You Say Goodbye, Part 1
You say goodbye, I say hello.
Thanks for the song lyric, Sir Paul McCartney and the late John Lennon.
Being that this is a website about changing your life, and partly about us being expatriates, it seems fitting that we start with goodbye and end with hello.
I’m sure that everyone reading this post has experienced loss.
Maybe it is the loss of a parent.
Maybe it is the loss of a sibling.
Maybe it is the loss of a child.
Maybe it is the loss of a friend or someone you admire.
Maybe it is the loss of yourself and your reason to exist.
The losses can be too numerous to list.
Being expatriates makes both Jill and me semi-experts on the subject.
We suffer loss every single time we leave somewhere.
The current way Jill and I live our lives means we leave somewhere about every two to three months.
Over a year, that is a lot of loss.
I’m not writing this for sympathy but to help you to understand that there are ways to deal with loss, and how to accept it, with more ease and acceptance.
I’m also writing it to let you know that there is a lot of hellos out there and the world of traveling is a magical place.
Especially when you have someone else to support and help you.
And when you can support and help someone else.
It is a world of mutual support and caring, from what I’ve seen.
Even among strangers and with people that don’t speak the same language and have different cultures.
If there is a universal language, it is spoken through traveling and figuring out who you are, where you belong, and what you want out of life.
Hello Jill and a New Life
To give you a quick recap on our lives since we met each other, I’ll start here:
I had recently quit my job as a social worker helping geriatric clients to start working as a social worker for young adults diagnosed with schizophreniform disorder, schizoaffective disorder, or schizophrenia.
I was starting to get burnt and thought I’d use my meager savings to travel around the world, starting in Latin America, and then end up in China to visit my brother who has lived there for about 10 years.
Life gave me a bit of a u-turn as my brother knew doctors that worked at an expatriate medical clinic in Beijing. They needed a psychotherapist so I sent in my resume. I was interviewed, on Skype, and immediately hired.
Jill led a very different life than me. She had been in the corporate business world and had quit her job about 4 years before we met. After she had quit, she traveled around Europe for 8 months. After she came back to the USA, she started working on her website, SF Tourism Tips, and put all her time and effort into making it a success.
I had been dancing salsa for over 13 years and wanted to say goodbye to my salsa familia and also get a few last dances with my close friends. I had planned my move to China to begin after the San Francisco Carnaval weekend. My friends had a salsa dancing pavilion and I knew that almost everyone I cared about would be there. A perfect way to say goodbye and then say hello to a new life in a new country.
I arrived early so that I could get a decent seat on the curb and was surprised to find out that hardly anyone was there. Instead of sitting there bored, I left and got breakfast. As I returned to my seat, I noticed a woman was sitting in my spot. I asked her if I could sit by her and she agreed.
We talked for a few hours before the parade started, and we learned about each other and how much we loved traveling, getting to meet new people, and that our future plans were on very different paths.
I was leaving for China and that she was taking pictures for her SF Carnaval page on her SF Tourism Tips as she planned to live in San Francisco for the foreseeable future.
My friend, Jon-David, showed up and we hung out as the parade passed by us. We ended up getting lunch and then, as I was about to leave to go dancing, and Jill was about to leave to go work on her website from home, I asked her out on a date for the next day.
She laughed a bit, smiled, asked me, “Aren’t you moving to China in 8 days?”
And finally, “Yes.”
The First Date that Continues Today
We spent the whole next day, and the next 8 days after that, together.
She ended up taking me to the airport and we discussed the possibility of her moving too. Jill had been staying in AirBnbs and was able to get up and go every few months since she didn’t have a long term rental.
The possibilities were, and still are, endless.
We talked almost every day by Skype and would email as I found my way in my new world.
Jill helped keep me grounded and I figured out a pathway so that I wouldn’t become lost trying to figure out a new place to live, a new job, and a new life.
I could have done it on my own, but we’ve both found that is it more fun when we figure out our lives, and our travels, together.
As with most of my clients, I found it is always easier to say goodbye when you have someone to say hello.
- How do you stay grounded when you travel?
- Who do you rely on for grounding and connection when you are traveling?
- Who relies on you for grounding and connection when they are traveling?
- How can you support yourself when traveling so you don’t feel lost or overwhelmed?
Other articles you might enjoy:
The New Normal
Every 6 Weeks the Seizures Come and Go
The Costs and Benefits of Choices