When I booked this trip all the way back in July this year, I had no idea what I was letting myself in for. To be honest, and upon reflection my decision to travel was made flippantly and with very little thought. In July my decision to sell Gemini Directories was made on the Monday and then the idea was to take a long break, however by the Tuesday my trip around the world was booked and paid for. As I said, the decision was made a little hastily, but to this day I wouldn’t change it.

Russell McBride, my travel advisor at STA Travel was an absolute star. I remember walking into the branch on Devonshire Street in Sheffield. At the time I had pulled my back, and was going through some emotional drama, so when my tear stained face and I hobbled into the shop you can imagine Russell’s reaction. He didn’t know whether to reach for the vodka or the tissues first! After sipping on a good brew that Russell had made for me, I said “Get me away from here, as far as possible and for as long as possible.” It was like I had no control over my mouth and the words just spilled out. Within two hours the route in which I was to travel was booked and confirmed.

44 days after booking the trip I was on my way to Heathrow Airport. A couple of weeks before departure I had said my goodbyes, and each one individually was as heartbreaking as the next. I had no idea saying goodbye could be so painful. The initial excitement I felt when I had booked the trip was gone and I was left with a pangs of emptiness and nervousness. Regardless of any doubts I was having I was still determined to get on that plane.

Africa was a real eye-opener. Before my departure there was a business to sell and a life to box up which left little room to research the destinations of my trip. Hence the laughs I got when I mentioned that I thought Africa was a country! Don’t worry, I now know it’s a continent. Anyway, the point is that I didn’t know what to expect whilst travelling through Africa. The people of Africa are a true inspiration and to be honest put me to shame when I think of the days I used to complain that my white wine wasn’t chilled enough or my steak wasn’t cooked as blue as I had requested. The people I visited in the townships have nothing. No clean water, little clothing, shacks for houses and live in the fact that they could die any day from malaria. Visiting Africa taught me the true meaning of life. As a result I am humbler individual and I live my days richer and a happier human being.  

Now India on the other hand has taught me completely different lessons. This country was an utter culture shock. My initial reaction to India was sheer disgust. There were people spitting, peeing, pooing and exposing themselves on every corner that I turned. It wasn’t something I had anticipated, and really should have done my research. However after a few weeks I leant to accept that’s just how it is, and it was then that I started to see the real beauty of India. There’s something about India that gets into your blood and becomes apart of you. When you look at how India is run you think it shouldn’t work, but somehow it does. Don’t get me wrong, I won’t be bringing any of the policies back home with me but I will say I shall never be the same again.

As I sit here in Oz, I look back on my life in England and wonder if I could ever go back and see things the way I used to. I’ve seen and done things on this trip that people can only dream of. I wonder how I would adjust hearing the same conversations that people were having before I left. What I do know is I couldn’t go back and just slot in where I left off, in fact I’m not sure I would want to. But the one thing I have realised whilst travelling is how much I love my friends and family. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think of them. Never again will I moan at meeting Mum for coffee or listening to my sister go on about her love life. They are the one thing that could pull me back home.

I’ve had many ups and down on my journey. My biggest downer has to be the betrayal of someone I loved very much, and the shock that someone could hurt me so much. Although this was an horrendous part of my journey the highlights defiantly outweigh that awful time. My biggest highlight has to be cage diving with great white sharks. I had to overcome my fear of deep water and exist in the world most deadly predator’s territory.  Although scary it was fantastic, and I've never felt so alive. 

My advice to anyone who is about to embark on such a journey is embrace every second and treasure it as though it were your last. Do your research! Ohh, and feast on as much beef and bacon (or whatever your home comforts are) before you leave.

I have done so much over the past 4 months, and the best part of it is that I’m not even half way through yet! Who knows the stories I’ll have to in six months time, but I can guarantee they won’t be boring.

Thank you to everyone I have met thus far. Thank you to my friends and family for supporting me, I love and miss you all so much. But don’t put the kettle on just yet, who knows when I’ll be back!