21:59

I am back! On the 31st May I flew out to Los Angeles and for two weeks I toured around Southern and Northern California. In SoCal I visited Disneyland, Griffith Observatory, Getty Center, Laguna Beach and other spots. Up in NorCal I went to San Francisco city centre, Fisherman’s Wharf, Exploratorium, Twin Peaks, Coit Tower, Union Square, the Great Mall in San Jose and many other places.

My trips abroad are always jam packed so I often come home feeling like I need a holiday after my holiday! Whilst physically and mentally draining, the whole experience was a lot of fun and it was amazing to travel around and explore new (and old) places.

It has taken me almost a whole week to get rid of my jet lag. I returned to work the day after I flew back from the US, and I struggled to keep my eyes open during work hours. I have been waking up in the middle of the night for the past week, and also took long naps in the evenings to compensate for the lack of sleep. I managed to sleep through the night yesterday so hopefully my jet lag has been curbed!

22:57

I am safely back in my home town in the comforts of my childhood bedroom! The last few days have been manic with travelling, friends and visitors, and family gatherings.

I spent much of my long weekend catching up with people who I do not get to see for the majority of the year. I must have answered the, “So where do you work now?” question at least 15 times. Sometimes I feel like I have lost that connection with my friends and family back at home, however there are also times where it feels like I never left.

I spent Sunday afternoon through till Monday in the lovely city of Cambridge. A friend recently moved out there for work so a group of 10 went out there to visit and chill out. When we get together it reminds me of how much we have all grown, as individuals and together as a group. While some of us have moved away from our home towns, it is reassuring to see everyone growing and developing into self-sufficient adults in their own ways. It is comforting to know that my friends are doing well.

21:51

It is almost the time of year where I get to travel home! Working life is completely different to studying life. I have only a limited number of days for my Winter break now whereas my student semester break seemed almost endless. Tomorrow I will be taking the train back to my home town to visit my family and friends. I will be working a half day before travelling for a half day. The feeling of not returning to work untilv the new year is a good one!

21:38

After a long weekend back in my home town I am safely back in Edinburgh. So did I get a chance to recharge and to rest up before returning to my work life? In a way; yes, but in many other ways; no.

  1. On Friday evening I took the train intending to have a smooth journey home, and to get an early night in before the wedding festivities. However my train was delayed in Newcastle for over two hours so I missed all my connecting trains… The signal failure was due to deliberate vandalism! I was not happy.
  2. After sitting in the station for an extended period of time I eventually made it to York station on a packed train. As I had missed all my connecting trains I had to rush here and there to find trains which would hopefully get me to my home town that day. Luckily I brought a tiny suitcase which I could run with! I ended up in Leeds late into the evening, and reached Sheffield at past midnight.
  3. As it got later and later I realised I would not be getting home that day. The train carriage was filled with drunken revellers on their way home from a night out, and the noise gave me a headache. Trains from Sheffield to Leicester only ran on the hour and I had missed all of those for that day, thus meaning I would have to wait till morning. So frantically using the last of my battery on my phone, I searched for hotels near Sheffield train station so that I could rest up. I found a cheap-ish hotel which was close by and power walked to it. Being alone in a strange city late at night was very scary, especially because I was tired, frustrated and upset.
  4. As I checked into the hotel I could feel my body relaxing a little. There was nothing else I could do about the situation so the least I could do was get some much needed rest in the hotel. The room was really modern and the king-sized bed was super comfortable! The waterfall shower was very soothing and it felt amazing to wash the evening of travel off. I had been reassured by the train conductor that I could use my tickets the next day and not have to pay for new ones, so I slept soundly till morning.
  5. On Saturday morning I woke up feeling refreshed after such a manic evening, and got ready to travel home. The trains to Leicester were much more frequent than the previous night and were much quicker journeys! Within an hour and 15 minutes I was safely back in Leicester and I got picked up by my brother. I was very much relieved to be back and to have the ordeal over with!

I feel like every time I face a hardship I can learn from it. I also thank God that it was not as bad a situation as it could have been. Although I did get upset at the time, I also was able to find a way out and to make the most of a bad event. The night alone in a hotel gave me some time to reflect on my evening, and to realise that I am stronger than I perceive myself. My independence has made me a more well-prepared person, and I can deal with tough situations. Hopefully I can continue to grow and learn through my struggles and to empower myself more from the lessons I receive.

21:54

Things have been a little hectic in the last couple of weeks with friends visiting and consecutive nights out. I could feel my own emotions swelling up inside of me because I needed a period of solitude to relax and recharge.

This week has been a much needed change from previous weeks. I have spent nearly every evening at home. I actually sat down for dinner with my extended family for the first time in a while, and it was very comforting.

This weekend I will be travelling back to my home town to visit my family and friends, and to also attend my friends’ wedding. The last time I returned home was at the beginning of June before I started my working life. While I enjoy my life here in Edinburgh, there are times that I get homesick and feel very lost in my independence. When I return to my home every half a year or so, I can see so many changes. However sometimes when I return, it feels like not much has changed since I was last there.

Long weekend, here I come!

21:55

Train journeys always give me time to reflect and although travelling makes me physically tired, I am recharged mentally.

After some reflection I came up with a list of things that I truly give thanks for:-

  • Arriving safely in Edinburgh with all my luggage! I have had a train journey in the past where my suitcase was stolen, so it always makes me very paranoid!
  • All my references from university and previous jobs have cleared so I have a fuss-free start to my new job on Monday.
  • Getting a job after my first interview. It has taken a little while to sink in but I know now that it really is a blessing and a fantastic opportunity.
  • My granddad’s bravery in his battle against ill health. He will be undergoing keyhole surgery on Monday but he has not been experiencing any pain, and remains his usual happy self.
  • The short 10 days that I had to relax at home before starting my new job. I caught up with friends and spent precious time with family.
  • This good weather. Sunny days and warm nights!

23:02

Today I travelled back to my home town on the train. Having time to be with my own thoughts for a few hours is soothing. Due to refusing to pay for wi-fi and dodgy phone/3G signal I also had a chance to catch up on some reading.

When I take public transport I like to people watch. I like constructing stories and backgrounds in my head, where people have come from, and where they are going. I like seeing the books that other people are reading, and looking at the way people dress. As the train coursed through the countryside and the different cities, it made me wonder about the lives of the people who live there.

The train pulled into each station, let people off and on, and swiftly moved down the tracks towards another city. We go through life constantly rushing from here and there, getting from A to B as quickly as possible, looking for the easiest and most efficient way. However if we stop to look at the world, we may find something more enriching.

01:51

‘Travel takes control away from us, exposing our weakest points. We are acutely aware of our vulnerability. We are naive, unaccustomed, unacquainted, unversed. We are ignorant, roaming in the darkness of the unfamiliar. We are lonely, lost, disoriented. Travel pushes us across the chasm. We are moved to explore the mysterious, to confront our fear, to venture beyond the challenging, cryptic crevasses of our path.’

Steve Zikman

Travelling blues.