With hindsight, and from the point of view of a person who now has a place to live, a combination girlfriend/flatmate, some normalcy, some routine and some domesticity, I found out a few things out on the way. They include the following:
* There is physical and there is mental. Sometimes being in the best place in the world is not enough to compensate for feeling like you should be somewhere else.
* Having things waiting for you at home (houses, cars, computers, credit cards) can help make your trip a little easier). Assets can bring security as well as commitment. You have a choice about how you view them.
* Joy can be smoked salmon in bad weather and bad traffic. Joy can also sometimes be flavourless boiled goat in perfect weather with not another jeep for miles. But the smoked salmon is a better bet.
* Commitment is not so scary. Many good things can only happen when you relax into it. The tree is close to the ground – fear not to step away from the trunk.
* Remoteness is as much cultural and linguistic as it is geographical. You are never that far from home.
* Credit cards can be troublesome. and being on hold is irritating when the call costs $6 a minute.
* Perspectives vary: what i hate, someone else loves; what i find common others think weird.
* Fabulous people can sometimes be hard to find. But this only increases the wonder and joy from finding one, whenever that might be.
* When you put your mind to it, you can go a long way in a very short time, even without planes.
* There is nothing quite like the freedom of a long train journey (provided you are properly prepared). Unlike airplanes, they take much longer (airplanes almost always arrive too quickly), you have more freedom of movement (although there is nowhere to go but to and from the window and the restaurant car), and no one takes responsibility for keeping you entertained but you.
* Visas, like sandpaper, are designed to irritate.
* Most of the sights of the world are a disappointment. Definitely not as interesting as the people seeing them. Keep your expectations low and your standards high.
* Happy people are not scarce – neither are friendly people. Altruism does exist.
* Travels mostly sound exotic to those who have never been. To those who have come and gone, excitement is tempered by the realisation of discomfort. Nasty can be cool, but usually only in hindsight.