Only A Matter Of Time

Fourteen months or 428 days of continuous and indefinite travel, has gradually grinded to a halt. Symbolically, Sachin Tendulkar recently called time on a glittering career, which proves that most amazing journeys eventually come to an end.

Ticking away the moments
That make up a dull
day
Fritter and waste the hours
In an off-hand way


Like The Wheels was originally intended to be a tool to update friends and family on our trip, instead of messaging everybody individually. Those who cared could check whenever they liked, and those who didn’t could go about living their normal lives. As time progressed, the blog has also become a site dedicated to sharing my views and opinions of the places I’ve visited, and a small vault of helpful information for anyone doing a similar trip. I always tried to keep my posts to the point, informative and with a little dry humour, supported by all original photographs unless otherwise stated. I have read travel blogs before which follow this type of structure-

“Today we were up at 8am, had an egg sandwich which cost 60 Baht. It’s 30 degrees today so best use some of that Piz Buin Factor 15 my mam sent out. We managed to fit in the highlights of Bangkok in most of the day, and now it’s time to treat ourselves to a pizza mmmmnnnn. Today we spent $15 on accommodation, $13 on food, $6 on sundries and transport and $10 dollars on one of those wooden croaking frogs from Kao San Road which I didn’t really want, but I’m the kind of person who feels like I don’t have a choice but to say yes to anyone trying to sell me cheap tat, oh well off to Pattaya tomorrow, I’ve heard it has some beautiful sights.” Etc etc…

Ironically enough I’m starting to drone on, getting to the point, I don’t find this type of travel blog particularly interesting and consider it more of a diary. I suggest that anyone who enjoys reading this type of stuff should go out and buy a Bill Bryson book, Bryson-esque, more like Yawn-esque. Anyway each to their own.

Kicking around on a piece of ground in your home town
Waiting for someone or something
To show you the way

In my ‘about’ section I mentioned that my reasons for travelling could not be explained at that moment. It’s taken me a long time and half the world to think of a few – I like to be able to wake up in the morning and not know what the day will bring, who you will meet, what you will see, what you will learn. I believe that every human being in this world has something to teach someone else, no matter who the person. There’s a cliché that travel broadens the mind, and it’s true, without going out and having the experiences then would I be able to read Cyrillic writing? Would I be able to SCUBA dive? Would I know the basics of divorce in Islam? Would I know how Ganesh got his head? Would I know the rules of cockfighting? Would I have learned to appreciate the things you have at home and realise what things you can live without? Would I have known how to survive on less than £3 a day living in an opium den with no electricity for an entire week? Would I have learned how to deal with loneliness? The answer, I doubt it…

Tired of lying in the sunshine
Staying home to watch the rain
You are young and life is long
And there is time to kill today

From Sheffield to Sri Jayawardenapura Kotte, countless hours spent on trains, busses, boats and budget flights. I’ve been to some of the most spectacular places on earth, but yet, there is still so much more out there. Something that has made this trip so special for me, has been the people. Without the people then it really is just an, erm, lonely planet. To all our couch surfing hosts, thanks again for your amazing hospitably. To all the people who crossed my path and smiled, to all the Bangladeshis who shook my hand, asked my country and made me feel like a celebrity. Even the tribal boy in Agartla who smashed me over the head with a motorbike helmet after we thwarted his plan to scam us, and the spineless manager of a hotel in Haflong who robbed some money from our room, you all made the experience what it was, good or bad. What I learned from you people will stay with me forever, and I hope you can say the same about me. But you know what the best part of this epic odyssey was? To do it all as a team, with my best friend, the compadre.

And then the one day you find
Ten years have got behind you
No one told you when to run
You missed the starting gun

Someone once asked me if I thought my friends and life at home were boring, my honest answer? No I don’t. I’ve realised the people of the northeast are the most friendly and funny people on earth, the craic is second to none and I’m proud of where I come from. But you can never see the world for how beautiful it really is without sometimes leaving behind the things you love, no matter how hard that may be and I never want to regret the things in life I didn’t do. This is not the end of Likethewheels, consider it a clock that has just ticked over midnight, entering into a brand new day. Or like the finale of your favourite programme, hanging on a cliff edge. I hope you’ve all enjoyed my take on this intriguing world so far, stay tuned for more ramblings. Like the wheels that keep travellers traveling on, like the wheels that will take me home…

Home
Home again
I like to be here
When I can
When I come home
Cold and tired
It's good to warm my bones
Beside the fire

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The People…

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Competition – from the two collages above, which photo is the odd one out? Scroll down for the answer…

















If your hawk eye picked out Syed and Christian, Eastenders’ own homosexual star-crossed lovers in the first collage, well done. Give yourself a Blue Peter badge!

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