With their six week safari in South Africa now over, British & Irish Lions hero Tommy Bowe is looking forward to lying back on a beach in the next few weeks and taking in the enormity of what he has achieved over the past 12 months.
The Ospreys wing ran in a vital try in the Grand Slam decider against Wales in March to help clinch Ireland's first championship clean sweep in 61 years and then earned selection for the British & Irish Lions.
He started with a bang on tour in South Africa, scoring four tries in the build up to the Test series, and became one of the automatic picks for the three internationals. Not only that, he became one of only five players to start each game against the Springboks.
"Thinking back 12 months I never dreamed I would be in the Lions squad, never mind playing in three Tests. The craic in the changing room after the game was right up there with winning the Grand Slam with Ireland," said Bowe.
"Winning last weekend was a great way to finish what has been a very long season. Now I'm looking forward to reflecting on the year sitting in a deck chair soaking up the sun.
"Losing the series is a huge disappointment, but we are looking at the tour as a success off the pitch. I've got friends for life from this tour and it's the best craic I've ever been a part of on a rugby tour.
"The coaches and management set the tone and the atmosphere, but it was down to the players to do the bonding and the team spirit was tremendous."
Bowe became such a vital part of the Lions' threequarter line that head coach Ian McGeechan had no qualms in switching him from the wing to outside centre for the final Test when both Brian O'Driscoll and Jamie Roberts were unavailable.
By the end of the game he was joined by Ospreys team mate Mike Phillips in the midfield, although he has no thoughts of trying to extend the partnership next season.
"That was the second time on tour that Mike and I had teamed up in the centre. We did it against the Golden Lions for a short while as well," said Bowe.
"But I don't think we'll be asking our club coaches to keep us there when we get home."
One thing Bowe is looking forward to, however, when the new seasons opens is having another crack at John Smit's world champion Springboks when they come to the UK and Ireland in November. Having got so close to them in the first two Tests, and then won the third, Bowe believes the Grand Slammers can have a pop at them at Croke Park.
"We were 100 per cent confident coming into the game that we could win it and we owed it to all the Lions supporters in South Africa and back home," said Bowe.
"We could have been 2-0 up in the series, but instead we went into the final Test needing to win one game. It was very important for us to gain any bit of respect we could.
"To pick ourselves up for that last match was incredible after what had happened in the last seconds in Pretoria in the second Test. We had been so close in the other two matches and it would have been such a disappointment if we had come away with no wins.
"Paul and the other leaders in the squad really geed us up in the last couple of days and we knew this was our opportunity and we had to take it.
"It was hard work out there but I enjoyed it. Coming up with a victory put smiles on everyone's faces and means we can go home with our heads held high.
"I think we proved there is not quite as big a gulf as they think down here. I hope to be involved with Ireland when South Africa come up in November and I think we can give them a run for their money."