People come and go. It’s something you learn as you get older. But for travelers, that happens at a highly accelerated rate. By the time you’ve reached your third or fourth country, you’ve gotten pretty good with your “hellos” and “good-byes”…but every once in a while, there will be the one that tears you apart inside. No, I’m not talking about boys here (although there will be plenty of those too!) but saying goodbye to your soulmate female counterpart is just as heart-wrenching.
I remember saying goodbye to the first female friend I made while traveling. Her name was Elke, and she’s a beautiful, sassy Aussie! We were inseparable from the moment we met. Drunken nights, pool days, and talks of boys filled our hours together. I even rented a room in the same complex (one room away from her!) just so we could be close to each other. There were late nights sitting by the pool, talking about life and where it might take us. We talked about silly ideas that we knew would never come to fruition. We bonded.
A couple weeks later…it happened. Then inevitable. She had to return to Australia to continue working. We both knew it was coming, but I wasn’t prepared for heartbreak like this. My friend, my confidant was leaving. No longer could I walk to her room hungover in the morning and crawl into bed, order food, and watch movies with her. My days of counting on someone to have my back when we went out to sketchy Kuta nightclubs…GONE!
I remember both of us packing our things with the doors to our rooms wide open, sobbing with no control. (As us women are known to do from time to time). There it was. My first real goodbye as a traveler. There were promises to visit, as there always are, but our adventures together had come to an end.
Of course it’s easier now with facebook, instagram, and all of the other social media sites keeping us connected. But it will still never be call-your-girlfriend-from-next-door-to-kill-a-bug-for-you close. And yes, goodbyes since then have gotten a little easier. More countries, more people, plenty of practice saying goodbye. But each time, you also say goodbye to who you are; who you were in that moment. Goodbye means thank you.
Thank you for the lessons you taught me, and the time that we shared.
Thank you for helping me learn myself.
Thank you for your part in my journey.