Tuk to the Road

The trials and tukulations of Jo, Ants and Ting Tong the tuk tuk and our three-wheeled odyssey from Bangkok to Brighton...in aid of the mental health charity Mind. For more information please see www.tuktotheroad.com

Sunday, September 10, 2006

The post-tukking twilight zone

The Unthank Arms, Norwich, Norfolk, UK

The worst thing about doing something like drive 20,453 km in a tuk tuk is having to step out at the end and return to the real world. Jo and I both knew it would be hard, that after 16 weeks away from home Reality would be a hard concept to grasp....and we were right. We've been back a week now and everything still feels strange. I keep thinking about all that's happened since we left Bangkok in May, all those dusty roads we've travelled, and I can't get my head round it. It feels like a dream. Even odder is the fact that everyone always says, 'Oh nothing will have changed when you get back, everyone will be doing the same thing still'. But since I left home on May 14 three of my friends have got pregnant, one has got married, three family friends have died and my sister has split up with her long term boyfriend. So some things do change. Seeing my friends getting hitched and pregnant scares me somewhat, I feel as if everyone is growing up and settling down and I'm still behaving like an adolescent and galavanting round the world on three-wheels. But then life is what you make it and for the moment the three-wheeled path is the one I have chosen.

Now back to last Sunday.

Driving those last 30 km to Brighton was dreamlike. Neither Jo or I could really believe that we had done it, and we were both really worried about having a crash in the very final stages. I felt very emotional driving the last stretch from Lewes to Brighton, so aware that the greatest adventure of my life so far was about to come to an abrupt halt. For the last few km we were escorted into town by two of the new Brighton tuc tuc taxis (the CNG ones that have been all over the press this summer). The three of us tukked into Brighton and along the seafront beep beep beeping with lots of people waving and shoouting things like 'Are you the ones from Asia?' Our official finish line was in Bartholomew Square and as we rounded the corner into the square all our families and friends ran out, jumping up and down, waving, squealing, shouting and generally looking quite happy that we had actually made it. The next hour was most surreal; driving through a pink ribbon, saying hello to everyone, being greeted by the Mayor, Jo's ferrets appearing - cue tears - interviews with the BBC, the Argus, the EDP, lots of photos being taken. Then it was time for the PUB, where much champagne was drunk and lots of hugs and kisses dispensed. The PUB was followed by supper at, appropriately, a Thai restaurant, which was followed by a club. By the latter stages the numbers had dwindled to the faithful few; my sister, my cousins, my boyfriend, my wonderful friend Charlie (who had flown all the way from Scotland), and a few mates from Norfolk. All I can say is that at 5 a.m Charlie, my sister and my boyfriend were dancing on podiums at The Zap Club and a helluva lot of champagne had been consumed. Needless to say our 8 a.m radio interview with BBC Southern Counties was a little bleary eyed.

At 1 a.m the next night, after my Pa had decided to take the scenic route from Brighton to Norfolk, I eventually made it HOME, to my own bed, which after 16 weeks away was ODD.

Its now a week later and I feel as if I'm only just coming round and realising that we are back and that life has to go on. There are all those dull things like tax returns, bills and dodgy cars to sort out, plus scary questions to address like what comes next. London, Norfolk or some far off land??? Life is never simple.

Got to dash...having a pint now. More soon xx


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