This time last year I was lounging around in LAX, somewhat depressed and getting ready to come home after three months of what is best described as living the dream. It seems both a lifetime ago and like it was only yesterday; I can still remember my last hangover in Hollywood. It got me thinking about how much fun I’ve had since I’ve returned and around the hours I’ve been putting in at the office I’ve managed to appreciate the place I call home a little more than I had expected to.
I spent this weekend paddling on a couple of local waterways and it made me realize how easy it is to take the place you live in for granted. I live literally minutes from rolling hills, farms and the rather lovely general outdoors. I’m not all that far from London and there is so much to do that I’d be crazy to ever say I was bored. Sure, it’s not the mountains I dream of or the cities I long for but it’s not half bad. It’s great to be able to drive for less than half an hour, off load a boat and be in the water.
I’ve really come to love canoeing again while I’ve been at home, squeezing in four trips in the warmer months. There are few things as rewarding as getting out onto the water, cruising for a couple of hours or until you find the nearest pub and stopping for a cheeky pint or three. It’s not so easy getting back into the boat post beer but it sure is a great way to spend a sunny afternoon.
Going away and coming back has also helped me to appreciate the more permanent people in my life, both friends and family. Over the last two years I’ve managed to enjoy activities with my family and get along with my sister, for the most part anyway. We managed to get away to Wales for a weekend and try out White Water Rafting.
This was for my Dad’s 50th birthday, because getting old doesn’t have to be boring or something. It was hard work but we all enjoyed ourselves and I’m definitely looking out of an opportunity to do it again. If that wasn’t enough, when my Mum hit the half century we got ourselves involved in a Grand Prix.
Yes okay, it was in go-karts but it was still time well spent with the family and probably a lot better than spending the day watching Formula 1. We still have the occasional struggles, like the time I ruined Christmas by shooting my sister in the face with a water pistol but I genuinely believe we’ve all come to a better understanding of one another and I think I will eventually come to miss them. Maybe, just a little bit.
It’s amazing the impact a friend you meet on the road can have on your life, but they’re never as constant as the friends you have back home. Somebody can be in and out of life in a couple of days but not the ones you grew up with, the ones you drink with after a long day in the office, or the ones who you wake up to find are still sleeping on your lounge floor. I’ve got eight weeks before I leave them all behind again and my weekends are almost fully booked with catching up and having one final beer before I’m out of their lives again.
There’s a part of me that will be sad to leave when the time comes. I’ve got it pretty good here and life is sweet. That said, the bigger part of me is ready to go. A year at home has been long enough.