It has been almost two years since I’ve been travelling (updated October 2016) after quitting my job and having decided to live like a nomad for as long as I wanted and my budget allowed.
A great many things have happened to me all this time. From meeting unknown friends to spending nights on slatted benches to hitchhiking on the world’s most dangerous roads – I went through it all. And in the process, I’ve learned many great life lessons. “Travel imparts new vigor to your mind,” said a great Roman philosopher once, and I can’t agree more.
It allows you to accept new cultures, new ideas, as you open yourself to world philosophies.
Travel has probably been one of the greatest educators in my life. When you travel, you make your own decisions and throw yourself into situations that you otherwise try to avoid. It schools you in more ways you can ever find out, and my experience has been no different. Travelling has taught me much. But the biggest lesson it has taught me is to realize that impermanence is a part of life.
“The use of traveling is to regulate imagination with reality, and instead of thinking of how things may be, see them as they are” Samuel Johnson
Life on the road is a series of ever-changing circumstances. I know I am not alone in a desire to cling to memories, moreover, I’ve always been one of those dumb-witted people who find beauty in what’s gone. Melancholy and ambivalence have always hit me hard. But it is only after travelling for all these years, that I’ve realized that change is natural.
Sure life on the road is generally messy. You have to say farewell to good friends knowing the fact that you’d possibly never meet again – and that feeling, that empty void in your heart is sometimes simply tormenting. I found lovely towns that I left knowing even if I ever return, I’d never fully return to this moment in time. This is far more philosophical than it seems, but I’ve at least learned to value adaptability and change, even when the goodbyes never got easier.
I remember my last night in Thailand I said goodbye to fewer people than I wanted to. I even barely remember the goodbyes that I actually made. But following a huge night prior I couldn’t really handle getting back out there and cementing the farewell. On a bright side though, I’m pretty sure my happy drunk self gave more than my fair share of goodbye hugs and kisses the night before.
So yea, goodbyes never got easier and that’s just the way it is. And to make it worse, there’s only so many of them “goodbyes”, “take cares”, and “stay in touches” that you actually find yourself emotionally wrecked. But to be honest, I’ve given up on them. I’ve absorbed the notion that for those traveling, goodbyes are inevitable.
How do you cope with goodbyes? Any top tips for travellers who are forced to part ways with new friends? Let me know in comments.