I left Santiago just after mid night on the 25th of Dec and arrived back in Auckland at 4:30 am on the 26th December. A 13 hour flight, and losing a day in the time zone change – which meant I completely missed Christmas Day!
The flight was not better or worse than any other long haul flight. I was a bit worried about making my connecting flight to Wellington due to the luggage belt breaking down delaying the bags coming off, and MAF inspecting my bike and fumigating my tent etc. The domestic terminal was busy and it took ages to get my bike box checked into oversize luggage, but thankfully I got to the boarding gate in time.
We had perfect weather and great views from the plane. When I got to Wellington my daughters Kelly, Shellbe and Lizzy were there to met me with my grandchildren Xavier and Lucy. I was not sure how Xavier and Lucy would react, given that six months is a long time in a small child’s life, but they were both delighted to see me.
Then it was home for family celebrations 🍴🍷. My family had stocked up on my favourite food and wine 👧👩👩👦 My house was sparkling clean and the section had had a good clean up as well (there had been a working bee a couple of weeks before I got home organized by my son Daniel). Even Benji had had a bath and was wearing a Christmas ribbon 😀😀😀😄. I felt very spoilt.
So almost 6 months later, I am back home. A kaleidoscope of memories of stunning sights and sounds in my head. It has been an epic adventure, and mentally and physically it is the second hardest thing I have ever done. The first of course, as any parent knows, is parenting!
As a close friend told me during the trip, looking back it is the things we achieve that were hardest that we value the most.
So until the next adventure “Ciao amigos”.