The traveller’s goodbye manual

Everyone’s had to say goodbye at least once. Your primary school friends, the house you grew up in, your sixth-form teachers, a beloved pet, the colleagues at a job you’re leaving… I think we can all agree: it’s never particularly pleasant. Quite the opposite, actually. (Unless you hated the job. Or the colleagues.)

Now, picture a lengthy, far-away journey that leaves your home, job, friends and family behind – and imagine the goodbyes.

I think preparing for goodbyes is a part of travelling that’s just as important as vaccinations and a solid backpack, and especially so if you’re going without a definite return date.

You want to have given it some thought and planned a strategy. Figure out who will be the first person you will say goodbye too, and the last. Pack in as many last minute memories as you can. Make a list of things you want to say. Take pictures. Leave notes. Eat all the best things, and also all the average ones that feel like they’re the best because you love them that much. Say thank you. Go out of your way to say thank you. Also go out of your way to give hugs. Hug dogs. Hug close friends. Hug babies. Sit quietly in the places you love. Take mental images of both the important moments and the everyday things. Wear waterproof makeup and cry tons. Then, when you realise you can’t quite cry anymore, hug a little harder. Say I love you.

And then, off you go.


My name is Gaëlle and I’m about to set off on a round-a-lot-of-the-world trip with no set return date. This is the diary of my adventures.