Brisbane and beyond
Since Christmas and purchasing the car I’d certainly clocked up the miles; the long drives and many hours on my own gave me plenty of time to contemplate. I gave my next decision much thought and battled with myself as to whether to bring my trip to an end. The beaches were beautiful but I had seen so many, cities don’t appeal to me much and I realised I was losing the awe and wonder of it all and not really appreciating it any more. I gave some thought to moving across to NZ but I knew I wasn’t in the right frame of mind to do it justice. The more I thought, I recognised that I was beginning to get lonely and needed something different, another challenge… and so it was that the last week of my trip was spent in Gympie as I visited the Library and McDonalds using the Wi-Fi to advertise my car. I began to feel like a local staying at the Rest Area for so long, with 5 other long-termers.
Yet again whilst in Gympie I met some great people; a lovely woman who was closing down her book shop that had been opened by her and her sisters many many years ago – quite sad. I also went to church and met Brenda and Richard a really nice couple, Richard was originally from the UK; they had an amazing testimony of getting back together again after being divorced for 35 years. They invited me to their home for a meal and a shower and we enjoyed some great conversation. I will miss all the interesting people that I have been so blessed to meet; each and every one of them has had an impact on me.
After a lot of boredom and frustration and probably impatience I agreed to swap my car for 2 laptops; selling a car in another state devalues it greatly and so the swap seemed like a fair deal. I arranged to meet the young girl who had no money and needed wheels and on the hour long trip into Brisbane we put Australia, the world and the environment to rights. I felt much better knowing that my car had gone to someone so lovely and who appreciated it so much.
I made my way to the bank to withdraw my earnings from the banana farm and booked into a hostel, enjoyed a nice long shower…it had been a long time coming after so many nights camping out. I researched the area but made the decision to book flights for asap, with less than 24 hrs till my departure I had to complete security checks!
I got some much needed sleep before getting up at 6am for the 3 x 8 hours flights. Funnily enough on the train to Brisbane airport I got offered a job – but no regrets, by that time I was actually excited about my return to the UK.
I spent my loose change from my previous trip to Singapore at the first stop-over and after much deliberation between Burger King, ice-cream or the Malaysian tea Teh Tarik that I had loved so much I realised that all I could afford was a packet of M & M’s. The second flight to Doha was quiet and I managed to stretch across 2 seats and get some sleep. Doha airport was really interesting with a different Muslim culture; it would have been nice to stay longer but it would have worked out too expensive.
The final flight to Manchester was full of people coughing and sneezing and so after many films I arrived in the very very cold UK with my own cough and cold! Quite a shock to the system going from a 40 degree heatwave with 98% humidity to minus degrees.
So 36 hours from my 6am alarm clock wake up and 15 months since leaving home I arrived in the UK.
I was finally back in Manchester and after a very speedy bag collection, which so rarely happens to me, I was sat waiting for my family. I hadn’t long to wait before I saw them running through the airport – not sure who was more excited them or me.
I have had the most amazing life-changing time of my life and after some sleep and catch-ups I am ready to see what life has to offer now…
Thank you to everyone who has supported me by reading and liking my blogs and sending encouraging comments. They were all more appreciated than you can imagine all those miles away. Also to all those people I have met either for a casual conversation, the people who have put me up, offered meals and showers and all those amazing strangers that have been so friendly, kind and got me out of more than one scrape.