I was sitting in a pub with my new friends, bantering like I would with my closest friends back home. I introduced myself to a Dutch guy who was sitting beside me, and his English friend sitting across from him. He was going back to Holland that night after spending a year in Auckland working in hospitality. It was his last drink with his new friends and he looked relatively calm, but as he turned his head to the right, I caught a small glimmer of worry in his eye; would he ever see his new friends again?
I continued on with my friends, but I kept my attention somewhat fixed on this situation that was about to unfold. As he got up to leave, and make his way to the airport as I would imagine, his friend got up slowly and walked towards him. Trying to keep their composure at first, and then finally after a muffled goodbye, they let the floodgates open. They cried openly in the middle of the pub, touching each others heads and faces and saying what they were hoping wasn’t their final goodbye.
This, my friends, might just be the hardest part of travel.
When you embark to the other side of the world, or wherever you may come from, on your own, it is a absolute gift to meet people that you consider your friends. People that you vibe with, that you spend time with, that you can banter with, and it makes you feel like you’ve found a piece of home.
You fall in love with strangers.
Whether it be an adventurous day with two new friends from the U.K, climbing a volcano, and laughing to the point of tears, you are in love in that moment.
It might even be sharing coffee and breakfast every morning for a week with two fantastic German girls, talking about your dreams and your goals for your trip.
It could be cutting a Canadian guy’s hair in the communal bathroom at 1am and then talking about Dave Matthew for half an hour that does you in.
Or telling all of your secrets to a beautiful boy as you watch a movie, and then writing them a letter because sometimes it’s easier for you to write your feelings down than to say them.
It could be finding a friend that has the exact same sense of humor as you, and when you see them, they lift you in the air and hug you because they are just so happy to see you, and you’re over the moon to see them too.
Maybe it’s even just the little conversation that takes place with someone because they were listening to Pink Floyd on the rooftop patio at your hostel, and it turns out they’re from Canada, eh?
It’s all love. It’s all beautiful. It’s all magic.
And the scariest part of it all, is that you may never see them again. The last thing that you could say to them is “it’s been a slice”, as you hug them goodbye, knowing that your paths are diverging because you have your own adventures to go on.
It could be a stupid fight, or a lingering goodbye because you just don’t know how to separate yourself from this person that you just clicked with.
And my challenge? Not letting it harden me, or make me bitter, or think that relationships are fleeting. They’re not. Every single run in with every single beautiful soul has been meaningful and it makes me feel whole and it softens my heart.
It’s all love. We all need each other. Yes, it’s the hardest part of travel, but it’s also the best.