London Calling/ Halfway Home

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“Never make your home in a place. Make a home for yourself inside your own head. You’ll find what you need to furnish it – memory, friends you can trust, love of learning, and other such things. That way it will go with you wherever you journey.”

-Tad Williams

I love this quote, it’s very comforting when you’re on the other side of the world from all that’s dear to you. However, I am ready to see my loved ones in the flesh, now. I want to see my dogs/cats and I want to see my bed.

Right. Almost there now. Luggage miraculously in one piece, well as much as it can be, having lots the wheels and the zips en route in Central America. Am now loitering in Paddington Station after a restless 24 hours.

I was rather disgruntled early this morning to find out that I needed to buy a VISA just to pass through the states (Newark) in transit. Not amused. I also had to go through the USA customs and immigration (which took a good hour or so) just to put my bag straight onto the next plane and go through security again. United Airlines were undoubtedly the worst airline I’ve flown with, including isolated centres in Papua New Guinea, largely due to the appalling customer service. As an example, an Indian man in front of me was causing a bit of fuss, perfectly understandably in my opinion, as there was nothing other than beef on the menu, without even the option to pre-book a vegetarian meal. The air hostess was audibly saying to herself under her breathe ‘God, I hate that man’ in front of his two sons who were sitting next to me. I was not impressed.

I was however appeased by the fantastic selection of airport food in Newark. I had a ‘Jamba juice’ – the best smoothie I’ve had since the Brazilian Acai and some vegetarian food, at last: a delicious tofu & noodle stir fry. Yum. It was also a pleasant surprise to have great views of New York on the landing, including my first glimpses of the Statue of Liberty and the Empire State.

Now back into the iconic ‘grey and green’ of the UK. Although I hate to admit it, it’s a little disenchanting to suddenly feel incredibly banal after having been ‘foreign and exotic’ for such a long time, despite all of my complaining!!

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So Lonely Was The Ballard

It’s strange how much you can miss people that you’ve only known for a week. The others left in Wellington to carry on down to the south Island. I’m so frustrated that I’m not going to get a chance to see the south Island – If I was reorganising the trip I would have arranged to go down, but you can’t do everything, I guess! I’m now back in Taupo, alone again. I should really make an effort with the people in my hostel but I just can’t see the point; I’m leaving early in the morning. The ‘nomads’ hostel I’m staying at is slightly cheaper than the ‘base’ hostel from the last stay in Taupo but not quite as central which is irritating. I miss friends from home, I miss the family (who I haven’t spoken to in weeks now) and I miss my travelling companions of the past week. Taupo seems a little empty without them!

Instead of moping about I decided to do a three hour hike to ‘Haku’ waterfalls and I stopped off at the hot springs on the way back for a quick dip. The springs are also a pretty laid back way of meeting new people…I got chatting to a Dutch group and a raging hippy from Colorado took us to a more secluded hot waterfall just up the river.

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The blur is actually steam coming off the water! As hot as a sauna!