As you know, I wrote my last blog from the unprepossessing surroundings of the Heathrow Terminal 5 Travelodge (more correctly the Slough Industrial Estate Travelodge) due to an impromptu visit to UK on a ‘mission of mercy’ getting an unwell youth volunteer back home.
In the space of 72 hours I travelled 6000 miles to go 6 hours back in time, spent 36 hours in that time zone and then flew another 6000 miles to be back in my GMT+7 world.
I experienced a temperature drop of approximately 24 degrees in the first 18 hours (I left Phnom Penh in 30 degree heat and landed in Heathrow to 4 degree arse freezing coldness) and went from being constantly too hot and sweaty to needing to wear all of my clothes to vaguely keep the chill out. My flip flopped feet were not at all impressed with my location change and I could almost feel my tanned skin peeling off as the cold sank through to my bones.
But all was not doom and gloom. Whilst travelling back in time I discovered the following:
- Slough is as depressing as the Office makes it out to be but it’s conveniently located for my lovely friend from Brighton to come get me to have lunch.
- There are unofficial breakfast sittings operating at Travelodges around the UK. 6am sees the arrival of the tradesman; by 6.30am the white collar workers have started to appear and 7am heralds the start of the tourist trade in the breakfast room. As a time traveller I partook of all three sittings whilst also helping myself to copious amounts of teabags for my trip back to the future.
- I have the best mum and sister in the world! Travelling down to London to see me, delivering my new Fitflops, drinking tea and eating cake with me and generally giving me a day filled with joy and laughter.
- I quite liked going to bed at 4 in the afternoon and getting up at 2am. It felt kind of cheeky getting up, washed and dressed while everyone else was sleeping and then going for lunch with the tradesmen having breakfast (I now officially declare the full English to be the best lunch you can have!)
- The UK in the sunshine is a pretty special place (and it looks amazing from the window of a plane first thing in the morning).
- British TV is shite! Especially as they don’t play repeats of Real Housewives between 2am and 6am for time travellers like me, desperate for a fix.
- Airline entertainment systems promise the world and fail to deliver. I flew with 4 different airlines over the course of my trip and on each leg found myself unable to find anything to watch despite the approximately 48 different options each system provided (when will they realise that Real Housewives is the way to go!?)
- I really do love my life in Cambodia. It was nice travelling back in time to the UK but it felt exactly like that. A trip to the past – not my present and not my future (or at least foreseeable future).
- I loved every bonkers, exhausting, crazy minute of the adventure. It was mad, I was knackered (still am), I physically ached from the hours spent on planes and hunching up against the cold, I spent a fortune, but most of all I got a story to tell and if there’s one thing I’m finally acknowledging about myself, it’s how much I love to be part of a story worth telling.
Back in Cambodia I am once again hot and sweaty, I have 3 new bites already and a mild dose of the sh*ts, but do you know what, even if I could I wouldn’t change a thing!