Last week reflections: Home time looms

This time next week I will be home. Blighty. Great old Britannia. Or 'Inglaterra' as I've conversed in my best Spanglish of late. 

This time next week I will have swapped my bikini for thermals and air-con for central heating. Hello there turquoise fleece penguin pyjamas and double toggle duvet. Goodbye my old backpack full of a faded, over-worn travel wardrobe. 

Right now, from a sunbed with a hint of sunburn on my legs, I have a confusing mix of emotions as we soon embark on our seventeenth and final flight home next week. It's been a remarkable five months away, a literal once-in-a-lifetime trip that is full of incredible memories and bucket list experiences. If it wasn't for the heart strings pulling to see our loved ones back home, I'm sure I'd have a real case of the holiday blues on my hands. Instead, with Christmas around the corner, I find myself as excited to land back in London as I was when I was last there, about to fly to Vegas at the start of this trip. As the saying goes, 'absence makes the heart grow fonder' and through rose-tinted spectacles I picture roaring log fires, homemade shepherd's pie and Strictly on catch-up. I'm sure by the time I'm sat with my fingers scrunched inside my jumper sleeves to keep warm I'll long for this golden sand and turquoise waves. But such is life, eh? The real test will be how long I'm back in the office lifestyle before I'm longing for a holiday, it sure will be a while before we can afford one! 

Despite the good advice from my sister, who also travelled around South America earlier this year, to not let the 'real world' creep into my thoughts too much in the last days of this incredible trip, I have to confess it's been almost impossible not to. Along with the panic of ordering Christmas presents online from a country where the Internet is heavily rationed (read: non-flippin-existent), the slower pace of this half of our trip has meant more time to let those worries and niggling thoughts creep in. Where am I going to live in January? What will have changed at work? How will I get through a day without spending every minute with Mr A? 

With the finish line is close view, many of the evening conversations over Gin Rummy have turned to our favourite moments, unforgettable moments (surviving a three day hike to Machu Picchu always on the tip of my tongue) and some of the more forgettable moments (surviving a month on a diet of rice and beans!). After four months on the road, there are plenty of home comforts that I'm pining for. Marmite being one of them. A good cup of Earl Grey tea. And I would seriously consider trading Mr A for a face mask and bubble bath. 

The most overwhelming feeling I have following this trip though, is how distinctly privileged I feel to hold a British passport. However you feel about the political decisions of 2016, whether you have been in favour of Brexit or not, we are so incredibly lucky to live in a democracy. Experiencing Fidel Castro's post-revolutionary Cuba, walking through the street art expression of the Argentine dictatorship in Buenos Aires and the fight for human rights of Chilean people against General Pinochet's (corrupt) government, the world has its issues. But I count myself lucky that I don't have to fight for an education or face persecution for the circumstances I'm born into. This is why travelling is so important and I could not be a bigger advocate for anyone considering time out to see the world. It really is an eye opener and not always a comfortable experience, but shedding the cotton wool has given me a reality check and it's always necessary to have a little reminder of what's important in life. My world won't implode if I miss a series of X Factor, forget to dust the house or choose not to work late tackling my never-ending inbox. In 2017, we all have to rally together to keep fighting for what we believe in, keep a healthy balance on work vs play and appreciate our lucky stars for all those simple yet taken for granted luxuries of food on the table, a roof over our head and clothes on our back. 



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