travelling:Four months after my Australia trip, Guy rang me and announced he was in Europe and wanted to see me. We had spoken a few times on the phone and online in those four months, but nothing serious had happened, and I certainly did not know he had any plans to come to Europe. As you can imagine, I was very shocked when he asked me i f he could stay with me. What a strange boy, I thought, but how in the hell could I say no after I had had such an amazing time in Sydney ? I later found out that I had said to him, in a very British way,‘ When are you coming to visit?‘ I don‘t even remember saying it. Of course, in Britain, we say stuff like that all the time out of politeness , but we don‘t actually mean it. In Australia (and maybe the rest of the world), of course, that is an open invitation to turn up at someone‘s house any time you want. During our five-year relationship, I had a number of similar experiences, which, i f nothing else, has taught me that British people are far too polite.

As I picked him up from our local train station (when I say local , it was an hour‘s dri ve from my parent‘s house in very rural Britain), we instantly rekindle d our friendship. Although I did still find him a little annoying, I also found him to be a great friend. We spent two weeks together, and I showed him around the UK, much like my family had showed m e around Sydney. At the time, I was on my gap year before Uni versity and had three jobs. By the time he left, and after a lot of late ni ghts, weekend adventures and numerous trips to here, there and everywhere, I had zero jobs. I was havi ng a great time!

However, after a number of small arguments  and some bickering, he left and carried on his backpacking around Europe. At the time, I was sad that he left and even more upset when we l ost touch for four years.

Duri ng that time, I went to Uni versity. Th at was probably on e of the best times of my life. I was single and spent my days and nights socialising and enjoy ing my freedom. After Uni versity, much to my parent‘s horror, I decided not to settle down and get a job but to go travelli ng again , like I had promised myself. My first stop was Hong Kong, and I spent a week there by myself.  Of course, bei ng alone, I was extremely hom esick at first and felt terribly lonely (somethi ng I am now all too famili ar with), but the feeling soon passed, and I began to appreciate how huge, di verse and beautiful the worl d truly was.

After Hong Kong, I travelled Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore with a tour group for a mont h.  It was so lovely to have som e company with likeminded people. I can honestly say the trip was amazing, I loved everything about it and the peopl e. After South East Asia, I flew to Cairns in Australia and met up with a very good friend that I had gone to school with. We spent fi ve am azing m onths travelling down the coast to Sydney toget her.

Travelling:Once we got to Sydney, my lovely friend left for Perth, but I decided to stay. I was supposed to stay for two weeks, but in a standard backpacker way , I loved Sydney so much I ended up staying for

twel ve mont hs. I moved into a share apartment with four of the nicest men you coul d ever wish to meet and a very lovely girl. After a few months, I was supposed to meet up with my extended Australian family that I had met years before for lunch on e Sunday. On the Saturday night, I di d what you shoul d never do when goi ng out with your family the next day; I went out and got very drunk with a girl who I worked with.

Travelling:My family were due to pick me up at midday  on the Sunday for our l unch date. At 11.30am that Sunday morni ng, I rolled over with complet ely no memory past 11pm. To my horror, I was not at home but in bed with a man whom I had never met before—i n his bed, God knows where. As I woke up with an almighty headache, I rem ember thinking, ‗God, I hope I‘m in Sydney.‘ Looking back, I think the man may have been marri ed. As soon as I woke up, and we had had sex (I assume for the second time, but I couldn‘t be sure ), he couldn‘t wait to get ri d of m e. He was either married, or I was very bad in bed.

Travelling:Although I was stressed out to the max that morning, I did take just twenty seconds in the bathroom to smile to myself and mentally tick off ‗one-night stand‘ from my ‗50 ways to be a Backpacker‘ list that I had created i n my head. Aft er rushing around and feeling like I was going to vomit at any mom ent, I could not find my shoes anywhere, so I decided to abandon them in the hope that the man would take pity on me and dri ve me home so that I could still make my lunch date. I had this image in my head of my extended family phoni ng my mum and dad in the UK and announcing that I had stood them up, presum ably bec ause I was a slutty little backpacker who couldn‘t keep her legs together. I had to make that lunch date!

Travelling:Of course, the man did offer m e a lift, but only as far as the city. I must have been really bad in bed, I thought to myself! I had to do the walk of shame barefoot, in a very short tight bl ack dress , for fi ve whol e blocks. I still, to this day, have no idea where my shoes went that ni ght. The looks I got from the Sydney-siders I passed that morning were of disgust and pity. I can imagi ne I looked like a homel ess prostitute striding through the streets of Sydney that morning, like I hadn‘t a shower in weeks and hadn‘t slept in my own bed for a very long time. What is more, to be perfectly honest, that‘s a bit how I felt. Also, bear in mi nd that I had been backpacking for over six months already and had put on twenty lbs, so I was a little, if not a lot, overweight. As my phone beeped, my heart sank, and I knew I woul d never m ake lunch. My family li ved an hour away , so it was way too late to cancel or postpone the lunch.

Travelling:But luck was on my side; they were lost.  I thought quickly and texted them back with directions, which may have been slightly incorrect. That would hopefully buy me some time, I thought to myself. When I finally arri ved home, I got the Spanish inquisition from my housem ates , but I really just didn‘t have the time. They were all so shocked that one, I had stayed out all night and two, had had a one-night stand! I wish I had had time to stand there and soak in their shock and admi ration, but I defi nitely did not. At 12.25pm, I step ped outside my apartment block , looking surprisingly acceptable, and had a lovely lunch that ultimately  changed my life. Sometimes I wonder what would have happened if I had

woken up an hour earlier and cancelled lunch that day , and then just gone to bed like my whole body begged me to.

‗Never regret anything because at one time it was exactly what you want ed.‘ — Unknown

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