24 March 2013

Flying back home to Australia! Maybe...

Welcome to the story of how I got home to Australia after my 11 months of travel.

It all started with a scheduled flight from Los Angeles to Australia at 10.40pm.

I was too nervous to do anything big during the day, due to the fear that I'd either somehow get injured, stranded, or lose something valuable, all of which would prevent me from catching this flight.

The. Worst. Fear!

Missing this flight was not an option.

Earlier in the day I made friend with a fellow Australian, Alex, who was to be catching a flight back home at the same time as me. Win! Having someone to talk to on the way to the airport, and then wait with while at the airport too, was much welcomed indeed.

We arrived at the airport. We lined up in our respective carrier lines (I was flying Qantas).

Alex got through his line no worries.

After 11 months abroad, I was literally counting the minutes to just be on this very last flight to be able to return to my greatly missed home...

... only to be told...

... once I reached the counter...


Come on!

It was terribly shattering... I couldn't believe it. Every time I try and leave Los Angeles, something always happens to prevent it! Sigh.

Thankfully, Qantas set me up with a free hotel room the night. After about an hour of pacing my hotel room in frustration, I kind of relaxed when I realized I get a nice dinner, a super comfy bed and a room all to myself, all for free. Which was actually kinda awesome. With some music blaring and a good movie on the TV playing, the night got pretty fun!

But it was still a very small consolation, I was meant to be flying home already!

The next morning I awoke early, got the shuttle to the airport, and lined up yet again, this time for a 10.20am flight instead. I was not happy that I was to be flying a 14 hour flight during the day now... and not during the night like I had specifically booked for.

Long story short, after a long customs line, and a couple of panic attacks, I was finally on the plane bound for Australia. How surreal it was.

I guess I don't have any stories of how my flight was this time. It didn't have married couples sitting away from each other like previous flights, or that time there was a guy so large sitting next to me he took up half my seat and I thought he had a heart attack until I realized he was just trying to let out a sneeze. Compared to most of my flights, it was pretty tame. Which is a good thing!

14 hours on a plane is not fun, but the thought of heading home outweighed any negatives

At around 9pm at local Sydney, Australia time I had arrived. I was pumped! Until I realized that I had of course missed my connecting flight to Melbourne, Australia (which is where I live) due to the delay... which meant another night spent in a hotel room before catching another flight the following day. Which this time was a lot more fun I admit. Two nights in a row of hotel rooms, free meals and service? It was a mini-holiday!

I wasn't even hungry to be honest... but it was free so...

I had attempted to leave America on a Thursday... it wasn't until the local time of Sunday did I arrive home in Melbourne! 5 days it took me to get home! But oh well, I wasn't really surprised. That right there summarized the entire trip really; the complete randomness, strangeness and unpredictability of it all.

And alas, I can say for certain (seeing as I am typing this post from my house) that I have officially made it back home to Australia.

To greet me at the airport upon my arrival was my very best friend Jason, which was a great surprise as I didn't think he was coming due to all the delayed flights. But it was certainly welcome, and damn cool, to see him again. My family of course was 30 minutes late.

And that... well. I don't want to say 'and that is the end', because to be honest it feels like I am still traveling. My room feels temporary, like just another HelpX arrangement, and that I have to get moving again in a few day times like always. My bag is still packed, and I have forgotten what contents were even in my room, on my shelves, in my drawers.

Tomorrow I have to go apply for a new drivers license as my current one expired whilst I was away. I guess that is the first step into 'normalcy', yes? Who knows. I certainly don't.

The majority of my friends and family don't even know I am back to be honest. Something done of purpose mainly for the intent of surprising them, but also because I'd much prefer a quieter return to be honest, to be able to do my own thing for a little while longer. Which is a strange to say of course, seeing as I have missed them so much, but, well, if you went away for a year and came back then I am sure you'd understand what I mean.

This post is certainly not my last, but it is close to it. Once the surreality of being back wears off, I guess that is when this blog will truly end, but for the time being... I am still traveling for a few more weeks I think.


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