Hi readers, I’m ho-ome!
Our almost six-month travel adventure around Europe and America is over and we arrived back in Sydney yesterday (the less said about the jet lag, the better!). We have been to so many places (in no particular order): Tuscany, Rome, Milan, Amsterdam, Barcelona, Paris, London, Oxford, Bath, Geneva, Nice, Monaco, Marrakech, Edinburgh, Skye, Berlin, New York, Boston, Chicago, San Francisco, Vancouver and Singapore. I know we will talk about and share stories from this trip for the rest of our lives. It has been amazing, but we were more than ready to come home to reality, routine and our friends and family in Australia.
As with most travels and holidays, they give you the opportunity to take stock and put everything in perspective, so I thought I’d share a few of my key learnings from six months on the road, seeing the world while running my business!
1. I am a massive homebody. I already knew this but nothing could have prepared me for how much I would miss normality and routine and the simple pleasures of home. Top of my list now (as we move in with my excellent in-laws) is finding us a new nest. I can’t wait to have all our things around me again, to not live out of a suitcase and to only have to consider one timezone. I feel like I don’t want to travel or see an airport again for years (although I’m sure my travel bug will be back before then!). But it has made me realise that I am a simple soul, easily pleased by a lot of the little things in life. Just being in my home, with my stuff and my husband, will be amazing! Yay!
2. Although I always try to pick the ones with great design, the things I actually value most in a hotel are good WiFi, a bath and tea and coffee-making facilities! You would not believe the number of top hotels we stayed in (I know, shut up!) that didn’t have a kettle or a coffee maker in the room. This would make my blood pressure rise, even if everything else was perfect. Is it just me that can’t do anything before the first coffee of the day (therefore going out of a hotel to get it is not an option!) and needs a nice cup of tea or herbal tea last thing at night (you don’t need to know how many hot drinks happen in between but suffice to say I am English!)? And tubs! Again, largely influenced by growing up in England, I am a huge bath lover and it upsets me that so many hotels rip them out these days in favour of shower cubicles big enough for about six people! When we came across a hotel with a bath I’d be in my element, especially after the huge amount of exploring we’d do on foot each day. And I have vowed not to move into a new place unless it has a bath. Our last home didn’t have one and even though it was perfect in almost every other way, the lack of bath still pained me. Taking baths is key to my mental health!
3. Technology is brilliant! Despite the fact that for most of the 5.5-month trip I’ve been running this blog with a massive nine-hour time difference and from various hotel rooms and my aunt’s coffee table, it has all gone remarkably well. Some people didn’t even realise I’d gone! Thanks to hotel WiFi, Skype, my trusty (and now quite battered MacBook Pro) and WordPress’ scheduling function, I have been able to do almost everything I needed to on the go, juggling work with sightseeing and family and friend time. I couldn’t have done it without my trusty editorial assistant Olivia back at home on the ground in Sydney (as well as the people I outsource my ad sales and tech support to and trust implicitly). She has been a lifesaver, attending events I obviously couldn’t, writing and being an all round organised superstar. You know what though? I can’t wait to work full-time again and to not have to consider time zones! Being at my own desk is going to make me feel so much more organised and calm! The blog has continued to grow while I’ve been traveling and this is more than I could have hoped for.
4. The people in your life are the most important thing. Of course, I already knew this, but this trip just reinforced that. I feel so incredibly lucky to have friends and family who love me on both sides of the world, in the UK (where I lived until I was 26) and here in Sydney. It really is overwhelming. I left England last week with such mixed feelings of sadness to leave and happiness to be coming back to my Australian friends and in-laws, knowing I’ll return before too long. You couldn’t really ask for more. An absolute highlight was getting my “little” sister (who is not a fan of flying) on a plane for the first time in years for a family trip to Berlin.
5. I have so much more to see in my own home country. We planned to see loads of the UK but ran out of time after spending a month in the States and taking countless side trips to Europe. Our last trip was to Scotland, where we visited Edinburgh, Inverness, Loch Ness, the Isle of Skye and a few other places in between. Exotic it was not. Sunny, it was not either! But it was beautiful and rugged and vast and I loved it! I really want to see more of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales and share that with my Aussie husband, so on future trips “home” we intend to do just that. You know what they say about not appreciating what’s on your doorstep!
6. My marriage is pretty great. Spending 5.5 months 24/7 with any one person is never going to be easy, but we managed not to kill each other. In fact, we did much better than that. What a great first year of marriage we are having. Before you know it, it will be October and our first wedding anniversary!
Thanks to everyone who has taken an interest in our trip for your kind words on Instagram in particular. I hope you have enjoyed sharing our once-in-a-lifetime adventure!
It is great to be back. I’d love to see some of you at the events I’m taking part in with Jason Grant at the new West Elm Chatswood this Saturday and West Elm Chapel Street in Melbourne, next Saturday 6 September. Please RSVP on the stores’ Facebook pages (Chatswood and Chapel Street) if you’d like to attend. Hope to see you there!
You can read some of my travel pieces and hotel reviews from the trip over on the Expedia blog.
Welcome home Jen! What a wonderful experience for you and Damian. It was fun to live vicariously through your pics and tweets. If I were you I would seriously consider living and working full time on the road…
Melinda Cullen says
Our eldest daughter is named Skye (14yrs) , as we were engaged on the Isle of Skye…. ! I become sentimental when I hear people have visited,….
Jen Bishop says
How lovely! It’s a very special place isn’t it?
Welcome home Jen, so lovely to have you back here. Rosiex