I hate goodbyes. I'm writing this just after saying goodbye to two people who have been a huge part of my travels, one in particular has become like a sister to me despite just spending a few weeks together. When travelling, especially solo, you quickly form these intensely close friendships after experiencing so many amazing things together, and before you know it, you've not actually been alone for weeks. So when the time comes to actually part ways, I won't lie, it feels really shit. Like a piece of your heart has gone with them and suddenly you have to get used to being alone on the road again. Now being alone is actually quite rare when you're travelling, it's so easy to meet people that it almost becomes difficult to get five minutes by yourself, and if, like me, you've spent several weeks travelling with groups - it is a bit of a shock to the system to head out on your own again.
Don't get me wrong, travelling solo is still the best way in my mind. I feel you get so much more out of the whole experience by challenging yourself, and it is definitely the best way to meet people because you are forced to if you ever want any kind of human contact! But that doesn't mean it gets any easier when the time comes, and it always does, to say goodbye to the friends you make. I think the hard part is knowing that it will be a long time until you are reunited, if you ever are at all. I've met people from all over the world and unfortunately I just know that for many of us, our paths will never cross again. In some ways that is good, it means we can keep the memory of our perfect meeting pristine in the time and place it happened, rather than trying to reignite the feelings and excitement we felt first time around. Who knows if some of these friendships would survive outside the initial rush of Thailand?For some, it is just the beginning of a long and beautiful friendship, and distance will never stand in the way. I know people who have later gone travelling again and used it as an opportunity to visit their travel friends at their homes across Europe, America, Australia or even Asia. What better excuse to catch up and visit than starting a whole new adventure travelling across the globe? It's quite amazing really, considering how short a time you spend with some people how big an impression they can make upon you - that they can leave such a hole when you part ways. If you're like me, the kind of person who throws themselves into everything with all their heart and soul, then you'll feel it even more when you have to say goodbye. The rule has always been the harder you go, the bigger the comedown afterwards. But if I wasn't the kind of person to throw myself off the highest diving board, I wouldn't make the friends I make and I would have had half the experiences I have had.
So yes the goodbyes are horrible. No they don't get any better. Yes there will be tears at some point. But that's okay, it's okay to feel a bit sad and rubbish sometimes, if you didn't you obviously didn't care that much in the first place. It doesn't mean you are ungrateful for travelling or anything like that, it just means you have a heart and everyone has down days. When you're travelling for as long as I am, it would be ridiculous to feel 100% ecstatic every single day, and no one would believe you anyway. So embrace the sadness for a little while, then get up and get on with it, get yourself out there and meet a whole load of awesome new people and do some awesome new things. They won't ever replace the people who are home, but they can sure as hell give it a good go!
How do you cope with goodbyes? Any top tips for solo travellers who are forced to part ways with new friends?