…and another thing!

Well this is it, a final diary entry and our very last day. How I have dreaded this day, in fact since before we even started. Our big adventure, something special, dreaming about this trip sustained me through so many long days at work.

There are so many things that I want to say today that trying to put them in some sort of sensible order is impossible so here goes a disjointed ramble-

One thing I won’t miss from the trip is writing this blog. It has been amazingly difficult at times to motivate myself to do it but I felt I’d made a commitment – probably at times not very good, not interesting, not inspiring but its here. For Ali and Maisie – that�s why I wrote it. If in the future they forget or they want to share it with anyone they can. Perhaps they never will but they can if they want.

I have had the chance to think about all the best times over the past few days on all those long journeys through Arizona. So many to think about and of course our ideas of the best all vary. It’s probably easier to think about experiences rather than places although I did have my favourite places. As our first destination India was amazing- I would go back there in a heartbeat and do it all again, the colour, the gentle people – it entranced me and like the first time we went there I know we’ll go back again at some point.

I fell in love with Cambodia almost as soon as we stepped foot over the border, the Khmer people were fantastic and the history and beauty of the land were awesome. What a fantastic place – I really hope one day to return there to do some volunteer work and give a bit back to the country that captivated us all.

And America- What an awesome country it is. I always wondered why a reported nearly 90% of Americans haven’t got a passport. Well now I know! Despite only visiting 4 states I feel like we have got a bit of a feel for the US and we loved it. From crazy Vegas to beautiful San Francisco, coming back here will be high on our list of places to visit again.

I suppose my favourite places were often the obvious ones, seeing the Taj Mahal and the River Ganges, having a drink at Raffles Hotel, staying on the Khao San Road in Bangkok, the temples of Ankor Wat, walking on the Great Wall in China, the Hong Kong skyline, swimming at The Great Barrier Reef, the beautiful Opera House, skiing in New Zealand and spectacular Las Vegas. These have been amazing experiences that we will remember forever.

We have learnt a lot on the trip and seen the kids grow in more ways than one. How amazing to hear them talking confidently and knowledgably now about places they have visited to so many people. We wanted them to know there’s more to life than Disneyland well that�s been achieved for sure.

I had some personal goals for the trip, things I wanted to do and achieve. I always thought I never had any time to think and having the time to think what I want out of life has allowed me to make some plans for the future to do what I want. I have rediscovered lots of things that I used to love like reading and learning about world history and done some things I thought I was too scared to do- paragliding, walking the through the canopies of the trees in the rainforest, ski lift etc.

I’ve read some great books on the trip the best being The Kite Runner and Half of a Yellow Sun. I’m going to join a library when we get home and try and spend some time each day reading.

Another thing I have learnt is to do stuff when you want to and don’t put it off. (Until you’ve got more money, kids are grown up etc) Watching some people around us dealing with terminal illnesses gave us the push to go and do this trip instead of putting it off until Ali and Maisie were older. I’m so glad we did as we have now experienced all this cool stuff with them and yet when we get home and they go back to school on Wednesday everything will be much the same and their lives will continue as they did before. I’m not going back to work until Oct 1st so I’m lucky and will have the space to sort things out at home for a few weeks. Simon has got his job back with the same company and will starting work again next Monday.

We have decided this isn’t the end of The Bowmans Travels webby. Looking back over the diary entries and photographs is for us really good and as we are already planning a trip to France next year we’re going to try and always update with our holiday destinations. I hope this will mean at least 3 travel updates a year but we will have to see if our finances will stretch to that! Luckily we think the airmiles we have racked up on the trip may at least get us a flight to Europe hurray!! Could be off again very soon. My stars today said I would soon be experiencing unexpected travel!!

We’ve been so lucky and met the most amazing people around the globe. A few stand out in our memories- Dan and Sam in Malaysia, Jon, Toby, Barney and Lois in Langkawi – what a lovely week we spent with them, the girls we spent time with in Southern Thailand in the jungle, Lou in Cambodia- inspirational and back in SE Asia now. (Didn’t take long!) Tracey- we followed each other around China, OZ, NZ and Fiji, Lovely Maggie and the students in China, Toni and Bill in Australia – so kind to us,The McCabe family in Fiji and our fellow Malolo Sliders especially Caroline and Lydiane- what a fab time we had with them.

A few people have said to me this blog is like a book! Hmmm! Not too sure about that! Maybe I’ll end up on a best sellers list! Or maybe I won’t – I don’t care I only wrote it for the kids. But on the other hand this could be my one big chance to be an author so in true literary style here goes.

My thanks to these guys (amongst others) in no particular order- you have been my friends on this trip and made all those long journeys go so much quicker -
Athlete, Bob Dylan, Bob Marley, Coldplay, Faithless, Foofighters, Greenday, Jack Johnson, Jimi Hendrix, Kaiser Chiefs, The Killers, The Kooks, The Libertines, Lost Prophets, My Chemical Romance, Nivarna, Pink Floyd, Powderfinger, Razorlight, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, The Rolling Stones, Silverchair, Snow Patrol, Stereophonics, The View, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, The Zutons.

Nicky – My fantastic mate. Thank you so much for everything from us all you’ve been really great and we appreciate it so much.

My love to-

Our families- can’t wait to see you all. Despite some initial reservations about us going everyone supported us and did everything they could to help out and make things easier for us.

Our friends- get the beers in cause we’re too skint to ever buy another round

And lastly I dedicate this diary to Simon, Alister and Maisie my inspirational and lovely family and fellow travellers. Respect to them all, through loads of laughs and rows and a few tears and hysterics. ( Mainly from me) We really have had the time of our lives.

Flight to London

We got up at 4.30 am and made our way to JFK airport. Now its time to go I guess I want to be there but as for wanting to go home- I don’t think so. The flight was on time and luckily we managed to get extra legroom seats and crash out for the majority of the flight.

Arriving at Heathrow was a miserable experience, massive queues and the most unfriendly immigration people ever. We had more conversation with the border guards in China (Who only spoke Mandarin) and it looks so dirty. On a more positive note- hmmm! Our car hire thing screwed up, and after a further 3 hours milling around the various terminals and Heathrow Sheraton Hotel we were at last on the M4 and on our way home.

2am- Just got in house all looks nice – thanks Mum and Paul. Off to bed now .Knackered.