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  • Gemma Fottles

Goodbyes are the hardest part of travelling

Updated: Aug 27, 2020

The worst thing about travelling is not the 20kg rucksack strapped to your back. It’s not that one time that you forget to do something pretty essential to the functionality of your trip and you end up stranded without a tent on a campsite on an island in Italy. And it’s not the annihalation of your bank account. The worst thing about travelling is the goodbyes.

After my big 4-month round the world trip as a travel reporter for See the World with SPAR, I was back in my hometown for a grand total of a whole week before boarding the train to London. Where was I bound? An 18-hour coach ride to Tignes Les Brevieres to start a ski season in France for the next five months, where I am currently writing this blog post from. This rapid turnaround before I got here meant attempting to squeeze hello's and goodbye's to everybody in my life into a very short period of time.

This meant fleeting reunions and subsequently fleeting goodbyes. I loved the reunions – loved them wholeheartedly. I always do. I went back to Birmingham where I spent three years studying English Literature and was reunited with my student life and my wonderful friends. But knowing that this was not only a “HI GUYZ” but also a “cyaaaa in 5 months” filled me with a sadness that kind of cast a shadow on my entire stay. I just truly detest the goodbyes. And they were all coming so quickly!

The worst is always the last – the goodbye to end all goodbyes and send you on your way.

My last goodbye before heading off to the French Alps to work in a chalet was with my two best friends in London. I've lived with these two girls for the past three years, grown up with them from scatty 18-year-old-girls... and I actively dislike being without them for so long. Tears were shed when I bid them farewell once again - of course solely by me.


I felt such a yearning to spend some time with them again. I felt like I was deserting them, or at least deserting our friendship. I grew envious of the times that I knew they would spend together without me, knowing that I was going to miss out on so much. It hit me, boarding that coach in London. A life of travel is one of the best gifts you can give yourself, but I hadn't considered what that meant to the relationships you already have at home. The loss of time with people you care about - the realisation of that sacrifice really hit me.

But really, what can be done about it? Well, stop travelling is the most obvious solution, but that feels kind of impossible for me right now. I’m addicted. Travelling the world massively outweighs a half-hour of sadness and a few “I-MISS-YOU-ALL-AND-WISH-YOU-WERE-HERE!!??!!” moments every few months. But it goes to show that even the much-envied life of a traveller has its cons.

Unless my friends and family fancy packing up their lives and joining me anytime soon, I guess goodbyes are just the necessary pinch of salt that goes with an overwhelmingly sweet lifestyle. I'm currently at the beginning of the next adventure, and with five months ahead of me, let's see then how I feel about the life I leave behind every time I travel.

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