Sunset in Hoi An - back in the UK after 2 years of full time travel digital nomad family

You know you’ve been in South East Asia too long when…

Suewan Kemp Destinations 1 Comment

We are back in the UK.

It’s two years since we left. And after 14 long hours from Singapore, we are back on British soil. It is both wonderful and awkward being home. As we were walking around the streets of Barnes (London) and reflecting on being home, we realised some strange things about being back.

  1. We can drink water from the tap. We’ve had to buy filtered water/bottled water for a long time and I kind of forgot that you can drink the water from the tap in England! It’s amazing! And something we take for granted.
  2. I can put toilet paper in the toilet. This differs in each country but for the past 6 weeks in Vietnam we had to put toilet paper in a separate bin.
  3. On the subject of toilets – there aren’t “bumwashes” everywhere. Okay, a “bumwash” isn’t a real word – pretty sure we made that up. I think they’re called bidets? Or a bum spray? Anyway, in South East Asia “bumwashes” are really common. For the first year of travel I shunned them because I thought they were too weird. However, I am a changed woman now and believe “bumwashes” are the way forward. You see, travel changes you!
  4. Singapore efficiency is astounding compared to the UK. We were only there for two days but the speed and efficiency of getting in and out of an airport is incredible. All the small things like finding a taxi, navigating around new places, checking into a hotel etc were very, very smooth. Then we arrived back in the UK and of course the immigration check at Gatwick took about an hour. The immigration officer literally walked away from his desk and the 100 or so waiting passengers just had to wait for him to come back. Then getting to the car rental was like walking through a long, complicated and unnecessarily difficult maze….
  5. It’s expensive. We just had a very nice lunch out in a local coffee shop in London and it cost us just over £40. It was very hard to spend £40 on one meal in Vietnam/Thailand/Malaysia. We are going to have to be more careful here.
  6. We can cross the road without fear! British road users tend to obey the rules. There are zebra crossings, traffic lights and no-one is beeping to let you know they are there.
  7. It’s all grey. It’s March so it’s to be expected but the grey, dull weather is a bit of a downer compared to the sunshine of Vietnam. Still, we somehow managed to avoid the snow and freezing cold of the Beast from the East. Phew.
Grey photo of a street in England - return to the UK after 2 years of full time travel

Its all so grey!

  1. I understand everyone! It’s a relief to be able to be fully understood and not have to guess at what people are trying to tell me.
  2.  Custard! We had pudding with custard for lunch. How have we coped for 2 years without it???
  3. There are kids menus in restaurants. I’m not sure this is a good thing. It’s great that restaurants cater to kids here, however why are all the kids options the same?
  4. Every time you do some shopping, you get asked if you’ve got some reward card or the other. No. No we don’t. Nectar points count for nothing when you’re buying meat on a stick in a small village in Vietnam.

We’ve been home for 24 hours now and overall it is a lovely feeling to be home. We are able to appreciate England much more now that we’ve been away for so long. And our friends and family have been so welcoming and made our transition back to the UK much more comfortable than we could have hoped for. (Thanks Jay & Alice, Beck & Ernest, Nathan & Joy).

We wrote about the strange things we’ve learnt from full time travel in an earlier post.

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