I was sat on a pallet drinking a beer in a hostel in Chengdu, China, when the news came through last week. I'd been waiting days, weeks for it and now it was finally here it was completely overwhelming. An explosion of emotions erupted inside me. My sister had just given birth to her first baby, a little boy. And I'm not at home to see them. Tears filled my eyes and I tried to blink them away to focus on the photo of them. That's how it will be for the next 6 months; photos, videos and Skype calls. It's a lot to take in because sure I've missed people terribly but up until now things have just been ticking along the same at home, nothing much changing from day to day or week to week. This is a big deal and something I'm not quite sure how I will cope with yet.
I've also been feeling quite lonely the last month or so. I mean of course you meet some amazing and lovely people on the road who you connect with that have similar interests but it's quite superficial and not spending time with friends who actually know me is taking its toll. Of course J and I have each other but it can also be intense spending so much time together and experiencing the same stuff 99% of the time. I miss different things from different people too. I miss the closeness I have with my sister, it makes me cry thinking how much I want to hug her. I miss my mum's positivity, sense of humour and good advice. I miss my best friend, how well she knows me and how I can tell her anything without judgement. And my cat, I thought the bond I feel would start to fade if I'm honest but I miss her everyday and it still remains one of the hardest parts about leaving.
But yet despite feeling homesick and lonely I'm not ready to come home yet. You see I also feel lots of other things. Like the excitement of arriving in a new city and finding your way around, the buzz from managing to communicate something you want in another language, the satisfaction of coordinating your way on a foreign public transport system and the exhilaration of immersing yourself in a new culture. I'm loving every second of that side of travelling and I suppose that's the trade off we chose when we made the decision to travel.
In terms of my actual home, I'm not missing England the country per say so much. I miss some foods but there are so many more new ones I'm discovering it doesn't matter. Specifically my house, yes, I miss it very much. I miss having my own privacy, being able to shut my front door, crank up my record player with some Tina Turner and shut the world out. It's difficult to do that in a dorm with 21 other people - also not so many people are a fan of Tina's hits these days I find. I miss the comforts of my log fire, my bath, my under floor heating and right now whilst we are in China - my toilet seat. I also miss stupid stuff such as doing laundry. It was by far my favourite chore that is now out of my hands and in that of the local launderettes. I miss normal Internet speed too, when you are having a crappy day and just want to talk to someone who gets you but can't get online often makes me want to smash my phone up!
So as next month marks missing my best friends' wedding too, it's going to be a tough one and interesting to say the least, to see how I continue to cope having long distance relationships with the ones I love. But as well as thinking about my friends and family in the UK I will also be focussing on why I love travelling so much and the here and now of this wonderfully crazy adventure we are so lucky to be experiencing.