As I am writing this, I’m sat in a tiny hostel 10 minutes from Johannesburg airport. I’m on my own, completely, for the first time in two months, awaiting a flight back to the UK tomorrow after four months of travelling the world for SPAR international.
It’s hard to describe my current stance on my imminent return home. In one way – the generally expected way, I guess – I’m extremely sad about my dream job coming to an end. I’ve been insanely fortunate to bag this as soon as I’ve graduated university, and it’s been a truly amazing experience. I’ve been to 12 countries in 4 different continents, done some mind-blowingly cool things (highlights to come when I’m not in such a brooding/reminscent mood), met a tonne of people from all over the world, and made a handful of friendships that will last forever. Who wouldn’t be sad at this ending?
But equally, four months has been a very long time. I couldn’t be more excited to see the people I love and – in true British fashion – devour the biggest mug of tea you’ve ever laid eyes on. On telling other travellers of this excitement to return home, many have responded like I’m some crazy woman. An ingrate who opportunities like this must come once a week. But for as amazing as this experience has been, it has been equally tough (As I read this back I can imagine the rolling eyes, tuts, and mutters of ‘Yep. Life is so hard when you get paid to go around the world’…)
What a lot of people seem to forget is that there is a big difference between traveling for no other purpose but to see the world how you want to, have fun on your own terms and do it all with your own money, and traveling for work. As idyllic and laid back as this ‘work’ is, it doesn’t cater to falling in love with a place and chilling there until you’re ready to move on, or just having those lazy days where all you want to do is lie around on a beach and try and sleep off a hangover. I’ve always been doing something. Again, this has pros and cons… it’s not the way I would choose to travel. But it’s travel at the end of the day, right?
And really, I can’t complain. Life has been pretty sweet for the past four months. From getting lost on an Island in Italy, to road tripping in Australia with three of the best people I’ve been lucky enough to become friends with, to nearly drowning in the Zambezi River – it’s been a blast. I might have mixed emotions on my final penultimate night away from home, but really? I feel like the luckiest girl alive. Big thanks to SPAR and all the people who made it happen.