Many people have asked me how I could just leave my job and seemingly travel perpetually. How can I afford it? How do you find places to stay for free all the time? How do you find places to volunteer? All questions I’ve received by email, and now I’m sharing the secrets in a series of posts about how The Happy Nomad Tour Rolls and what things are like behind the scenes.
Saying goodbye is a part of traveling. First, you say goodbye to your home. Then, if you travel to one place, you say goodbye to this new place and the new friends you met there.
In my case, as a perpetual traveler, I have to say goodbye all the time.
As with everything in life, it gets easier with experience. And, admittedly, before this trip I had a few very different lives I had to say goodbye to.
When I started this adventure, it meant saying goodbye to my parents. Translation: it meant breaking my mom’s heart for the millionth time. As she cried at the airport, I was as upbeat and positive as possible. I wasn’t faking it. I was excited! But of course it’s sad to say goodbye to family, and it’s equally wonderful to surprise them when you come home unannounced for Christmas. 🙂
A few weeks after leaving, after spending a couple weeks in Leon, Mexico I had to say goodbye to say goodbye to Marcela and her family. I remember telling her that I’m bad at goodbyes. I think that goodbye was the last time I said “I’m bad at goodbyes.”
I didn’t know what to say. How do you communicate to someone how much you have appreciated their kindness, hospitality, and positivity? How do you say you wish it could continue for longer, but realistically it needs to end now?
It’s kind of impossible. Add in the fact that my Spanish was terrible at that time and it becomes twice as impossible.
It’s been 16 months since that goodbye, months full of similar such special connections to people and families. And saying goodbye isn’t so hard anymore.
What has changed?
The amazing people haven’t, neither have the amazing experiences. It’s me who has changed. I think I’m just more comfortable being in my own skin now. When saying goodbye, I don’t feel the need to drown the other party in compliments and praise. Of course, I do compliment and praise them. But I’m confident that my actions have spoken louder than my words.
Yes, confidence plays a big role here. I no longer fear that the other party doesn’t realize how much I appreciate them. I no longer fear that they think I’m an ingrate. Instead, I positively thank them and sincerely hope we’ll meet again in the future – an attitude that cuts across all cultures.
I think I used to overkill the goodbye. Now I feel like there’s a healthy trust between the other party and me. It’s like the goodbye adds to our connection and deepens the relationship instead sheepishly hoping everything is ok.
I also realize that the world is a small place and this might not be goodbye forever. Even if it is, it’s never been easier to stay in touch electronically.
I don’t fear goodbyes anymore. I don’t look forward to them either, but I’ve made peace with them. 🙂