So. I can’t quite even believe that my big travelling adventure of 2012 is over and came to a rather abrupt end when I landed back in a very chilly Sydney last week. And as my tan is gradually fading and I’m suddenly plunged into deep winter mode – wearing tights and scarves and baking bread and cooking soup – all those gorgeously long summer nights spent on various patios across Canada with lovely friends are fast becoming a distant memory. Sigh.
I embarked on this trip with all sorts of good intentions about documenting my travels, keeping some kind of diary and perhaps even blogging along the way. All of which were unceremoniously flung out the window as soon as I arrived – I was so busy doing stuff that I just didn’t have time. In fact, apart from a rather half-hearted attempt at the very beginning, I didn’t even really try – there was just way too much fun to be had. It’s also very important to me when I’m travelling to be really present and in the moment – so I didn’t really spend any time worrying about not keeping notes on what I was doing. I tried to take as many photos as possible* and also did the Facebook check-in thing whenever there was available wi-fi, which given my shocking memory has been incredibly handy for remembering all the places I went to and had fun at.
Anyway. In a nutshell it was a completely amazing trip and I seriously had the best time of my life. I went to awesome places and saw things that I never imagined I would get to see. And as I learnt long ago, the absolute best part of any travel experience is the people that you meet along the way. I truly believe that they can make or break a trip – whether it’s the people you’re travelling with, or the people that you meet – it’s that critical difference between travel being a life changing experience, or just a bad and un-fun time.
For me, it was an awesome and life-changing travel experience. In addition to all the cool places I went and the fun times I had, the reasons for this are three-fold. First, I realise that I’m labouring an oft-mentioned fact here, but I really do have the most amazing friends in the world**. All the old friends that I spent time with (you know who you are) were pretty much responsible for my holiday being as fantastic as it was. It wasn’t just that they’d all put so much time and effort into planning heaps of fun stuff for while I was there, it was more that seeing them and spending real, proper time together made it feel like no time had gone by at all – even though for at least a couple of them we hadn’t seen each other in 12 years. And it wasn’t just those 12 years and half a world that separated us, our lives had all changed so much in the intervening years – getting married and having babies, serious illness and devastating loss, going back to school, travelling the world, working/not working – all of the highs and lows of everyday life that can sometimes naturally separate us from our friends when we don’t see each other much. But once the immediate and overwhelming excitement of actually being together had ebbed a little and we managed to calm ourselves with a big delicious gin and tonic, it was like I’d just seen them last week. It was the best.
Secondly, I made so many amazing new friends. Have you ever met people and right away felt like you’d known them forever already, and known for sure that you would just always be friends with them from now on until the end of time, even though you live on the other side of the world? That totally happened to me on this trip and it is the coolest thing ever.
And finally, I learnt some interesting new things about myself and how I feel about what I’m doing with my life, and where I want my life to go in the future – big stuff. But that is way personal and I’m probably not going to tell you about it here. Ask me over a glass of wine one night and I may be inclined to share. I will say that I feel a bit changed*** and I suspect that these enlightenments have something to do with how excited I am to be back and starting my next adventure….I’ve got big plans baby!
So. Once I get around to organising the bazillion photos that I took I will put together a blog post of my trip highlights. In the meantime, feast your eyes on this little snapshot I took of Quebec City….truly one of my most favourite parts of the world. And what’s not to love about a town with a castle? Except that it doesn’t even look real. Which it totally is.
*my Instagram followers will I’m sure complain of the extreme volume of my travel shots that cluttered up their feed for the last 6 weeks. I would say sorry, but I’m not really so there’s no point.
**It sounds so cheesy I know, but I’m so often rendered completely speechless by how fabulous my friends are. And how did I get to have so many of them? It blows my mind just a little bit.
***I know it’s a massive cliché – about travel changing you, but I don’t know how else to express it.