I’ve never thought that going home would be so important and so beneficial after the whole year of travelling. It really does bring you down to earth, gives you time to think and summarize your experiences and reset your mind in a way. You appreciate the stability, the food and all the little comforts like never before. Your own bed. Friends. Family. And even though 2 months weren’t enough at all, we knew that going home was the best decision we could have made.
It wasn’t as colourful I would have liked it to be, though. Neither the welcome, nor the circumstances I arrived in. I will never forget the moment I saw my grandma in the hospital. She cried when she saw me walking slowly in the corridor. She was happy I came but also ashamed I had to see her like this. She looked like a different person: 20 kg lighter and with bags under her eyes. It’s terrible to see what a disease can do to someone. We all took care of her, visiting her every day in the hospital so she was never alone. I tried to support my grandpa but I knew he was devastated as grandma every day was getting weaker. The second week I went to my hometown. The day we were going to see grandma again in Cracow with my mum the phone rang in the middle of the night. She was gone. I’ve always been scared of loosing someone close and that day I lost one of my dearest friends. In 2 days we organized everything for the funeral. Someone once said: if you wanna see what was someone’s life like, go to their funeral. And she had a good one. I’ve never seen so many people in the cemetery and I truly couldn’t imagine better goodbye for this wonderful woman.
As you can imagine the rest of my stay at home wasn’t as happy as I would have liked it to be. But there was a lot of other events that kept me away from negative thoughts. As my best friend (and cousin at the same time) was getting married, we had to make sure she had a memorable Bachelor party and wedding. She wasn’t lucky with the timing either (funeral season in our family?) but both parties worked out great and everyone had lots of fun, including Callum who was completely absorbed by a Polish food buffet (I don’t know if I ever mentioned how much he can eat??) and by escaping my drunken cousins.
The best part of my visit at home was seeing my little nieces (identical twins of my sister) for the first time. They were 5 months and they were the cutest little creatures I’ve ever seen. As my sister waited for my arrival, I had a chance to be a godmother of one of them when they were baptised. I was really sad I couldn’t spend as much time as I wanted with them but I had to share the time I had in Poland between many things. I started to apply for my Australian student visa (I wasn’t granted with working holiday one, the bastards) which was a huge pain in the ass and took a lot of my time. Thanks to my little personal manager (my brother) I was invited to our local school to talk about our travels. Although public speeches are not my cup of tea, it worked out much better than I thought. The kids were very excited, flooding me with a sea of questions and wide smiles when I was leaving. I wanted my presentation, despite showing a couple of cows and elephants, to be a message for them that everyone, even a kid from a tiny village like mine, can follow their dreams if they really want it. I always say that EVERYTHING IS POSSIBLE and I really hope I managed to inspire at least a few of them to be brave and use the opportunities the life brings to everyone like, I believe, I did.
The rest of my stay was passed by sharing my time between my family and friends and although I didn’t have much space for myself I managed to find time to rest and review the past year. Now, when I think about it, I would definitely do many things differently but in the end the amount of lessons I’ve learnt about myself and about the world was priceless. In Poland I finally had time to process and absorb all of them and use the knowledge I gained for the future. It’s crazy how many things can happen in one year… You think you’re gonna be back soon and nothing will change and then suddenly you come back and everything is different. Now, when I know how long a year can be it’s even more difficult to leave again… But although I would have happily spend the rest of the year with my ass in bed being fed by my mother’s pork chops, the decision was already made: in 2 months we were going to Australia where we would start another chapter of our journey.