We waved goodbye to Pokhara and made our way back to Kathmandu by bus. The journey was long but I made sure to take notice of the landscape as we passed. As we left the verdant green countryside behind the air became heavier, dustier and the roads were clogged with slow moving traffic. We had a couple of days to kill until our flight on July 22nd which we spent walking between each of the many souvenir shops buying a myriad of colourful felted coasters, vegan soaps, rucksacks made of hemp and soft scarves. Kathmandu was just as vibrant as it had been when we first arrived a few weeks ago, it was so strange to think that home was just a short couple of days away.
We ate our last helping of Nepalese fired momo's at a local restaurant and treated ourselves to our 'last supper' at Fire and Ice, the amazing pizzeria we had found when we first arrived. Our last activity of travelling was a couple of hours spent at the Garden of Dreams; a pristine garden filled with lily-ponds, fountains and mischievous chipmunks.
Our clothes were worn, frayed and stained. Our hair long and unruly, mine hadn't been cut in all the time we'd been away while Craig had only had two haircuts in 11 months and would be returning home with a beard. We'd started our journey in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil after a huge 12 hour delay not knowing where we'd be travelling to or how. We made up the trip as we went and learned the hard way how winging it can cause unforeseen problems but also how exciting an unplanned itinerary made our adventure. Over just under 11 months we'd travelled to 21 countries (22 if you count our 12 hour delay at a hotel in Germany) and experienced all the highs and all the lows that are associated with long term travel.
Not every moment will be one that we'll add to the photo album; being eaten alive by mosquitos and bed bugs, the sleepless nights in a hostel with somebody snoring in the bed next door, the instant noodle dinners to save money and the 36 hour coach ride from the tip of Argentina to Chile. But alongside those moments were seeing Machu Picchu and finishing the most challenging trek of our lives in Peru, finally travelling India by train and having a week of adventures in New York City with family.
We left our hotel in Kathmandu at 6am and arrived in London at 5pm, both our mums ran towards us as we walked through the arrivals gate. As we got in the car to drive home to Hampshire it felt almost like we'd never left, so quickly does your life get 'back to normal' that the previous months felt like a hazy blur. When we went backpacking for the first time in 2011 for eight months we always knew that we'd go again. We had to. When you're a traveller you'll never 'get it out of your system'. Even with the low moments you always want to see and experience more. As I write this, my final backpacking post we've been home for nearly six months, and although we have other goals in mind like owning our first home together our travelling days are certainly not behind us. We may not travel in the same way again, on one long backpacking trip but we will always want to put adventure and exploration at the centre of our lives because it is what makes us who we are.
So, now we've reached the 'end of the road' I just want to say a big thank you to those that have followed along with our adventure. That very first post I wrote back in September 2016 while sitting in our Rio de Janeiro apartment sure feels like a lifetime ago. If you've been reading since then, have left me a comment or pressed that little red heart then thank you so much, I'm sending you so much love.
If you enjoyed reading then please click the heart at the bottom, share or better still leave me a comment, I love reading them. ❤️
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