The downside of a life of travel – Saying Goobye
When I left for this indefinite trip and imagined my life of travel I envisaged exotic countries of glittering temples, chaotic cites, palm fringed beaches and steamy jungles. I looked forward to meeting local people and learning more about their lifestyle, culture, religion and traditions and meeting other like minded fellow travelers along the way. Whilst I knew that I would miss my family and friends back home I never realised that traveling meant I would have to say so many goodbyes, be touched by so many people and that it was possible to miss so many people, places and moments in time.
The Kindness of Strangers
Throughout my journey I have been constantly surprised and amazed by the kindness of strangers, by people’s friendliness and ability to open up and help a stranger and how quickly friendships can be formed on the road and how quickly I can become attached to a place.
From thanking a stranger in Mumbai who had gone out of her way to help us cross the chaotic roads and find our hotel, to a eagerly anticipated reunion and the following goodbyes to friends in Pune and having to leave all too soon after enjoying the love, music, colour and laughter of an Indian wedding anniversary party in Khajuraho. I didn’t realise I would miss India so much, miss the wandering cows, the bright swish of a sari, the wafts of sandalwood and Bollywood music through the air and the chaos, noise and magic of India.
My determination to travel now! meant I said good bye to my boyfriend for a few months while our paths took us to different countries. But traveling solo you quickly make friends and now I miss the Canadian couple who befriended me on my first few weeks of solo travel among the glittering temples, warm turquoise seas and crazy nightlife of Thailand. I had to say goodbye to the friends I traveled around diverse Malaysia with and the so many friendly locals that I met in the multi cultural cities and historical towns.
Falling in Love with Cambodia
I loved Cambodia , I felt at home there and also found it hard to say goodbye to this beautiful country and the amazing, friendly and genuine people we met there and the community we started to feel part of in sleepy, delightfully dilapidated Kampot and on the rustic island of Koh Rong. And in Vietnam, there were more goodbyes to be said and I will be eternally grateful for the kindness of strangers show to me by a poor family who took us in, fed us and gave us a bed for the night in their wooden shack when we were lost while motorbiking through rural Vietnam.
Reunited in Australia
In Australia, up in Port Douglas I met more awesome Canadians who brightened up my time there with job hunting advice and wild beach parties under the full moon. Then my best friend and I drove from Cairns to Sydney in a camper van together. We barreled down the highway in fits of laughter and explored glorious Sydney only to wave her off at the airport a week afterwards.
Part of the community in Queensland
In Queensland, Australia, I took a leap of faith and accepted a job 12hrs away to work and live in a rural country pub with no public transport or way of leaving. I arrived not knowing anyone and slightly intimidated by the remoteness but working behind the bar I quickly became right at the heart of the close knit, rural, cane farming community where I came to know everyone and everything that went on. I became especially close to the Indian couple that also worked and lived there only to up have to say sad goodbyes and leave 3 months later.
The hardest goodbye
After being apart for more than a year, I was so excited to introduce my mother to Asia, to show her why I love this region of the world so much and spend so much time there. We met first in Singapore and then relaxed on the Indonesian island of Bali. But then the hardest goodbye came while dropping my Mum off at the airport after such a fantastic reunion.
Arriving as a stranger, leaving as friends
When you take a leap of faith, you may arrive as a stranger, alone in a foreign land, but always end up leaving with new friends and treasured memories, having learnt about different places and way of life.
The last 18 months of travel has taught me so much, about myself and about the world, about fear and faith and most importantly that people, and the world, are inherently good.
So many places, amazing experiences and people I am so fortune to met but so many goodbyes.
So even though there are many goodbyes, the journey must go on as there are just more friends and memories waiting to be made.