It also makes everything worthwhile, but that's a story for another post.
One of the hardest things about moving overseas was leaving my friends. (Oh, and my family. Hi, Mum.) And now, one of the hardest things about going home will be leaving my friends. I thought about this on the tube this afternoon as I left my friend Ian after a day visiting the Tate Britain and the Globe Theatre. Ian is an American studying in Denmark, and we've met up whenever we've been in each other's adopted cities. (I want his and he wants mine - stupid visas.) I'm sure I'll see him again, but it'll be years before either of us has the cash to visit each other in our home countries. But in addition to Ian, I'll be leaving behind friends scattered across Britain and Europe, not to mention Australian friends who moved to London around the time I did.
But ah well. That's life, right? This is what is great and terrible about travel: it lets you experience people and places you never imagined, and then makes you miss them for the rest of your life.
At least I live in the age of Facebook. (Again, hi, Mum. Stop being such a creepy stalker.)
I've spent the last few weeks packing up my life. Man, I accrued a lot of shit. I arrived in this country with just a backpack and its contents. I am departing with just that backpack, but I am storing a candy-striped bag full of clothes at a friend's place, and donated two garbage bags full of clothes to charity. That was a good exercise - I'm a hopeless hoarder, and having to throw shit out was very good for me.
I also finished work, which was sad, but necessary. A story leaked to the media a few weeks ago about the BBC cutting its online activity, so it made no sense for them to renew my contract when the department would be downsized and, let's be honest, one of the first against the wall. It was great getting a chance to work at the BBC, but at the end of the day, it was a content production job, and I'm just not passionate about that. I need to figure out what to do with my life when I get home, which is a little terrifying.
But in the meantime, I've got some countries to see!
I haven't made any of the day trips or seen as many of the remaining museums and such that I'd planned to visit, but I plan to be back for a few weeks in July, so I can catch up then. I'm staying with my friend Alice for a few days and am heading to Cardiff on Sunday. I've told people who have been to Cardiff and, when I mention I'll be there two nights, they say, "Huh. Good luck filling all that time."
Uh oh. I'm sure I'll be fine: Cardiff has a great-looking castle, I go nuts for the Welsh language and I'm seeing Cerys Matthews (formerly of Catatonia) on Monday night.