So how does it feel to be home after a year away?
Well, a bit strange really. It is obviously good to see our families again. We moved away from the Kent coast area that our families live in years ago, and with not driving and often working long hours, we are used to not seeing our families that often. But there is a difference between not often, and not for a whole year, so it was good to catch up face to face rather than just by email, phone or Skype.
As we generally stay a few days with family when we are visiting, that felt very normal. At least for the first week. After that, it did seem rather strange to be spending so long there. It isn't that we were fed up with being with family - she added quickly, knowing that they read the blog - just that we were not used to being there so long.
And because we are used to visits to family being free time, then initially at least we found it hard to get on with some of our many practical tasks. We have tended to go into visit mode, rather than seeing it as just where we are living for now. This is slightly odd, because during the time that we have been away, we have had no problem at all in seeing wherever we were staying as our short term home. Except of course the mouldy or cockroach infested ones!
It is strange too for us to be staying with other people in their own home for any length of time. However much you know that you can come and go as you please, you are always conscious of being in another person's home; you don't want to disrupt their life too much, and if they are cooking for you much of the time too, then that feels a bit weird too.
While we have got used to not having the same independence and freedom as we had in our own home, because we predominantly have been either with a group on the truck or ship, or in hostels where the life is also more communal, we have still had a greater degree of independence, or perhaps it is more self-reliance, than when staying with others.
We are planning on staying with people more in the future as we try out couch surfing and staying in private homes through Airbnb (more about what that means in future posts), so hopefully we can get beyond that feeling or we will find that we won't have done any of the things we planned to and will get very behind.
But back to the point, how does it feel to be home?
It feels OK actually. It was a bit strange to go up to London and not go to our flat. It will doubtless be even stranger when we are staying in London, but not in our flat, and stranger still when we do go to our flat to see our tenants, with all of their furniture, and it being us that has to go home at the end of the day.
But other than that, it is just nice to be catching up with people, to be having some of the things we've missed - which I will post on separately, and to be able to understand the language fully!
Of course I do think that we would feel differently if this was the end of our travelling. The fact that we will be going to Scotland and Germany while we are back, and then heading off for another year in a few months means that we can see our time here as a positive thing, rather than an end.