Hasta La Vista Chicos y Chicas

One of the greatest parts of traveling is meeting new people all the time.  As a result, goodbyes are something that you start to get used to.  I’ve been exposed to so many people that I would love to spend more time with.  But alas, part of the journey is picking up your pack, saying farewell, and moving to new places to meet new people and repeat the process.

I prefer to view goodbyes in the Terminator style, hasta la vista.  Not because Schwarzenegger was a badass, but because in Spanish it has a sense of until we meet again.  Many of these people who have played such a major role in my recent life I will never see again.  Admittedly, this can trigger a bit of a melancholy response, knowing you’ll lose touch with someone you’ve grown to care for.  But there exists a certain beauty in saying goodbye.  While our physical bodies part ways, we carry with us our memories, shared experiences, and our developed connections.  It is a celebration of time well spent in good company, an appreciation for others gracing our lives with their friendship.

A goodbye painting from my good friend Jen.

A goodbye painting from my good friend Jen.

Goodbyes can be transformative.  They put us in touch with our deeply rooted emotions.  “What’s the point in language if you don’t say what you mean?”  Listen to a eulogy and you can feel the impact of words when spoken from the soul.  These words have power behind them, extending from the heart instead of the head.  The toughest of men and women embrace their vulnerability when we say the ultimate goodbye to a loved one.  In these moments we are unified and empathetic, interconnected by our common bond to another person.

I have thought about this concept of goodbye recently for a few reasons.  The most recent yoga teacher training course finished a few days ago and the majority of the people I’ve witnessed grow and had the pleasure of being around for the past month have departed.  My best mate Gabe left along with them.  In this case I know it really is hasta la vista, I’ll see him in August when I return to the states.  As he left I felt a deep appreciation for the incredible experiences we’ve shared over the past few months and a deep appreciation for the person and friend that he is.  Unfortunately some goodbyes are final goodbyes.  Last month a building in Chaudi, the nearby town where I do most of my food shopping, collapsed.  Families and the community were faced with the reality of saying goodbye to 19 people for the last time.  While their physical presence has left, they have certainly not been forgotten.

In a sense my journey started with a series of goodbyes.  Saying farewell to my friends and families, but more poignantly saying goodbye to my great uncle Ed.  After a long and valiant battle that included having his leg amputated, my uncle passed away.  I remember being at his death bed, not knowing exactly what to say.  I don’t remember exactly what I did say that day, but I remember expressing gratitude for his presence in my life.  Little did I realize at the time just how much of an impact he would continue to have on my life.  My uncle included his nieces and nephews in his will, devoting money to our education.  Essentially my student loans were paid off, permitting me to use the money I had saved up to start my travels instead.  In saying goodbye to my uncle, he has allowed me to say hello to new people, new places, and new ideas.  In a sense it really was hasta la vista.  I don’t need to visit his grave for the next time.  Rather it is until the next time he introduces me to another incredible person or another special location, the next set of introductions before the next set of hasta la vistas.