Travelling is not just fun. Homesickness, sadness and loss will meet you on the way.
Last week was the first time I thought about going back to Brazil! Seriously, it was the first time I realized how far we are from home and from the people we love. Today we were suppoused to be talking about Toledo(an amazing historical city in Spain), but instead I decided to write about something bigger, to write about how we deal with losses and homesickness.
What made me change my blog plans? My sweet cat and furry friend Godard passed away. Ten years of friendship just ended and I had no chance to say goodbye to him! Our first loss, something that we were not expecting to happen soon. Something we presumed that would happen in the far future, and definitely we weren’t prepared for.
Planning a trip is all about excitement and looking to the future. Dreaming and planning about where to go and what to do. But what most of the people don’t realize is that your past and present are as important as your future. All your major decisions about the trip will be taken based on what you believe and feel. All your story and feelings will shape your next footsteps.
Most people who I met on the way asked me why do I want to travel, or if I was unhappy with my old life. My answer?? I just want to live! We are a couple in our 30’s, used to have a nice life, great friends, amazing family, two adorable cats, a house and jobs. But we felt that something was missing, the need of seeing the world was getting bigger inside us. Leaving the comfort zone and getting to know new people, places and cultures was inevitable to us.
To reach this new dream we had to leave some important things behind, and it wasn’t easy at all. I wasn’t able to say “Goodbye” to people, I kept telling them that we were leaving just for a couples of days and “See you soon” was the convenient greeting to use. We are not leaving forever, but also we have no clue when we will be back home. After all it is an open plan long-term travel, nothing is sure and everything is possible.
The most difficult “au revoir” was to our family. To look at our grandparents and think that it can be the last time we see them it`s a heartbreaking feeling. Seeing in Rob`s parent’s eyes a mix of happiness and the sadness made my soul freeze. It`s was painful but really necessary to say good-bye. To hug them tightly, to kiss them and promise we will be fine.
To keep the homesickness away we stay in touch with family and friends by email, Facebook, Whatsapp and Skype. It is not the same as talking and touching them, but it helps to smooth the sadness of being far. The hard part is not being able to talk or touch our cats. If you have a pet you understand my feeling.
We left our two cats with Rob´s parents: Dandara and Godard. She has 12 years and he was 10 years old. Danda was a bit sick already and we were prepared to receive bad news soon, but Godard was fine, pretty, furry and happy! When Rob`s mum called us, I couldn’t believe in what she was telling. My cat had a heart attack. In less than five minutes he was gone. I will never have the opportunity to pet and hug him again.
Me and Rob were crashed, that Wednesday was sad, grey and full of doubts. For the first time we truly realized that we are far from everything and everybody that we love and bad things can happen to them. I felt that my hands were tied, that I can not play with the future, or believe that bad things will never happen to us. Not being able to kiss, to touch or to say goodbye to our cat made me be sure about how important it is to enjoy every moment and every person of our lives. When I lost my mum I had this feeling and I thought that nothing would be able to make so sad again.
We are missing the cats a lot. I miss their purr, the fun around the house and the soft touch of their fur around me while I sleep. I miss the coffee with Rob’s parents in the end of the day, or the sunday lunch in my grandparents. The dinner with our friends. You see, I do miss home, but not material things. Sensations, affections, little pleasures that you won’t be able to fulfill through internet. These are the worst things to leave behind.
That`s why I push myself to enjoy every moment, everything and every person. You have no idea what comes tomorrow, so don’t waste time (my mum always tried to teach me this, now I understand why). Be happy, be nice to other people, be helpful and generous. Take the most of everything and, when the day comes and you have to leave something behind, you won’t mind because you already had the best of it.
It has been three months that we hit the road and until now we were fine. I’ve already cried a couple of times (and yesterday again), but as a girl I’m allowed to. Rob is less emotional than me, till last week he seemed to be holding well. Now I´m not sure. He cried a lot and also thought about quitting the trip. I think he realized that we can’t control everything, and leaving things behind is a daily task in our new way of life.
But don’t worry, we are fine! Just a few more days and we will be great again.
For everybody that we left in Brazil and for all the friends and people we are meeting on our way I just want to say “See you Soon”! Nowadays the world is so small that I believe I will catch up in a next corner around the world.