Let me preface this by saying, I have never been so excited to do something in my entire life. I am beautifully aware of the magnitude of the blessing of this opportunity. But no matter how great an adventure, its never all sunshine and daisies. No matter how excited you are for take off, it doesn’t make the goodbyes any easier. Living abroad isn’t something that everyone dreams of in their lives. But when you are chasing your dream there are so many people who are dreaming for you, and who are living through you. As with everything, its important for me to share the feelings and events that build up to this journey. Maybe you will experience something similar and maybe you will not. However, we create community and understanding in shared experiences. Bear with me the next couple weeks, the emotions of saying these goodbyes are raw and challenging for me to share.
No matter how much support you have, when you choose a life of travel you are choosing to miss out on life back home. It is a choice I am whole heartedly making, but regardless, goodbyes are hard. As I stare at my future, I am elated to dedicate my life to traveling and tasting the world. As I step into the sun, I have to say goodbye to the life I have now, it’s the cost of the choice.
I have lived in Boise for almost 5 years, my entire independent, adult life. This beautiful city is where I have made some of the best of friends and learned some of my toughest lessons. This is the first place I had to stand on my own two feet and decide who I wanted to be with no one telling me how to get there. Here, I fell in love, got my first real heart break, lived on my own, got a degree, made hard adult decisions, and lived with the consequences. The past five years have shown me true friendship, nights of laughter until the tears fell, and love stronger than I knew friends could show you.
I said my first goodbye this past weekend to my best friend from Boise. She started as the resident’s assistant that happened to live in my suite freshman year. However, she became my confidant, my sounding board, my family, my person. Even after she graduated and moved to Salt Lake City, nothing ever changed. I know in my hard of hearts, nothing will change when I leave, but, again, that doesn’t make it any easier to say goodbye not knowing when the next time I will see her will be.
After an incredible weekend spent together, I wished that hug at the airport could have lasted for hours. I heard her voice crack as she told me she loved me. Yet, I was the one holding her saying “only a few more time zones”, “nothing will change”, “you’ll always be my person”. I was shocked at my composure. I am not sure where it came from inside, but I was thankful for the extra strength in that moment.
I walked into the airport, passed through security, and was off to find a coffee. I plugged my headphones into my phone, and cranked up my travel playlist. First song out? For Forever from my latest Broadway obsession, Dear Evan Hansen. It was a song I had never connected with, just loved the sound of. Then it happened. I felt the lump rise, took a deep breath, found a quiet corner and pretended to watch the planes as it hit me and the tears fell.
“All we see is sky for forever, we let the world pass by forever, feels like we could go on for forever this way, two friends on a perfect day…. ”
As much as I had tried all weekend to push it down, I needed to feel it. Everything, the fear, the sadness, the overwhelming anxiety. How does that quote go? It takes courage to chase your dreams and become who you really are. Courage, however, doesn’t mean never feeling these emotions. I believe it actually means quite the opposite. I take it to mean that you have the strength to feel every element of the gravity of your undertaking.
Some friends are meant to stay with you forever, while others are simply lessons along the way. My time in Boise has been filled with many in each category. Odds are there will be people I say goodbye to that I never see again. There will be others that I only see when I come back to the states for their weddings. Maybe the next time I see them, they have changed jobs and locations, they have kids, and we are in completely new and different places in their lives. And I will be so happy for those moments too.
We all face these huge steps in our lives and many times feel that we have to face it with only strength and confidence or we aren’t being brave. Life is made up of so many more feelings. Take the time to appreciate the bittersweet moments. I know today and everyday from here on out, I have to appreciate them. The excitement and confidence means that I am taking a chance on my dreams, that I am allowing myself to sacrifice for what makes me truly happy. On the flip side, the sad moments mean that I have made true friends, and have experienced incredible love. I have been so blessed beyond what I deserve, its important to honor those blessings. I will honor them by feeling the emotions, by spending every second I can enjoying their presence, and appreciating the history and memories these years and this place have held.
-The Very Hungry Traveler