Ah, travelling. It’s a fascination shared among many people, old and young.
“Unforgettable” as many would describe it, and to be honest I can’t say their cliché statement is false. To some disbelief, however, travelling around to different cities and countries isn’t all fun and games. There are some hardships. There is one hardship in particular that can honestly leave a person pretty heartbroken sometimes.
So, what’s the worst thing about having the opportunity to travel from country to country, seeing beautiful sights and experiencing different cultures? The worst part isn’t missing your flight and having that feeling of utter despair and loss when it happens. It’s also not the moment when your lungs feel like they’re on fire as you run to catch your bus that leaves in 6 minutes while Google Maps is telling you that you’re still about a 9-minute walk away. And it’s not even the moment when you’re lying in bed feeling the nauseating regret that comes with eating that sketchy falafel at the last open food stand at 3am on your way home from the bar. The worst part of this totally amazing and transforming experience is meeting wonderful people from all walks of life, creating a lifetime of memories in one single weekend, and then parting ways to never see them again.
It’s a massive privilege to be able to travel nearly every weekend to a different country with my friends and to meet other travellers and locals that leave an impact on my visit there. As we make our way home on the Monday after our eventful weekends, my friends and I recap every moment and conversation we had during our trip. We giggle at how lucky we were to have been able to gain the memories, but realise that these are moments we will never experience again with people we will never see again. “Come on, we can’t get attached like this” I was told by my friend after one of my first weekend trips. She was calling me out for gushing over the unique and lively acquaintances we had spent our time there with. She was right, and I knew it. Little did I know, this feeling of bittersweet nostalgia would be a reoccurring emotion that I would feel nearly every week.
If there is anything that I can allow this unfortunate repetition of events to teach me, it’s that there are so very many people out there in this world who can bring me joy and laughter. I can understand how fortunate I am to have been able to spend my time with people whose charisma and genuine nature are significant enough for me to feel a loss when our time together has ended.
So, the worst part about travelling is meeting totally awesome people and having to say goodbye to them after a short amount of time. Perhaps that still isn’t such a horrible thing to happen… After all, doesn’t that one overused (yet totally true) saying go, “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.”?
Either way, the best thing I can hope for after experiencing this kind of heartbreak is that I somehow was able to leave an equally remarkable impact on my dear, long lost and international acquaintances, as they have left on me.
Words by Julia Sattler