Alex Batty has revealed he has started dating and that he plans to get a tattoo after going missing for six years with his mother and grandfather.
The teenager, who went missing when he was 11, was found in France in December having reportedly been living a nomadic lifestyle with “no friends and no social life”.
A criminal investigation was launched by Greater Manchester Police into his alleged child abduction shortly after he returned to the UK.
Both his mother Melanie Batty and grandfather David Batty are reportedly still on the run following his shock reappearance.
Alex, who turns 18 on Tuesday, has been readapting to British life and told the Mirror he has been on several dates since his return from isolation.He told the newspaper: “I’m talking to someone at the moment. I want to get a decent job so that when I get a wife and kids, they won’t have to worry about money like I did.
“It feels really good to be back.
“I’ve had a lot of new experiences. Pretty much everything is a new experience at the moment. I don’t miss much about being in France or Spain. None of it was good.
“The only thing I miss is that because we were so isolated, I could listen to music blasting while singing along to it and no one would be bothered by it.”
Alex is also planning on getting his first tattoo. He said: “I’m thinking of getting a rose tattooed under my left ear. But I might get something in a more hidden area for job purposes.”
The teenager explained he has already had a boozy night celebrating his return, explaining that vodka and lemonades left him with a three-day hangover.
Alex has said his mother “did it out of love” and added that it feels good to be back in Britain.
He explained Melanine, 43, and David, 64, will not risk contacting him for fear of giving away where they are while facing the international child abduction probe.
Speaking about his disappearance Alex said: “Mum did what she did out of love. It’s what she thought was best and that’s all you can really do, isn’t it?
“She and my grandad did it with the best intentions. I know they’re not going to get in contact. They’re definitely not going to risk it.
“If they get in contact, it’ll be when they’re 100 percent sure they’re all right. They won’t rush it for my birthday.
“I hope the police don’t find them. I love them both but if I don’t see them again it’s not a big deal. You can love someone and not talk to them.”
The teenager added that his mother will probably be angry that he left and that she may be angry that he did not listen to her.
He continued: “If I could speak to them both now, I would just say, ‘I hope you’re all right’ and tell them I’m all right.”
Alex went missing in 2017 after Melanie and David failed to return him from a holiday abroad.
They began an “alternative” nomadic lifestyle moving around Spain and France.
The teenager – who is now under the legal guardianship of his grandmother Susan Caruana in Oldham, Greater Manchester – said his mother was “anti-government, anti-vax” whose catchphrase was “becoming a slave to the system”.
Alex added he is readapting to British life and has started a computer programming course.
The teenager, who went by the name Zack Edwards, says he still thinks in French and that he has felt old socialising with young people after being isolated from other children and not attending school for six years.
He explained he calls people his own age “kids” as he has spent all his time since he was 11 talking to adults.
Alex added: “It’s engraved in me. It still doesn’t feel real that I’m back. It’s still not really sunk in. I think it’ll probably hit me sometime soon, but it hasn’t yet.”
He lived in 15 different places during the six year period abroad and said he made just one friend his own age, a Spanish girl he met in a cafe.
The Mirror reports that he initially misled French police, claiming he had been walking for four days, to cover up Melanie and David’s whereabouts. He also falsely claimed David had died six months earlier.
He has since been interviewed by British officers.
When asked about his future Alex said he dreams of becoming a computer software engineer.