Goodbyes are hard. This wandering; never staying one place for too long, creates more emotional separations. Beginning to put down roots and form strong connections, only to walk away from them. I'd like to think practice has improved my expressions of goodbye, but no. I've just gotten better at tying the apron to make and giveaway obscene amounts of baked goods.
I'd like to think it's healthy to give relationships space. Equally, relationships with places. To see and experience a place long enough to understand it's depth, and then to move on to the next. But with people, I'm not always able to convince myself that premature goodbyes are beneficial. Travel ties us into this pattern of quickly growing close to people, only to halt that suddenly and return to separate lives. Though, there is great enjoyment in making unpredictable connections; I love carrying these with me. Crossing paths again becomes a valuable piece of the puzzle.
Relationships that form between hikers amidst a long, dynamic journey are undeniably unique. In mere moments, we are bonded by the mutual respect and toughness. Where days feel like weeks, and friendships back home reveal themselves as superficial. But then they suddenly end, like a breakup neither of you want. Everyone goes back to their respected lives, homes and jobs (except the occasional trail relationship turned marriage). It's hard to describe the intimacy of this in words. How a four month partnership on the trail becomes all-consuming.
As I'm wrapping up my time in So. California, I'm reminded once again how difficult this is. I am openly prioritizing myself- my own happiness and desires over relationships. There has to be a balance here. Love and loyalty don't translate with distance. Is it transparency? I feel guilty when I allow people to rely on me and then abruptly take that away. How can those who don't stay still, explain this to our friends or family who may not have experienced it themselves?
So as we, AS I, become hesitantly more comfortable with goodbyes, I learn that these connections are never lost.
Goodbyes are part of what make travel special. We're actively broadening our perception by interacting with diverse environments and people. This you simply cannot get if your world is in one place. It's the interaction which I've grown to love the most. It's painfully rewarding to say goodbye to possibilities. So I ask myself: is goodbye the risk opens us up to the bigger picture?