Deciding to end an adventure is always hard, probably a lot harder than deciding to quit your job, leave your friends and family and travel in the first place. In those final weeks of any big adventure you go through so many different feelings; fear of what comes next, excitement about seeing friends and family, and being able to drink water out of a tap again, appreciation for all the things you’ve experienced and the people you’ve met, loss for the life you’re leaving behind, and finally, panic that you’re making the wrong decision.
I always knew that it would be difficult coming home, I’ve done it so many times before and it never gets easier, even when you have someone to share it with. It’s hard to explain – you arrive home and everything is completely different, but exactly the same, it’s weird. When we first hopped back on the tube again, it felt like we had never even left, Matt picked up the Metro and I opened up the Tube App to check if there were any delays, and in that moment those 10 months in China seemed like a dream, until I looked down at the two gigantic bags that I was lugging around and I came back to reality.
Having spent time in a place so culturally different to what you have been used to your entire life, you try to explain to people what it was really like, but no one really understands except Matt and the people who shared some of your adventure with you. We met people on our Great Wall camping trip, other Europeans who had been living in China and even they couldn’t find the words to explain their China experience. You try to be honest about how difficult it was sometimes, but people just look at you and roll their eyes and you just know they’re thinking something along the lines of, “jeez love, you’ve just been living the dream in China, visiting amazing places”, but that was just one side of my time in China and yeah, it was bloody brilliant!
Coming back to England after being in China so long is strange and amazing all rolled into one. Seeing a mix of nationalities everywhere you go, being able to converse with people without the aid of your phone, it’s awesome. However, it’s not even been a month and I already miss eating with chopsticks and waking up never knowing what the day was going to throw at us.
After the initial hugs and welcome homes, and after you’ve told your stories and shared your photos that’s it, everyone gets back to their lives and you feel like you’re stuck in some sort of travel limbo. You have no job, no plans and no idea what the hell you’re doing! In a way it’s exciting, but on the other hand it’s terrifying.
In my last few weeks of China I was of course trying to enjoy every last minute of it with Matt, but I was also frantically trying to apply for jobs. I was having Skype interviews, working on written tasks for said job interviews and I was trying to organise what the hell I was going to do when I landed. This was me planning ahead and knowing that if I didn’t get a job as soon as I got back I was going to go insane. Well, the job hunt is still on, and after numerous agencies wasting my time, and reuniting with my old friend the Megabus I’m keeping my fingers crossed that someone will see that I have so much more to offer than what’s on my CV; life experience, passion, and the willingness to step out of my comfort zone and challenge myself.
Wish me luck in my next adventure, adulting!