After 5 days of cycling from Leicester to Dover and briefly pausing in Reading to see my Dad, I left England on the 23rd of June, 2012.
By the time I disembark from my flight on the 6th of August 2014 at London Heathrow, I will have been away for 2 years, 2 months and 2 weeks!
For those of you who don’t know, I spent the first 6 months cycling from England through France, Luxembourg, Germany, Austria, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Macedonia, Greece, Turkey, India, Australia, finally arriving in New Zealand with my partner Ellie.
The last section of our journey was in New Zealand and took us from Auckland down the west coast to Taranaki which is where we have been living since. There is so much to love about New Zealand and we nearly ended up staying here, but now with less than three months to go, all I can think about is the things I love and miss in England and Europe.
Here’s the condensed version of all the things I miss and I’m excited to see again very soon:
- The cold
- Small roads perfect for cycling
- Cycle routes that go from tiny village with church to tiny village with church
- Deciduous trees
- Having so many countries and languages on my doorstep
- Brit’s understated sense of subversive intellectual humour
- Brit’s self depreciating humor
- Brit’s ability to grumble about everything but still be happy
- Porkpies, Marmite, Twiglets and properly spicy food
- Strong blue cheeses that are alive and kicking with flavour
- eBay, (good) online shopping
- cheap landline and mobile internet
- BBC iPlayer!
- Trains (except when I actually have to use them)
- Multiculturalism, world food shops and big markets
- old buildings, churches, castles, cathedrals and ruins
- European history and stories
- Bradgate Park!
When we arrive we’ll be doing a lightweight tour around much of South West england before heading north to Cambridge and Leicester. For the first time ever I will see my home country through the eyes of a tourist.
And I can’t wait!