Man, it was tough to fall asleep last night. Twenty nine weeks of stuff going through my head, all with a big full stop of Mexico City International Airport at the end. Which is where I’ll be in about 12 hours time.
Before I begin, I want to apologise in advance to the friends I will see in the next few weeks. Within a few minutes of us meeting, I will begin a sentence with the words “when I was in.” What will follow those words will be the name of a country or town and a tedious description of something a-maaaaaay-zing that I did or saw. Sorry about that, chaps.
So, my trip is more-or-less over. It began on a drizzly January morning, getting on the Piccadilly Line, seeing the other people in the train, and bursting to tell someone what I was about to do. And, fuck, I did a lot of stuff.
I get a bit misty-eyed thinking about it, and images go through my mind with a melancholy soundtrack, like some local news coverage of a kid in a wheelchair going to Disneyland. The beautifully decorate boats at Xochimilco in Mexico City; snorkeling, seeing howler monkeys, and getting bitten by a kinkajou in Belize; meeting a girl with fake tits who wouldn’t eat a Tic-Tac in Panama City.
Giggling at paintings in a museum, and riding through the streets of São Paulo on the back of a motorcycle; seeing the amazing buildings in Brasília; getting drunk with strangers in Curitiba; walking along the beach in Florianópolis in the rain; going to a Santo Daime ceremony; hanging out with Grêmio fans in Porto Alegre; the beautiful fishing village of Punta del Diablo; watching Liverpool beat Arsenal on telly in a shitty hotel in Buenos Aires; bumping into my mate from London on the street there, too; the singing of the Boca Juniors fans.
Seeing the sea lions in the Beagle Channel; walking on a glacier in Tierra del Fuego; seeing the awesomeness of the Perito Moreno glacier; chatting to a lovely, friendly girl on the bus from Posadas to Iguazú; being blown away by Iguazú Falls; getting drunk with two Italian guys in a casino; everything about Rio de Janeiro.
There was being in New York with old friends; baseball, beautiful beautiful baseball; the friendliness of strangers in Pittsburgh; talking about guns with a soldier on a Greyhound bus; the wonderful storms over Milwaukee; Wrigley Field and the hot dogs of Chicago; getting drunk with new friends in Denver; seeing old friends in Seattle; shooting guns in Wenatchee; swimming in Lake Chelan; hanging out with a couple of groovin’ hippies in Estacada; the Oregon Country Fair; watching the Oregon and Californian coast out of the back of Walt & Jenny’s RV; and probably a bunch of stuff since then that’s still a bit too fresh for me to fully appreciate.
There were times of great happiness, times when I’ve felt sad, and times when I’ve been downright miserable. Times when I felt very homesick, and times when I’ve not been able to imagine returning to a “regular” life. I feel like I’ve changed, too. I’ve become a little bit more open. More open to new experiences, too. And less obsessed with planning every step of my life. I hope that feeling sticks around.
I’ve hung out with some great people. Thank you to Amy, Andrew, Ariel, Barbara, Bill, Brendan, Derick, Flavia, Guilherme, Heather, Ian, Jennifer, Jenny, John, Juliana, Kate, Kraig, Laura, Lisa, Marta, Melanie, Naomi, Nina, Ozorio, Rebecca, Rebecca, Renata, Robin, Vicky, Wade, and Walt. And, well, without wishing to be mawkishly sentimental, you. Doing the blog while I’ve been travelling has been a wonderful way of keeping a record of what I’ve been up to, and having your emails and comments has only made it better. Thank you.
There’s plenty of stuff in my head and notebooks that I’m looking forward to cracking on with on the website. And, oddly, I’m looking forward to actually doing some work. Real work. For money. But for now, I’m gonna be trying to enjoy my last day, before getting on British Airways flight 242. After the safety instructions, a few films, some over-heated food, some water in those weird-feeling plastic cups that you only ever get on aeroplanes, and (more than likely) no sleep, I’ll be at Heathrow. And life will continue; with longer hair, a suntan, some new baseball caps, and a smile on my face.