Each time I return home from an extended time abroad, I am engulfed with a mixture of emotions and impressions. And each time it is different.

Last time, it was the shock at the pace of life so many live in the UK. The Rat Race. I hated it. I had gone straight back into work. And suddenly, every minute of my day was accounted for. There were schedules to keep and deadlines to meet. I would spend hours of my week crawling along motorways and getting annoyed at inconsiderate or simply reckless drivers. Sure, it was great to see my friends again; it always is.

This time, it was like being a child again. A little like I was doing things for the first time. Things I had forgotten or taken for granted, now gave me so much pleasure and enjoyment. It wasn’t that I had missed them while I was travelling. It is surprising, until you try, how gratifying and enriching living a simple lifestyle with few possessions is. Everything else is just luxury.

And luxury is best savoured in little doses.

So I came back to the UK and ate a variety of foods I had not touched in months. Anything that was not fatty lamb, instant noodles or oats. Anything with flavour… proper coffee and strong English tea, red wine and real ale, fresh fruit and a fridge-full of food choices, home-grown vegetables,chilli and spices.

I’m loving countryside walks this mild sunny December. It will be a long time before I complain or moan about the English weather. Newspapers and actual paperback books, listening to the news on TV. Speaking in English and having conversations that continue beyond the superficial questioning a traveller or tourist is always subjected to. Sleeping in a real comfy bed in a room with curtains, a bath, wearing jeans and a wardrobe consisting of more than 2 outfits!

I am enjoying life a lot right now.

It is like I have two homes. My home on the road, which is simply wherever I happen to be at the time, the present moment. The other home is the one I always return to. They both mean a lot to me and I wouldn’t want to do without one or the other.

I know it won’t be long before I start to miss the freedom of the open road and spending life out-of-doors whatever the weather and sleeping under the stars. Miss seeing new places and meeting new people, seeing how others live that I might learn something about what makes us the same, or different. Miss the simplicity of getting dressed in the morning when there is no decision to make about what to wear because there is no choice.

But for now, I’m happy just where I am.

I am also very excited about my next trip… more to come on that though!

So what do you miss when you’re travelling or love more when you get home? Would be great to hear from you… (add a comment below)

Now, if you like a good deal, you’d better keep reading.

Xmas Book Sale:

Desert Snow - One Girl's Take On AfricaAs it was such a rush getting the book about my Africa journey published before I began the Asia trip, I never had time to offer any promotions. A few people have read the book already anyway and judging by the feedback and reviews so far, it has gone down well, which I am really glad about and makes feel a little better about suggesting it to other people to read (self-promotion / faith in my abilities will never come naturally).

So as Christmas is round the corner, there are now a couple of deals on offer:

Paperback 25% off (only £7.49) – order here for signed copy with personalised message. Offer will run until the 24th, but order by the 17th if you want it delivered in time for xmas.

Coming up – Ebook 60% off (only £1.99) – for one week only, starting Monday (16th-22nd Dec), get the Kindle version from Amazon.co.uk really cheap! Note that you can easily convert the file into any ebook format, or download the Kindle app onto many devices other than kindle.

Both of these offers are available in the UK only. For everyone else, I’ve set up another good offer, and this one will run for a while.

Buy the paperback and get the kindle version FREE. Yep, that’s right. It’s like getting 2 books for the price of one. You can buy the paperback for a present and keep the ebook for yourself to read. I’ve also noticed that the paperback is often listed as temporarily out of stock on the US site. So this way, you can buy the book but not have to wait to start reading.

Note that anyone who has already bought the paperback on Amazon.com, can also download the ebook free. This is thanks to the new Matchbook scheme.

If you’ve already read Desert Snow and enjoyed it, it’d be great if you could share this page to let others know of these limited-time book deals.

Free Photobook

Take On Asia - TasterIf you missed my last blog, there’s also the free photobook of the Asia trip so far, available to download as a pdf.


That’s it from me for now. No more plugging of books, which if you’re a regular reader are probably sick of. Time for me to close the laptop and get covered in grease as I try to transform the battered, abused, filthy dirty heap of bike parts into a third re-incarnation of my clean, smoothly functioning bike worthy of use on a 3-month Siberian Winter Expedition!

Winter Biking

It’s only 6 weeks until I head back to Russia for some more winter biking. In the meantime, why not follow Shane‘s winter bike journey in Canada. If you remember, we were in Scandinavia biking together last winter. He’s only just started this new ride, and it sounds like it’s tough going at the mo!