I’ve noticed a lot of my blogs contain the phrase “One thing I’ve learned from this trip…” as an introduction to blindsiding you with my incredible wit and wisdom. And humility, obviously. I’m here to do that again. So, here goes.
One thing I’ve learned from this trip…is how to leave things behind. How to say goodbye. Don’t confuse being well-practiced with being good at something, though. I’ve played hundreds of games of basketball in my lifetime and I still look a lot more like Philip Seymour Hoffman in Along Came Polly than Steph Curry.
And I also mean this both literally and figuratively. I’ve literally left half my wardrobe scattered around the world, along with a few books, a tent, two toothbrushes and travel sheets (no, not all were left purposely). One of those handy dandy global chargers mysteriously disappeared in Spain. Various amounts of my blood and sweat soaks random mountains across multiple continents.
These things happen when you’re traveling. Especially when you get tired of lugging a big backpack around, one-third of it full of crap you never use.
There are times when you purchase a $25 tent for one night at a music festival and then just leave it there, justifying the decision by pointing out that it’s an extra five unnecessary pounds and cost you less than a night in a hostel anyway.
There are other times when you decide the few souvenirs you’ve acquired along the way hold a hell of a lot more value than the old clothing you brought along to give yourself a few extra options.
And there are other times still when you realize that free sleeping bag that has come in handy so many times was, well, free. And it should be released back into the wild so as to not cost you an arm and a leg in airline overweight baggage fees.
Of course that’s just all the “stuff” I’ve had to leave behind. Those are easily forgotten about. The tricky part, which I’ve unfortunately become accustomed to (but no good at), is saying goodbye to the people and places I’ve met along the way.
Leaving friendships, relationships, and jobs behind in California was sad and difficult, but I knew it was a trip with an eventual return date. As much as I’d like to come back to all these wonderful places I’ve visited and reunite with the people I’ve befriended, I know it won’t be as simple as just “going home.”
Sure, we’ll keep in touch on Facebook or via email, but that doesn’t replace the face-to-face interactions we enjoyed. As hard as every single departure has been, I’ve gotten used to them. I leave these people and places with a confidence that we will remain friends in some way, shape or form and hopefully be reunited at a later date.
So, I suppose we can call this blog what it is: an official announcement that I’m saying goodbye to the rest of the world, leaving my new friends and all these countries behind, and saying hello again to California.
To the people I’ve met along the way (and those I already knew who joined me for portions of the trip), thank you for teaching me so much and rekindling passions I’d forgotten about. Thank you for your generous accommodation, friendship and time. Thank you for inspiring my growth as a person, a traveler and a writer. I can say with confidence that this trip would have been pointless if not for all of you. Our interactions are what I’ll remember most fondly.
To my friends and family back home (and those North Americans I met abroad and hope to visit), thank you for supporting me this whole time I’ve been gone. Thanks for reading my blogs, sharing my photos and contributing endless amounts of advice about places you’d visited or lived. As sad as it is to leave the rest of the world behind, I’m extremely fortunate to be coming back to such an amazing place with its own share of inspiring people.
Australia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Philippines, Malaysia, England, Iceland, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Morocco, France, Andorra, Germany, Slovenia, Croatia, Hungary, Czech Republic and Poland – I’ll see you again someday soon. And next time I’ll meet your neighbors, too.
Good ol’ U.S. of A. Good ol’ San Francisco. Good ol’ Walnut Creek.
I’m coming back for you. Eleven days from now. August 29th.
See you then.