When I left to travel, I wasn’t worried about being alone half a world a way. I had just graduated college. I was exhausted. Sure, there was some excitement and a little anxiousness, but overall I just felt numb. My emotions were dulled.
Because of this, saying goodbye to my friends wasn’t hard, two of them would be living with me when I got back and though a few others were moving away, I knew I’d still see them during holidays.
Saying goodbye to people I met on the trip was different. There’s a billion different emotions when going form place to place, nervousness, excitement, sadness, it’s all there and for different reasons and in different abundances each time. Some feelings may be tied to the place and other to the people. Still, I was amazed at how much I would miss the people I knew for only a few days. It may be that those feelings felt more like a loss or they just felt more intense with turmoil of the moment. Perhaps, I remember them more vividly as they contain a fresher sting, but I know there is truth to them.
I connected with the people I met traveling, because they felt more like me than anyone I’d ever known. They all seized the day, took life as it came, and didn’t waste time bickering over trivialities. They were all happy, outgoing people who were constantly looking for more. Not desperately, like addicts looking for a fix, but passionately, as collectors of memories. There is a commonality among travelers that unites us beyond what the notorious three questions should be capable of; a hidden bond that ties us together. Perhaps it is the rupture of that bond that causes the grief I found, but I think the greatest grief is that I haven’t found it since.