Despite my initial sadness over the "Leaving my freedom and backpacker life in the tropics" thing, I'm quite excited to go home now and finally see everybody. And have Tim Hortons. And perogies. And dill pickles.
Perhaps you are wondering why I am still at the airport despite having an 18 hour layover in San Fran? Well, as you may be aware, I'm flat out broke. No money. Okay, so I have enough for a hostel, but after transport I wouldn't have enough money for food, so really there was no debating. Besides, clearly I'd just be lying there in a bunkbed wide awake. Oh, and my camera is broken so I can't even go take pretty pictures like I'd initially planned on doing.
Wow, there are so many people sleeping here, sprawled out on the chairs waiting for morning. I wish I was tired.
So, anyways... here is my attempt at summing up my trip, although I couldn't possibly come close to mentioning everything amazing that I've experienced. It's been one incredible year.
It all began in Thailand. I slept in jungle huts, fed monkeys, and became a huge fan of pad thai. Then on to Singapore... I baked in the glorious heat of a country located 1 degree from the equator. I window shopped in stores that the celebrities shop in and ate the most amazing meal of my life. After months of saving and planning, I finally arrived in Australia.
I spent my trip navigating the beautiful east coast. I encountered giant spiders, watched the incredible New Years celebrations in Sydney, and met family I hadn't even known existed. I spent 3 months in Cairns, the gateway to the Great Barrier Reer, where i found Nemo and giant sea turtles. To fund my trip, I worked as a bartender at a really cool place called Apres. They serve 125 beers from around the world, and I hate beer. I sailed the Whitsunday Islands, camped on Fraser Island, and then moved back to work at a resort as a restaurant supervisor for 2 months. I went crazy on that island, secluded from civilization, surrounded by dingoes. I lived with my cousin in Brisbane, working at a cafe for a very short time to save for a trip to Fiji, where I lived the dream for awhile... island hopping, drinking cocktails, and watching many brilliant sunsets.
As cliche as it is to say this, this trip taught me so much about myself... The things that matter most to me, and who I know will always be there for me. I stopped taking so much for granted, stopped worrying about what others think, and learn to appreciate the little things like taking the time to sit and drink a great cup of coffee. I missed my family and friends like I'd never thought possible. I learnt to sleep through even the loudest snorers, phone calls, and drunken Irish men coming home from the pub. I went through 3 phones, 8 pairs of flip flops, 2 cameras, and thousands of dollars. I disposed of all of my warm clothing, which I can imagine I'll regret come tomorrow. I made many, many friends from around the world, doubling my Facebook friends list... I seem extra cool now. I learnt that you CAN survive on 2 minutes noodles and that you can't survive without sunscreen. When I set out on this journey, I was determined to prove not only to myself, but to everybody else that I was independent and capable of lasting a year on my own. I'll admit, there was a time or 2 when I under-budgeted, or my credit card was stolen and my mom or grandma came to my rescue, freeing me from starvation and homelessness. Other than that, I think I did quite well at accomplishing my goal. 4 countries (7 if you count stopovers, which of course, I do) later, and I'm finally ready to go home.