Goodbyes are difficult. The start of any journey must begin with a farewell. However, it’s comforting when you know your journey will end with a “hello”, especially when there’s someone waiting for you at the other end. It’s different, of course, when you’re travelling to a new place for the first time and you don’t know what you’ll see there. Or when you’re leaving a place that has become familiar enough to feel like home.
The first time I said “goodbye” to Mumbai, I felt half sick with fear of the unknown, and excited still to know that this was the first step in a new beginning. This was the start of my life in Australia for the next few years. Who knew where I would go after that. I had a vague idea of teaching in Singapore or Malaysia, or perhaps find a research position in Australia. The goodbyes have become easier over the years. I know what to expect at the end of my journey. Perth is becoming a home away from home.
This week, I said “goodbye” to Kalgoorlie once more. It’s been almost as difficult as saying goodbye to Mumbai. This vaguely hollow feeling in my stomach is less about the place and more about the people I leave behind. I’m headed back to Perth now and the friends who have been calling over the past three weeks to say they’ve missed me while I’ve been away on holiday. So, as the Prospector heads west from Kalgoorlie, and I’m trying to leave that farewell behind and focus on the “hellos” ahead of me, and the things we will do together.
The end of a holiday and a thesis is a bittersweet experience. I’m reluctant to tackle city life once again. Yet, as the sun slips behind the horizon I recognize that this ending also signals the starting of a new week and a brand new day. It’s a time of change, and perhaps this is what is difficult about any journey. The transition from a goodbye to a hello. I think I’ll listen to the Beatles now.