Your brimming with excitement, bursting with expectation, with a lining of anxiety and nervousness as you’re about to embark on a journey into the unknown. But, for a moment as your about to close the door on your old life, the reality of what you’re about to do hits.
You get a little sinking feeling, some sadness, then before you’ve even started your journey you’re saying your first backpacker goodbyes.
In this post we’re going to look at the constant cycle of hello’s and backpacker goodbyes you will encounter while traveling, how it can be hard to stomach at first and if over time you start becoming numb to all the faces coming and going.
It starts with a goodbye
Table of Contents
Your journey, your new beginning starts with you closing the chapter behind you. It starts with you saying goodbye to your family, your friends, your loved ones, and depending on the type of trip, possibly even your home.
For some it can be a struggle to let go, for others it’s joy, knowing that beyond those goodbyes you’re off on an adventure of a lifetime.
At that point, you think those will be the hardest goodbyes, there isn’t a single moment when you think backpacker goodbyes will be as regular as the hello’s you’ll say.
Hello’s and Backpacker goodbyes dealing with it
Ok, lets dive into it. In this post we’re going to cover:
- No thoughts of backpacker goodbyes before you start traveling
- Backpacker goodbyes are hard at first
- The first will be the hardest
- Long term travelers start getting used to saying backpacker goodbyes
- Backpacker goodbyes become part of traveling life
- Becoming numb to backpacker goodbyes
No thoughts of backpacker goodbyes before your trip
Before you start your trip or journey, the time leading up to it, your mind is most likely to be consumed about how your trip will pan out.
You will most likely conjure up and play out scenarios of:
- The amazing things to see and do
- The adventures and discovery
- The Experiences
- If you will meet people and make friends.
It’s almost guaranteed, there is no thoughts of saying backpacker goodbyes. It’s ok, It’s not something that is thought about. At that point in time that thought probably doesn’t even exist.
But here’s the thing, saying hellos and backpacker goodbyes is going to be a constant through your backpacking life.
Before the backpacker goodbyes will there even be any hellos?
Backpacker goodbyes are not even a thought to begin with because mostly your thoughts will be if you will even meet people let alone become friends. The answer to that is a resounding yes.
In fact as a long term solo traveler, it will be harder not to make friends than it will. There are always people around you from locals to other travelers.
You are going to come in contact with other people, if you stay in shared or budget accommodation like hostels then you will be surrounded by other travelers and in most likeliness make friends.
People are on the move all the time
While there is a high chance of you making friends there is equally a high chance saying countless goodbyes.
People travel at different speeds, some will be slow travelers, some will be gone before you even say hello. You will travel at your own speed too so your level of interaction is going to be different.
If you travel at a slow speed, you are going to the constant.
You will probably get to know:
- The staff in your accommodation
- Locals in the local areas – in the local shop, café, market, bars
- Other slow travelers
- Backpackers coming in for a few nights and leaving
By being a slow traveler there is more chance of you getting to know people more and having deeper connections just because of time. You can get to know people. You might stay in a hostel with other long termers, and you go from being strangers to like family very quickly.
The locals in the area will start to recognise you. After a while they stop seeing you as a tourist and can open up to you, welcome you into the community and that builds an attachment.
On the other hand those that just come and go, you might be friendly with them but they leave before there is a chance of any attachment so there is no emotional connection once they’re gone.
The hard ones are when those you’re attached to leave or It’s your turn to leave.
The first is the hardest
As a long term solo traveler, even though you’ve chosen to travel alone, there are times you get attached to people. Sometimes much deeper than you expected.
So, when the time comes to separate if can feeling wrenching.
Traveling life is within Its own microcosm, it feels like the things around you, the people around are all that exists. For a moment, your mind forgets about the outside world. So when one person your attached to leaves or you leave it can feel like a part of your new world is being ripped away.
You’re not expecting it, after all you arrived as a solo traveler. You were expecting to travel alone becoming so close to people was not something you thought would happen. So when it does, It’s a shock to the system.
The funny thing is you probably do not even know the other people or person that well, you’ve more than likely only know them a few days, weeks months at most. But, as is the vortex of traveling life and being likeminded you feel as you’ve known them all your life. So you can imagine how it feels to be separated and have to say your backpacking goodbyes.
Saying your first backpacker goodbyes can leave you feeling:
- Heart broken in some cases
- Shocked to feel as you do
My first experience
The first time I saw it between others, I didn’t understand it. I was still new, I hadn’t really made many emotional connections in the hostel yet but I was friends with a group that had been there much longer than I had.
A few weeks in, some of the group were leaving for whatever reason, some going back home, others to continue their travels. But it was the reaction that shocked me, the crying the sadness, the sombre atmosphere around the hostel afterwards. The hostel had gone from an electric positive energy to having the life sucked out of it. It lasted for a dew days before people started to get over their friends.
I couldn’t fathom it at the time, but then it happened to me a few months later when I had made emotional connections. When people that had become like family started to leave it was painful. It took a while to get over, and even to make new friends.
Getting used to the backpacker goodbyes
Those first few times you have to deal with backpacker goodbyes can be hard. Some will get over it quickly and others will struggle for a while. Over the years I’ve been people fully recluse once their friend(s) has left.
However slowly, as with everything with experience, as you start getting used to people coming and going you start to get used to it.
I won’t lie, those you become very close with will always be painful when you have to separate but for the most part it becomes part of your everyday traveling life.
Different people, get used to it in different ways:
- Some become detached and don’t get too close to people
- Others stay in contact as much as possible – Facetime, social media etc
- Some become numb to saying hello’s and goodbyes.
Don’t be surprised if you come across experienced travelers who have no interest in getting to know you personally or on a deep level straight away. In their minds you’re just another face that will be gone before they know it. It’s not to say they will be rude, in fact in most cases will be very friendly just they will have no interest in getting to know about your personal life.
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The constant cycle
The more experienced you get with long term travel you know how people will come and go out of your life. Some will stick, you’ll have instant connections, get to know each other be on the same route while others will become a blur.
With experience you learn to manage and deal with the constant flow and cycle of saying hello’s and goodbyes to people you meet.
Over time you even start getting picky with who you choose to be friends with and even ignore people who will be gone before you can even say hello.
That might seem rude but It’s not. You do not have to be friends and get to know everybody you meet. When you do meet people you veer towards people on the same wavelength, with the same interests and with traveling more towards those who travel at similar paces as you do.
It can actually become annoying making the effort to get to know somebody who will probably not make any impact on your life and be gone out of it within days. But you will know if there will be a connection or not.
Becoming numb to it
Saying hello’s and backpacker goodbyes does become numb after a while. You do start to get de-sensitised to it after a while.
As a long term and probably slow traveler there will be countless travelers that will come, stay for a couple of nights and be gone again. You get to a point where you think why bother they’ll be gone. The faces of these people are a blur and in most cases erased from memory as soon as they’re out of sight.
You start picking and choosing, filtering down who you’re more than likely to be friends with. In some cases you will travel together for a while, and with others saying your backpacker goodbyes isn’t so hard because you know you’ll bump into them later along the journey.
And that’s something to remember. Many travelers take the same routes, you may leave a day or two before or after a friend you’ve made, but in most likelihood you will meet up again.
Backpacker goodbyes will be part of your everyday traveling life
And there it is, yes you will more than likely become numb to backpacker goodbyes the longer you travel for.
Remember It’s part of your traveling life, you will meet so many long your travels, the longer you travel the more faces will just be a blur. However there will be those spontaneous ones who you connect with instantly connect with.
Although those will remain painful, you know you will meet them again either later on in your travels or just later in life.
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