I had a sneaking suspicion that I would fall head-over-heels in love with Edinburgh – and I wasn’t wrong. With its cobbled lanes, pub-lined streets, castles and ancient buildings, Edinburgh has so much character and history. Since we were there while the Fringe Festival was on we were also totally sucked into the energy and colour that surrounded us; everywhere we went there were street performers, shows going on and crowds of happy sightseers.
I couldn’t conceive of going to Scotland without visiting Loch Ness, the largest and perhaps most famous lake in the UK. So we set out on a two-hour journey from our cottage in the Highlands to cruise the loch and investigate the myths that surround this atmospheric piece of Scotland.
As we made our first windy journey through the Scottish Highlands I peered out the window, taking in the acres of sparsely populated, ancient countryside. For most of the drive we saw little sign of human life save for the odd white house stranded in the middle of vast valleys of green scrub and purple-pink thistles; huge domed or knobbly mountains capped with low-lying cloud loomed from every angle, snaking white lines of icy waterfalls drawn down their sides.
Back in 2013 I shed many tears when we said goodbye to our lives in London. Although we were leaving by choice to fulfil our dreams of travelling the world, it was still painful to dismantle the lives we had spent almost four years building in a city we absolutely loved. Back then I had no idea when we’d return to London and I was worried that travel would spoil the city for me; that my love for it would fade. Now we’re back after over 15 months of travel and I’m relieved to say that my fears dissolved the moment I stepped off the train at Waterloo station - I felt like I’d finally arrived home.
We’ve been back in the UK for over a month now and after an incredible homecoming we’ve settled back into life here more easily than I ever imagined we would. As I write this we’re sat at the kitchen table in someone else’s beautiful South-London home while their cute five-month-old miniature schnauzer mills around our feet. We’re house and pet sitting for the first time in our favourite city and even though it’s raining outside, life in London is undeniably great.
After 13 bleary hours in the air we arrived back in England on the 6th June to blue skies and sunshine, a perfect reflection of the joy we felt to be back on home turf. The weeks since then have been a blur of visits and reunions, family meals, picnics, walks and planning for the future. So, how have we adjusted to life back in the UK after the adventure of our lives?
What will it be like to return to the place our adventure began, all those months ago? I vividly remember sitting in the departure lounge at Heathrow in March last year after saying our goodbyes, unable to comprehend that our new life of travel was about to begin. Back then we had no idea what was in store for us, we couldn’t have imagined that we’d end up volunteering in a disaster zone; that we’d sleep out in the jungles of Borneo, get homesick in Indonesia, learn to ride a scooter or end up spending nearly a third of our trip in Thailand. So on Thursday when we say goodbye to this adventure and board a plane back to England, I will do so hoping the next phase of our lives will be as unpredictable, intense and incredible as these past fifteen months have been.