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Nearly home!

With only two full days remaining here in China this will be my last mass mail to you all, so on be half of myself I'd like to thank you for reading what I have had to say and for supporting me in so many ways. When I return and get to meet up with you all at various stages (except those who I will be leaving in China) I will no doubt be able to fill you in on many of the things that I have been unable to in these letters. Plus find the coupon at the bottom of this email to claim your free* meal with me for further details.

Back to business: I recently returned to Beijing by train from Guilin for the last stop before I fly home. A very enjoyable 27 hour journey where I met two girls backpacking from Singapore and Japan, who spoke English and an old Beijing couple (whom the girls translated). I discovered a very different attitude from many of the young people I've chatted to.

I leave on the morning of Tuesday 28th, which is in fact the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival. Now had I really got my act together I would have realised this and flown back a day later as I will sadly miss the festivities (though thankfully will miss the moon cakes!). The place is already getting ready with thousands of special moon cake stalls popping up in every conceivable location and I hope some of the celebrations will begin a little early.

I now feel about ready to return to the little country that it turns out I'm actually quite fond of. This feeling is quite a surprise and definitely a gift - two months on the road is quite tiring (kudos to you folks who go for months on end**). I really have had a fantastic experience, seen so much, met so many people and made new friends - just last night I sang and slept on the Great Wall! This country is one quite staggering place, and one huge place too but one which I will miss and no doubt return to again.

This time away from life in England has taught me so much (I don't mean all the 'finding myself' stuff); it has been a realise from work and some of my pain from the previous year; a time when I have refreshed completely my relationship with Doug, his son and the book he wrote; an eye opener to the way of life of people here and an adventure that will stay with me for my whole life. Next time however I've got get someone to share it with :)

Well that was a bit of a pause for thought rather than interesting letter, but that's what you get with me - nothing normal. Thanks again for all your support, especially through Doug.

Love Nick

* no, really.