As the plane touched down at Heathrow Airport on a bright morning in late May 1994, I wasn't even sure how I was going to get back up to Lancashire. I had no money that was for sure. If I'd been faced with that situation a few years earlier I would have most likely been overwhelmed by the enormity of my problem. But given the journey I'd just undertaken, with all its trials and tribulations, it seemed like anything was possible. I'd travelled thousands of miles with a backpack of old clothes as my only possessions. Even without money the 250 miles or so back to my parents house seemed like a walk in the park.
I emerged through the arrivals gate to be greeted by a fanfare of music. The source of this was a jazz band who paraded through the airport welcoming new arrivals into the country. I stopped for a moment to listen. Let's face it, I had nothing better to do, and I wasn't exactly in a rush. As I stood there watching, a familiar voice bellowed out through crowds behind me.
"There he is!" my mum shouted.
I turned around to be confronted by my mum, dad and sister.
"What are you doing here?" I called out with genuine confusion in my voice.
"We've come to take you home love," my mum replied, as she clung to me for dear life.
My grandma had only gone and blown our birthday conversation totally out of proportion. According to her, I'd been battered, buggered and bewitched. For the past two weeks since the call my family had drastically been trying to locate me. My sister had rung up all the possible airlines and despite hitting constant brick walls of confidentiality she'd managed to find what flight I was going to be on.
I jumped in the back of the car and we headed north to Lancashire. On the way up the M6 motorway I looked out of the window at the patchwork green fields, and I shed a tear. I'd forgotten how just how green and beautiful England really was. I'd just had the time of my life but it felt good to be home.