Travelling and volunteering are the best thing ever, but as cool as it seems they also have a bad side. Saying goodbye will become a regular situation in your life, and no matter how many times you do it, it is never easy.
I hate goodbyes. But honestly, who likes these sad situations when you don’t know what to say, because you have too much to say?
It is not a good way to say goodbye. No matter how many hugs you give, or how many wishes you scream. You would be leaving that person (probably for a long long time). For me one of the hardest things about saying goodbye is the feeling of separation, you connect to someone, you adapt your life with them, and then, you leave. And you know that life it would never happen again as it was. OMG, this post is getting really sad!
Let’s look to the other side, saying bye it also means you are starting a new chapter, going to another city, starting new adventures and realizing how many awesome people you were able to meet.
Last month, I left Nicaragua after more than a year working with Quetzaltrekkers Leon, a non-profit travel organization helping kids in the country. I’ve never in my whole life have to say so many goodbyes like the past year. Quetzaltrekkers is running mainly by volunteers than stay around between two and three months working as hiking guides, so every month I used to welcome someone new and be sad about someone leaving. In September I was the one leaving, so I also have to say goodbye to the kids of the projects and the really good friends I made.
Thinking now about how many people I met from different parts of the world, and be able to share so many cool moments, make me realize how lucky I am. Choosing this lifestyle of traveling and working with non-profits it’s not always easy, but I don’t regret it for a second.
When the time comes and I move, I always like to do special activities with the kids. It is a special way to share the last moments and make them do that thing that they don’t have the chance. This time I brought one project to the beach where the smallest ones realize how salty the water can be, we organized a cookie workshop with another project that ended in a food battle and the other project prepared a whole afternoon of typical dances. It’s amazing all the love that I received.
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Saying goodbye it is also realizing the bonds that you made with people, it doesn’t matter where they from or how lost we are in life, you will miss them. I love getting messages on my phone and unexpectedly having news of my friends. If you are a traveler or you’ve been a volunteer you know that you won’t be talking every week, or not even every month, but when you talk you know that you share a unique experience with them.
Goodbyes are not forever. Goodbyes are not the end. They simply mean I’ll miss you until we meet again.
Did you experience goodbyes while traveling? Are you in touch with your volunteer mates? I would love to hear your stories.
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