A Birthday Surprise in England

Last week was a special week. It was both my Dad and sister’s birthdays. When I began travelling in December I only intended to backpack around Southeast Asia for 6 months. Fast forward exactly 6 months to the day, and here I am, still in Asia. So with a return ticket that was soon running out I decided I didn’t want to waste it. I paid for a single ticket back to Hanoi from England and then hopped on a plane to Birmingham to surprise my family for their birthdays. Oh boy were they surprised.

This time last week I arrived in Wolverhampton in England to a cooling 20 degrees. As I write I’m sitting on the rooftop of my new apartment in Hanoi. It’s a scorching 40 degrees out here and I’m getting absolutely baked! It’s so hot that the air-con inside doesn’t work, and the fan is just blowing around hot air – making it even more unbearable to stay indoors. So it looks like I’ll just have to get used to this heat and make the most out of sunbathing.

Anyway after stepping off the plane in Birmingham Airport I was greeted by one of my high school best friends, Serena. She was in on the surprise and had kindly offered to pick me up from the airport.

As we left the airport I’d never felt so appreciative of the air in England. No dusty roads and no air pollution. I closed my eyes, breathed in the fresh, clean air and listened to the none existent sound of motorbike horns honking. Oh it felt good to be back on home soil.
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So we drove back to my parents house, my family home and we after checking (through my brother-in-law, who had been keeping the whole surprise a secret), we sneakily made our way to the front door. Serena walked down the driveway path while I crept through my neighbours garden and hid around the side of the front door.

We rang the bell. My mom answered the door to Serena – I quickly jumped up from around the corner screaming “SURPRISE”.

My whole family were in shock. My mom, dad, sister, brother-in-law, I’d like to say my nephew Neel was as well, but he was too busy watching videos of himself on the laptop. (It’s a strange thing he likes to do, I’ll explain it in a later post).

The whole surprise video was recorded… but somehow when I went to update my iPhone it got deleted. It’s a shame because the looks on my families faces were just priceless!

Despite the lack of video here are a few photos that didn’t get deleted or destroyed from my phone. To my family: thank you for a fun week at home. It was great to see those shocked and surprised faces when I walked through the door. Don’t miss me too much, it’ll be Christmas before you know it and I’ll be back for the holidays!

Now I’m off to take an ice cold shower to cool down.



Current location: Sweating and blogging away from my rooftop balcony.





  1. Was soo good to see you even if it was brief ! You’ve done amazingly well ! Never thought you’d settle for backpacking ! Especially when I used to see the fear in your face when my 3 where young and I made u hold them ! Remembering u sweating and squirming when they’d wriggle ! To see u now achieveing all your dreams is amazing ! Carry on and come see us again soon !! (PS at least I sorted your next camping buddy out ! )
    Love you ! Xx

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