It was a rather sobering and uncomfortable experience being on the other side of the fence. You see, with the life I currently lead heartfelt farewells are a common occurrence and they definitely don’t get any easier. As much as I hunger and strive for mastery of the nomadic biking life I live, there is no mastery of the emptiness you feel when another leaves. One does not conker it but endures knowing that eventually it will fade and what will remain are nostalgic memories of a time that once was.
Having met Silke originally in San Cristobal de las casa, Mexico and spent the last few weeks with her and her family in Belgium, we had grown close. Her and I share the same deep underlying feelings for a sense of freedom in a world that can feel scripted, disconnected from what we believe brings meaning in life. In a world where the makings of success gravitate to having the big job, the fancy car, the biggest house, it can be hard to find others who resist and subscribe to chasing just what feels right. It’s this pursuit that allowed us to find each other and sadly what takes us away too.
This time it’s different though. It’s not me packing my bike, checking I haven’t forgotten anything, overcoming those feelings that I am sure I have before final hugs and setting off. Instead, it’s her departing on a flight across the world and I’m the one that stays. It’s a rather sober reminder that although you don’t want it to end you do. It’s the end of one period in life that allows the next to begin and eventually bloom into something hopefully special and memorable. It’s the circle of life, the birth and eventual death of the moments we seek where we feel alive. The memories are what live on.
More than a sober awakening, it’s an uncomfortable reminder of what you put others through every time you depart. To seek adventure, to do just what feels right. It’s quite a selfish act really, to wittingly or not hold the power cards that decide when the music stops and you leave. For family, it can be a very extended period of time lasting for years before you return. For some friends you make on the road, you deep down know you’ll likely never cross paths again. It’s with these uncomfortable feelings on my mind that I prepare for my very own departure.