There’s no place like home: Portsmouth, England

England, english countryside, Manna, cafes, cakes, coffee, food blogger, food bloggers, mother & daughter food bloggers, Michelin starred restaurants, backpacker, travel, Portsmouth, Portsmouth night-life, tractor, Petworth, cycling, South downs, Gili T, Indonesia
My home city of Portsmouth

Surprising my parents with a visit home was well worth the 17 hour journey from Hong Kong via Moscow, even if my arrival time meant that I had to wake mum up, with her response being “is this real life or am I still dreaming?” Surprising my grandparents was even better, with nan repeatedly saying in astonishment  “look who it is dear” to Grandad. Portsmouth was the city I was born and where all of my family still live and a trip home after eight months away was just what the doctor ordered, quite literally!

Reunited with my best friend and the other half of LLLC – my mum

If I’m honest, the first two weeks were a bit depressing. After all the reunions, I was suffering from backpacker blues – like the feeling you get when you return from a holiday but magnified by a million. I kept telling myself that this wasn’t the end, I was still on my trip and this was merely a visit to another country. It was hard not to feel like a failure; like I was home because I couldn’t hack travelling alone or had run out of money, but the truth was that I missed people and my spell in hospital reminded me that life’s too short not to do the things you want.

Me in my heyday on Gili T in Indonesia

Another reason for feeling glum was that after two glorious months on the Gili Islands building up a glowing tan, tousled beach hair, some killer abs and skin as clear as the water, this all disappeared after a few weeks in hospital. I managed to snap myself out of this negativity by thinking back to my time in my hospital bed and how health is more important than the extra 10kg around my middle and hair as dry as Starbuck’s pastries.

Spending time in the countryside with my parents

As always, my ma and pa were absolute gems and I was spoiled rotten. Mum limited her time on her bike to spend time with me which involved numerous local cake and coffee spots and dad quietly put up with the fact I had managed to turn the house into a bomb site within a matter of days of arriving home. The three of us enjoyed the unusually pleasant British weather with country walks, Michelin starred meals and bottles of red wine. There’s nothing quite like the British countryside that’s for sure.

Me and my old school friends from Portsmouth

I also enjoyed a few cheeky wine sessions with old school friends and experienced Portsmouth’s night-life, which only reminded me of the things I do not miss about this coastal city. It was so nice to enjoy home-cooked food in front of the telly and not having to pack my bag everyday, do laundry, sleep in a room with others or pay for things like shampoo, but dispute this I was itching to get back on the road.

Reflecting on my trip far on a cycle in the South Downs

Having no ties and the ability to travel anywhere made deciding where to go next a near impossible task, which dragged out for nearly a month. There were too many options and more important bigger decisions to be made such as whether I was going to move to Australia as planned, settle in Asia the continent I’ve come to love so much or continue to travel, possibly covering South America. My weeks of indecisiveness was driving my friends and family crazy and I was stupidly loosing sleep, so I reminded myself of possibly my favourite saying of the century “YOLO”. You only live once. I forgot about travel time, money and hassle and booked a series of four flights taking me though three countries in just two weeks.

Going to miss my hometown of Portsmouth in a weird and wonderful way

I’m certainly packing it all in in the next few weeks, but I want to arrive in Melbourne before November to catch the summer job openings, hopefully in a cafe where I can serve early morning coffee like Rachel from Friends. I also want to use this opportunity to visit friends I have across the world before I return to the land of employment, even if this means taking a wee detour some 3750 miles across Australia. When else will I be able to live a life full of spontaneous decisions and wild adventures?

There’s nothing quite like the English countryside

It’s been a wonderful time back home, there’s really no place like it and travelling has made me appreciate it so much more. Life’s too short for worries or woes and indecisive decisions which I am going to work on and family and friends mean more than time and money. It’s time for me to repack my bag and continue in my journey into the unknown. I want to end this post by saying a huge thank you to my parents for providing a home better than any hotel and everyone who has made my time in England so great. And remember, YOLO. *for more shots like these check out my Instagram page! 

Living life, loving travel,

H x