One of the beautiful aspects of the travel life and that flight attendant one is the opportunity to meet a variety of interesting, engaging, and fascinating individuals. It’s not only an opportunity, the constant of meeting people, but it is a normal occurrence, so much so that it becomes expected. Connecting with others over sharing the sights of cities and countries, being out of ones’ typical environment, and looking for something different than “the normal” creates a quick bond. Much, if not most of travel is not about the architecture or the food that a destination offers, but truly, travel is about people- the ones who you travel with and the ones that you meet while traveling.
At some point, newly created travel friendships transfer to Facebook and WhatsApp, because the individuals involved have transferred from bus to train to plane and away from their initial country of meeting. Away to the a new place and a new person that will curiously inquire, “Who are you? Where are you from? What’s your story?” Or your travel friend will return to a familiar person, a person that doesn’t exactly exist in the travel life, at least not in a palpable way. This makes me wonder if we really understand or know the people that we meet when on the road, and if we do know them and if these connections are truly real, are these friendships worth an investment of time and energy after travel ends? Could goodbye simply be a better strategy than hoping for a reunion tour?
If you were hoping for the answer, well, I don’t have it. I don’t know the best way to handle goodbyes, but I do have a couple of things to tell you about what I have discovered through my few years of adventures regarding travel, friendships, goodbyes, and see you laters. I would take every goodbye that I have ever experienced thus far due to my extremely up-in-the-air life over the choice to never have met the people that I have been fortunate enough to cross paths with. The five minute conversation with a Cathay Pacific Cabin Crew Member over two years ago on a fifteen hour flight has since turned into a day of sun bathing at a Honolulu Hotel and a recent few days walking streets of Lisbon. Never would I have had met this wonderful soul had I stopped myself from exiting my comfort zone.
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Two of my most favorite individuals and closest friends are part of my life thanks to a random seat assignment on an airplane and an unlikely trip planned together to Greece, Budapest, and Prague. Five years later, these two are still part of my life. I visit the two of them any time I am in New York and have traveled to Aruba, Portugal, Paris, Turks & Caicos, and more together. This just goes to show that it cannot be predicted where a friendship will go. It could go nowhere or it could go everywhere.
I look at the memories I have from travel and the flight attendant life as wonderful and do feel saddened by the goodbyes, but most of these people have enriched my life so. They have filled my life in some way, even if only for a moment. I don’t know what will happen tomorrow or the next day or the day after that. They may be back or so may I. Or we may never see each other again. The future is as unpredictable as what happens when travel happens.
Don’t worry so much about the goodbye. The goodbye is just as much part of travel as the hello. Don’t fear it, hate it, or think it will hurt you.
Never close yourself to new friendships or potential relationships simply because you fear goodbye.
Always expect the best.
Know that this interaction may simply be a wonderful moment, not an extended story. Know that that is more than ok.
Figure out how you handle goodbyes and see you laters. Don’t be so hard on yourself.
And with those little tidbits of advice, I’m going to call it a night.
Goodbye & Goodnight from Stockholm, Sweden.