What did I do on my travels?
Well, to try and sum up...some highlights...that come to mind:
Pounding the New York pavements for hours on end, from my hostel on 23rd street downtown, to Central Park, to mid town - went to Ellis Island, the Met, the Jewish museum, an exhibition at FIT..
Pressing my nose up against (and sampling!) the New York bakeries - Magnolia, Cafe Lalo, Billys, went to Serendipity, Amy's Bread
Boston - Stayed with my former London flatmates in their Cambridge flat near Harvard Square.
Drinking beer with another back packer, in the red light district of Bangkok, watching overweight, middle aged Western men leave the bars with pretty, little Thai girls in tow
Going to the Jim Thompson house, taking a boat on the Chao Praya river, seeing Wat Pho, Chinatown, the Siam Paragon, the massive weekend market
Doing a cookery course at the Morning Glory cookery school in Hoi An, Vietnam
Taking the sleeping bus for over 12 hours stretched out next to a 6'4 Scottish bloke
Being bemused by the chaos at the Laos/Vietnamese border
Explored the central Highlands, in Vietnam on a motorbike, with a guide, Son.
Swam in Halong Bay
Spent two weeks with a friend in Vietnam, spent a lot of our time recovering from heat stroke in our Hanoi hotel, watching the food channel, mainly the programme about the Georgetown Cupcakes
Dodged the traffic in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. Visiting the Temple of Literature, exploring the Old Quarter, walking round the lake.
Squished myself into a cabin with 7 Vietnamese on a two day train journey from the south to the North.
Nearly got robbed on Cat Ba - caught a man going through belongings.
Took a slow boat down the Mekong in Laos.
Watched the Royal Wedding in Luang Prabang
Worked on a sheep and beef farm in Kerikeri, New Zealand
Made lemon curd from the lemons in their garden
Went to an oyster festival in Russel (beer battered oysters - heavenly!)
Stayed with my old London friend in her new Melbourne flat
Made cheese with some family friends on their New South Wales farm
Saw rosellas, parrots and kangaroos in their garden
Saw wild emus and pigs on a road trip to Moree to see 'some little wheat paddocks'
Road a quad bike over some of the roughest terrain
Finished the last of the Millenium triligy books by Stieg Larsson in Sydney's Botanic Gardens
Spent a day walking around Darlinghurst harbour with a Saudi Arabian guy I met in the hostel
Snorkelled on the Great Barrier Reef - (this was one of the best day's of my life - I thought it was incredible!)
Swam in the Whitsundays and snorkelled there
Saw a rodeo in Rockhampton
Sailed a yacht from Bay of Islands into Auckland Harbour.
Fished in Paihia
Went on a trail ride in the far north of New Zealand & had a bad fall off an ex racehorse
Rode horses on a New Zealand farm
Made friends with a Dutch girl, stayed with her in her Taupo Bay bach
Ate wonderful food in George Town, Penang, Malaysia - rice pancakes, with curry
Bemused by Christmas carols and trees in hot, humid Singapore
Visiting art museums in Brisbane, Melbourne, Cairns, Singapore, Hanoi, Boston and New York
Swimming in lovely, warm, clear Thai water
Terrifying road journeys on barely there roads with fearsome gradients (we heard one tourist had actually been so frightened he....himself).
Did yoga for the first time on Koh Phagnan, meditated, detoxed, fasted, had a session with a healer
Got totally fleeced and duped by an Indian fortune teller on the Khao San Road
Then, in December I was flying over Europe in the middle of the night, gazing down and seeing lights, trying to guess whether it was Germany or Switzerland or France.
Hovering over London and seeing the sparkling lights below - almost felt tearful and the the moment the wheels touched down on British soil and I just thought 'HOME!'.
It was good, but the best bit was coming home.