In May 2008, I went travelling on my own for the first time and was out of England for a month. Along the way I took in Singapore, New Zealand, Australia and Thailand before coming home. I kept a journal of my time on the road, so here’s a day by day account of my trials and tribulations that has the undeserved title of Dave’s Odyssey.
Day 31 – Thailand – Home
Despite being an hour behind schedule the pilot managed to trim our flight down to 11 hours. At first I tried numerous times to get some sleep, as I’d be catching three trains before returning to Barnsley. I did doze a few times but was always roused from this.
With all the lights out I had little option but to watch some very good films. During the flight, I squeezed in The Bucket List, Sweeney Todd, No Country For Old Men and Juno. I’d wanted to see all four and thanks to Quantas’ excellent entertainment system I was able to do so for free.
As usual, Quantas threw food at us within minutes of take off. It was quite an experience to be having dinner in the early hours of the morning, but as always our sense of time was all over the place. I was much amused by the flight path we took which sensibly avoided the Middle East but still chanced Afghanistan before crossing Russia. I felt it was a pity we didn’t all get on in this world. It would cut down some flight times for sure.
Quantas served us breakfast at 5.00 a.m. and we eventually landed in Heathrow at 7.30. We were supposed to touch down at 7.00 but having set off an hour late from Thailand I couldn’t complain too much. Unfortunately, we didn’t leave the plane for another 45 minutes as they couldn’t find a gate for us. When they did locate one it was turned down due to some contraption – a bridge or something – being broken!
After finding our luggage it was time to bid farewell to the tour group. I got my backpack and went off searching for the Underground. I didn’t get chance to say goodbye to many people but my two ‘grandmothers’ – Valerie and Pamela – I did see so that was a good consolation.
I found the Underground quite straightforward once I knew what I was doing. London’s King Cross was around the 25th stop so it was a fair old plod. Thankfully, it was busy enough for me to follow people and not wander round aimlessly. The only snag of getting from London to Leeds was the price of £80 for my ticket. Well, it wasn’t like I was doing this every day.
It seemed appropriate to bring my account to an end as I headed north towards Yorkshire. I was understandably nervous when I set out but was fortunate enough to have an easy-going tour group. Over the last month I’d seen some amazing places and had loved every minute, save the brief stay in Thailand, which was mirrored by a few others in the group. Trying to pick the high point of the tour was not easy and I chose not going to attempt it. I enjoyed our brief stay in Singapore, New Zealand was magnificent with the scenery and culture, and I soon learned why Australia is such a popular destination for travellers. I’m glad I got the chance to see Thailand just so I can say I’d been there. I do think somewhere like Hong Kong would have been a more rewarding place to go. Overall, the tour had given me the travel bug. Where I would go from here? I couldn’t wait to find out.
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