rachel, and after a night out to see a comedy show in the city, yesterday we drove north through a cold, snowy, foggy England, arriving at mum’s house in Darlington just after 8pm.
She had no idea I was coming along with the other two, as I had not been in contact for a while, leaving her with the impression that I was now in Australia. She was very surprised, and pleased too I am glad to say! Although there was some discussion that there is no spare room for me, and therefore I am sleeping on a mattress on the living room floor – it’s just like couchsurfing!
I am the first up and about on Christmas morning, and it’s a snowy view out of the kitchen window – my second white Christmas in two years. Last year I was in Vancouver for Christmas, staying with Duncan and Denise, preparing to go and work in a soup kitchen. This year I have no goals to fulfil here, and am just happy to be back home to be able to spend some time with my family. The last time I was here for Christmas was 8 years ago, in 2001, when Laura and I said our goodbyes to everyone, leaving the next day to emigrate from England to Australia.
I have been thinking about the past year since Vancouver last Christmas, and the dual nature of how the passage of time feels. It seems almost like it was just yesterday, the time seems to have gone so quickly, but it also seems like a lifetime ago, when I think about how much I have fitted in since then, where I have been, what I have done, and the people I have met. It really has been the most outstanding year.
From Vancouver I went up to Whitehorse dog-sledding, and in the new year drove back down the west coast of the USA, flew to Hawaii, on to Japan, and eventually back to Australia. I had a few months down under, and then set off on my travels again, back to Europe, through France, England and Spain, and then on to the USA again, visiting Mexico too. In August I flew briefly back to the UK, then back to travel around the western US States. I then headed down to Mexico, and on to Malaysia, China, Thailand and then Christmas Island, finally heading back to the UK and Iceland.
I have seen some incredible places, and had some wonderful experiences too. However, for me this whole big adventure is just as much, if not more, about the people I meet along the way. I have been incredibly fortunate to meet some wonderful people through my travels, many of whom have joined in with one or more goals, or helped me on my way.
I have no goals to attend to from my list while here in the UK, and simply plan to enjoy a few days “off” from the 100 weeks’ tasks. I will be doing a bit of travelling, going back to Scarborough to visit friends there, and eventually back to London before New Year’s Eve. I fly on New Year’s Day down to South Africa, and have a few goals planned there. But for the next few days I am going to have some time off from the blog, and not think too much about my goals list.
So to everyone who I have met on my adventures, to all friends and family, and to anyone else who bothers to read my travel ramblings, I hope you all have a fantastic Christmas, and a prosperous New Year.
See you again in 2010.
25th December 2009