So, 158 days later (21 of them spent on buses: final bus hours count 244), here I am back in Paris’s Charles De Gaulle airport. Because I like symmetry and circularity and since this is where I wrote one of my first blog posts (and at the same computer terminal, if I’m not mistaken) I feel a compelling need to write another quick ramble. You will be irritated or relieved to hear that it might not be the last, because I still have lots to write about – Rio carnival, Antarctica, trekking in Chile, the lakes and mountains of Bariloche, more border crossings, to name but a few. But for now, here I am, just off a flight from Bogota and about to embark on the final leg of my return from South America. It feels very odd to be on my way back to London, the Big South American Adventure already behind me. It certainly didn’t disappoint, in fact I don’t think I’ve ever had such a fun trip, but with the wet grey tarmac of a European airport outside the glossily modern terminal and a boarding pass to London Heathrow on the desk beside me, it almost feels as though I’d imagined the whole thing. I wouldn’t say it has been a life-changing trip (though who knows), but it was definitely life-enriching.
Last time I was here my heart was a merry-go-round of emotion: shaken by a flurry of sad farewells, clenched with trepidation about the unknown five and a bit months stretching ahead of me and bounding with excitement at the adventures that might unfurl. Now I feel a little dazed and confused. That’s partly the result of a 12 hour flight in the row behind a group of about 50 rowdy Colombian exchange students, but partly because I now feel as though I am in limbo between my travelling interlude and my old life waiting for me to step back into it. I’m already finding it hard to adjust: I can’t remember any of the PIN numbers to my cards, so I couldn’t buy my Cristalle perfume in the duty free shop. There’s another delightful piece of symmetry, because reading back, I mentioned my favourite Chanel scent in there too. And my backpack weighs in at about the same 16 kilos as it did on the way out. To pick up another thread from the outward journey, I will soon be calling my estate agent to see when he will let me have my flat back.
Time to go and see if I can barter my way through the duty free shop with a kaleidoscope of unused currency, so for now it’s chau chau to South America and hola to everyone back in the UK. And don’t forget, Gooster on the Loose is not dead yet, so keep checking back in to the blog! Better still, sign up for the automatic delivery of the posts.
If you liked this, you might like:
- The Art of Packing Lightly, the blog post I wrote right at the start of my trip
- Around the World in 100 Countries – an overview of my current travel blogging challenge
- Tango, glaciers and cowboys – my #RoundtheWorldin100Countries post about Argentina, where I travelled extensively on my South American sabbatical