Behind all the epic Facebook posts and Instagram pics, there’s a sad truth about travel that rarely anyone talks about. It may look all glitzy and glamorous, but it’s not all butterflies and roses. There’s one extremely hard part about travel that always gets overlooked. Learning to say goodbye can be heart wrenching.
The backpacker life is a life on the move. You spend only a few days or weeks in each new location. You check into your hostel, make tons of new friends, have wild adventures, and then you leave. It’s the nature of travel. You find yourself saying goodbye quite often. But it never gets easier.
Travelers have so much in common with each other just by this one commonality alone. Choosing to travel inherently shows ambition, desire to follow your dreams, interest in experiencing more than the mundane, appreciation for culture, knowledge, curiosity, bravery, friendliness, a general acceptance of people; the list could go on and on. You meet so many people who share the same goals and dreams as you. People with the same type of personalities. A lot of times you meet people you can’t part with, and you travel to new destinations together. You share once in a lifetime memories that others in your daily life will never understand. Travel helps amplify your natural connections with others. It brings you closer to strangers than you would ever think possible. Going separate ways can be one of the worst travel difficulties.
I think there’s something special about meeting people while you’re conquering your dreams and having fun. You’ve not a single care in the world. There’s no time to be fake. You don’t drain your energy with negativity or things you don’t truly enjoy. There’s so many components to travel that allow you to show the most genuine side of yourself. Strangers choose to like you for who you are at your core. These friendships see no judgement. These friends choose to be by your side during their own epic journey. It’s even easy to see parts of yourselves in each other.
Some connections you make overseas can seem like once in a lifetime. It’s like the universe consciously bringing people together through a shared passion. Fate, even. I’m constantly seeing potential for life-long friendships. Friends who are regularly in your life. Friends to share more epic adventures, hilarious laughs, and life misfires. Friends to experience life’s best and worst moments with. But most of the time, you build these incredible bonds, say see you later, and never see each other again. It always leaves me thinking, “If only proximity were in our favor.”
No one tells you how hard it’s going to be when you meet these amazing people and then have to say goodbye – many times not knowing if you’ll ever see them again. So many thoughts run through my head. Did I just let a potential best friend slip through the cracks? Will we continue to stay close after this? Will we all meet back up like we planned? Would things be different between us if I lived where you lived? Do you feel the same way I do?
It’s hard for me. For someone who values their relationships above all, it breaks my heart every time I must hug a new friend goodbye. I’m never ready for those moments. I’m never ready for the potential to be forgotten.