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“Never say goodbye because goodbye means going away and going away means forgetting.”
-J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan

Amplified lately, is that fact that day-to-day life is segmented into a few distinct roles, which I occupy separately, in parallel, or sometimes all at once: employee, sister, daughter, friend, pet owner… so when I say bon voyage and drop everything to travel, do these roles go away? Does someone take over? Will I find new niches to fill: amateur photographer, new blogger, tacky tourist, terrible surfer? I’m experiencing mixed feelings about these transitions.

My role as an employee. Having been with my company since 2008, I’ve established a connection with my co-workers, and the work I do. My ever-accommodating employer has decided to temporarily fill my position, bringing in a lovely gal named Julie who has graciously agreed to come on board for the last (and probably busiest) quarter of the year. As I go through the details of my daily tasks with her, it’s a process I’m finding surprisingly emotional about and has proven to be an exercise in letting go. While there have been no tears, I am finding it hard to let go of some of my “babies” and trust another to build (and quite possibly strengthen) the foundations I’ve established. On the other hand, the coming months will see a few “big nuts to crack” (as a co-worker would say) and large, challenging projects on the horizon. I’ll feel left out of the action, and I don’t think I’m really allowed to say this but the devil on my shoulder says “I’m glad I won’t be here for THAT”!

Home. Our apartment will sit empty for four months. 742 square feet, four years of living, and a lifetime of stuff which I have come to associate with comfort, life, and living. Will it hold the same meaning when I return, or will travel give me a new lens through which I will view the space I occupy and the things I have?

Family, friends, and pets. Will Davey (our cat) remember me?  I have no doubt that my family and friends will, but this year Birthdays, Thanksgiving, and other significant events will be celebrated from a distance. I will be surprised at how much my cousin Shaye, and niece Baiya have grown. I will miss texting my sisters and mom. Late night, home-spun dance parties with friends will go on without me (though no one will come close to duplicating my trademark moves). I will certainly miss waking up on a cold Christmas morning to enjoy gift giving in the presence of family.

So with that little bit of sentiment, I now write on behalf of myself and my travel partner and husband Tyler. Just as we’ve put a lot of thought and planning into our time away, the people around us have also worked hard to make up for our absence. I’m feeling much gratitude for the opportunity to go and willingness of other people to accommodate our choices. Thank you to all the people that won’t forget us while we’re gone and to those who are saving a spot for us when we return. Laters!