The Long Journey Home: A travel log and other stories

Well friends, it’s that time of year again. Semester one has (pretty much) come and gone, and we’re on the move again.  It’s a long journey from Edinburgh to Hong Kong, so I thought I’d kill some time by writing a little travel log and share some of my Christmas memories from the past four years.

15:38: Edinburgh Airport

Coming to you from the Cafe Nero at the airport, one eye on the screen and one eye on the departures board. It’s been a hectic morning packing and doing some last minute laundry (I hate returning to a pile of dirty clothes), giving my houseplants one last drink of water, but all is good. I’ve made it to the airport early enough to polish off my last essay and turn it in (pun intended).

I had my last exam (probably ever) on Thursday. Unfortunately I didn’t get to sit it in McEwan Hall like one of my friends did, but even so, it’s a real thrill. I have never been one for exams so it’s good to know that it’s just assignments for me next semester (my hand just gets so tired!). Four years since my first exam diet in Edinburgh- I still remember vivdly the horror on my flatmate’s face when she realised that she missed her exam because she had gotten the time mixed up (exam season do: triple check your exam details).

And my gate has just been announced, looks like all is on time despite the ominous storm clouds. See you in Paris!

20:58: Paris CDG

Killing the layover by staring at the Dior perfume commercials with a latte (not the best shout but the Starbucks ran out of ice and I panicked). My long haul flights essentials are a pair of good headphones, face cream, a phone charger, and a face mask (it makes the recycled air a bit warmer and more humid if your nose gets irritated by the dryness).

I transferred via Paris the first time I came to study in Edinburgh, and I’ve not been back since. It’s quite a nostalgic feeling, I still remember the security layout, the red carpets at the departure gates, jittery nerves mixed with red-eye flight exhaustion.

It is strange to think that this will have been the last time we put up our cheap little Christmas tree that my flatmates lugged back from B&M. Its travelled with us all over Edinburgh, found its corner in multiple living rooms. Last Christmas we spent with my flatmate Hope’s family. It was my first proper Christmas, with lights and presents and potatoes galore. We finished it off by going to the Edinburgh Hogmanay street party, and it really is world-famous for a reason (although my memories are jaded somewhat because I lost my purse that night – definite festive season do not). If you and your friends are up for it, it really is worth it to spend at least one New Year in Edinburgh.

From the first year archives

When I come back in January, the tree will probably have been taken down; Princes Street Gardens will no longer be packed with stalls and crowds. Who knows where I’ll be next Christmas. I could never have expected that my time in Edinburgh would lead me to where I am now, to the amazing friendships I’ve made, to the person I’ve grown into.

This is me signing off until next year. Happy holidays everyone, and safe travels wherever you’re headed!