I’ve always had a hard time meeting people and leaving people. I think it’s a pretty common thing but growing up in an international environment where ‘friends’ came and went every two, three years, you kind of learn to become friends with someone really quickly and then say ‘see you later.’
A ‘best friend’ I had in 7th grade was across the continent by 8th grade and I didn’t get to see my group of friends I had senior year of high school until 2/3 years later – some I still haven’t seen. That’s how it always was and has been as most of my friends were fellow ‘nomads’ who really didn’t have the same ‘home’ or country to return to. Since many of my friends’ parents worked in NGOs and embassies with three-year contracts, many people left by the time we started calling each other ‘friends’. However, this also had a perk. It meant that we learned to meet and become friends with people really quickly.
Even with years and years of practice during childhood, saying goodbye is still not an easy thing to do. But I realized that it’s a big part of traveling (and living) to be able to share certain moments with someone and then simply move on hoping to share similar moments with them in the near future. And if I was going to pack up and travel, I’m going to have to really get used to it.
You’ve seen me mention it a few times but I haven’t really talked about it. I have been volunteering at Hostelling International Boston as an activities volunteer – which I absolutely love. Because staying at a hostel is about meeting people, having fun and discovering the city, I take a group of travelers out to various activities.
For now, I’ve been to bowling with a group of Australian, British, Kiwi and American travelers, to karaoke with a group of travelers from too many countries to list all and went on a Harvard Tour meeting some more awesome people. I absolutely love it that I’m getting out of my comfort zone of meeting the same people I see in Boston everyday and instead, meeting so many different types of people from all over the world. I had a great conversation with a British traveler who works at a bike shop, had a great time with Dutch travelers who were absolutely fun, have learned bowling from a Kiwi who had a broken thumb and listened to fascinating stories about lifestyles in Slovenia.
All this is wonderful and I learn so much about different cultures and different peoples’ lives. I also get to hear about why they are traveling and the stories of places they’ve been to – which of course inspires me to get out there even more. It’s funny how we click instantly and hang out like we’ve been friends for a while. Hanging out with them reminds me of growing up in an international school with friends from all over the world.
However, another hard part I have to deal with is saying goodbye to all these awesome, open minded, fun travelers who have to move on to their next travel destination or to go back home. Kinda wish I could keep all of them here since I have such an amazing time with fellow travelers. I know that once I start traveling more long term, I’m going to have to do more of saying ‘hello’s and ‘goodbye’s. So I see this as a great practice.
Thank goodness for Facebook, Twitter and blogging so I can keep in touch with all of them. Now I have more people to hang out with while I am in England, someone to stay with when I’m in Amsterdam and have added Slovenia to my Euro Trip plan! ;)
For now, I’m gonna stick to saying ‘see you later’ rather than ‘goodbye’
since I will make sure I see all of them, if not, most of them soon.