So that’s that over and done with. I traveled westwards by train, plane and automobile for over 31,000 miles until I got back to where I started out from a few months ago. I beat Phileas Fogg by a few days. I’ve eaten subs, grinders and hoagies. I’ve renewed friendships and forged some new ones. I’ve experimented with facial hair, driven for the first time in a decade, jumped from a really high building, rolled down a steep hill in a ball, fell out of a perfectly fine airplane, shaved my head, met my baby niece and just about melted my credit card to boot.
Most importantly, I’ve finally relaxed properly. For the first week or so of touring famous landmarks I was seemingly surrounded by couples and acutely aware of being on my own. Despite what you may think, the trip wasn’t about finding myself. As Scott Ginsburg says, you never really find yourself – you create yourself. I soon realised that it was always going to be about becoming comfortable with who I am.
It doesn’t really matter where you go, there’s no place like home as Dorothy Gale discovered. I’ve missed my slippers, my own bed, Haddock and chips, a decent cup of tea, unmetered Internet access and orderly queues. I missed randomly meeting friends in the street and changing my plans for the day. I’m no longer worrying if the local flora and fauna are going to do me harm. I enjoy tax-inclusive prices in a currency that I am familiar with. I’ve missed the law’s trust in my ability to cross the street and when doing so, doing so with impunity.
“I left my sandals in Rotorua” doesn’t have quite the same romanticism as having left my heart in San Francisco but it gives me an excuse to return one day. Admittedly, a very feeble excuse but an excuse nevertheless.