There aren’t too many down sides to slow travel, or Cool Footing: it’s cheaper, more enjoyable and more rewarding than being a hotfooting tourist, but then there’s leaving.
Inevitably there comes a time when it’s time to go. Maybe your visa has run out, or a work contract is finished, or it’s just time to move on before that comfort zone develops into a rut.
Once the decision is made and plans formulated, the countdown begins, and you see your surroundings with a gentler eye because you start to realise this is ‘the last time I’ll . . .”
Everything you do will become “the last time . . .” It always amazes me the silly things that you feel a slight pang about. Not only because you will miss the mundane, ordinary things you’ve become accustomed to, but because each time you think, “this is the last time . . .” a little stab of reality glances you and what you will really miss comes bubbling to the surface.
Sure, each place has new experiences, tastes and sights, but what is always hardest to part from is the people. “Parting is such sweet sorrow,” as our mate Shakespeare put it, and it’s that sorrow that stops a lot of people from ever taking off on global adventures. But don’t forget the sweet.
I’ve moved a lot through my life: dragged around, rather than brought up my Mum says. So, I’ve developed some coping mechanisms to help put a sweet spin on the sorrow of parting.
The key for me is to play a trick on myself. I lie. I say that I will see this person, or other within a year. I lie over and over and over until I believe it to be true. This way I never really say goodbye and I always have hope. Hope is powerful. Without hope we can’t go on. Without hope there is no point to anything. So I cultivate hope, manufacture it even.
I am also grateful. My life is richer, and I am a better person for having met the people on my journey through life. I count these people as part of my life fabric, they are forever interwoven into who I am and who I will become. They are my blessings, always in my heart.
Now as I prepare to leave another place, I will not feel sorrow, but smile because of the joy I’m lucky enough to have had, and the promises of the future.
By the way, it also helps living in the age of social media where you’re never really too far away.