The decision to spend a year away from home is never one taken lightly. Of course, the excitement of the opportunity should always outweigh the anxiety and it certainly has so far. Having said that, life always seems to have some challenges in store...
It's taken me a few weeks to write this entry as it's an emotional one. A few weeks ago, my mum bravely called to deliver the news that my lovely Grandma Joan had been put on end of life care following a stroke. She passed away within a couple of days.
We're 11,456 miles away from home and with that phone call I suddenly I felt each and every one of those miles. With the massive respect for my mum for making the call, I was met with a montage of a thousand memories. The knowledge that she had been ill for some years might help with processing everything in time, but in the moment there is only gratitude and devastation in equal measure.
From eating cucumber sandwiches together on rainy beaches, to the hugs she would give when she picked us up for the summer holidays, it suddenly all flooded back. From buying infinite packets of crisps so I could complete my Tazos collection, to playing with my hair until I fell asleep when I was ill, I remember it all. Small things that might not make much sense to others but to me, these moments mean everything.
When travelling with your partner, you really do have to rely on one another for almost everything and I am so very lucky in that regard. Jane has been so supportive of a (fairly-neurotic-at-the-best-of-times) deeply saddened Lewis and she has really made it possible for us to keep focused and stay out here - as Grandma would have wanted.
That's one of many major challenges with this particular scenario, Grandma always encouraged me to travel and in truth, I always prioritised other things until now. My mum said Grandma would want me to stay here - I think she's right so here we are, with a little more work and a lot more travelling to do, I think Grandma had it right all along.
She was a loving, inspiring lady and I'll be forever grateful for everything she did for us all.