Two years ago to the day, my entire life changed. At the time, I thought it was for the worse, but now I know that although it was awful…I mean really awful…my life, my head and my heart are a million times better off.
Two years ago yesterday, Kim and I returned to the UK after an incredible, life-changing adventure. I did what I’m sure everyone does at the end of trips like these and envisaged the arrivals gate at Heathrow to be like it was in Love Actually – you know the bit I’m talking about…The reality for me was very different. In fact, in addition to realising that what I’d been worrying about was actually happening, it felt like my left arm had been ripped from my body when Kim and I finally parted.
There are countless emotions running through your mind as you shuffle along in your final customs queue. The main one for me was uncertainty – my boyfriend of nearly six years had given me the impression a week or so before we flew home, that he’d gotten used to me not being there and didn’t know if he wanted to continue the relationship when I got back.
Neither Kim nor I wanted the trip to end, neither of us wanted to face the reality that life had undoubtedly changed back home. We had fully accepted that the adventure would change us, but for the better and we relished this sentiment every time that we clung on for dear life on a tuk tuk, swam in warm turquoise seas or and hurtled down white water rapids but we had probably unknowingly assumed (hoped?) that our lives and subsequently the lives of the people around us would be on pause and we’d be able to slot back in without worry, albeit significantly more tanned and full of stories! I know I did.
But soon, I realised how wrong I was about that. It wasn’t intentional selfishness on my part, it was naïve hope that my life and the lifestyle that I’d enjoyed before would be there waiting for me. I looked forward to buying new clothes and having my hair cut for example, I was also desperate for a sizeable portion of my Mum’s Shepherds Pie! Anyway, I now know that expecting to fit into my life again ‘just like that’ was foolish. I’ve really tried, over the last two years to be the ‘old me’, picking myself up and doing the things I used to do but, something doesn’t quite fit. I can’t quite explain it. I suppose if someone moved all of your home furniture left by a centimetre? It looks and feels the same but something isn’t quite right.
Two years ago, to the day…I lost my homecoming, my home, my lifestyle and had my heart well and truly broken. I was penniless, jet lagged, emotional, I missed Kim so much that I ached and I was utterly desperate for a loving, welcoming hug. But that was then. Now I am a much stronger person (even if I don’t believe it sometimes!) and I know now that the relationship I thought would be my last, wouldn’t have lasted because the fact is, travelling does change you. Going travelling certainly showed me who I truly am, it just so happened that at the same time, my ex became unrecognisable to me, a stranger really. He had changed too and although I’ll never forgive the way he ended things because he cast an indelible shadow over my trip, I’m not going to hold onto the resentment and the hatred I’ve felt towards him anymore, because frankly, I am relieved. Relieved that I didn’t go on to marry him, relieved that I didn’t settle for the kind of life that would have suffocated me eventually and most of all, relieved to know that I still have the chance to do all of the things I want to do, see all the places I long to see and best of all, without compromise.
So, there it is. Two years ago yesterday, my best friend and I came back from the adventure of a lifetime and two years ago today, I had the rug pulled out from underfoot, but all of the heartache and all of the bad times forced me to put myself first, and being able to focus on exactly what I want from my life, has been the best outcome I could have hoped for.
I wanted to write this post because, well I think I needed to. Dwelling on the past never gets you anywhere. It has taken me longer than I’d hoped, to realise this but now I’m there, there’s no stopping me. I have a plan and I’m going to make the most of my time on this planet.
I’m going to see the world, meet new people, experience new cultures, feel the sand beneath my feet, swim in every ocean, get freckly, climb glaciers, hike mountains, trek through forests, see the seven wonders, eat well and so much more.
That’s my plan because this is me: