What a whirlwind of a travel saga this has been! There has been a lot of ups and downs when beginning to travel long-term for the first time.
Travel blogger after travel vlogger, they’re all saying the same damn thing — and it’s true. The first time you leave is the hardest and will be the hardest. But they say it gets easier.
Getting things ready to go back at home is one hell of a process. From packing, to getting rid of the rest of your possessions, to cleaning up your room, seeing friends and family and everything else. This is a process I wish I would’ve taken more time to do. One week is just not enough time — at least for me. This is a process where I would recommend at least 2 weeks to get all of your affairs in order.
Then comes a day where you’re in your final 24 hours. You can’t sleep. You’re exhausted and your ride is waiting to drop you off at the airport. This is it. Your big finale. Mom wanted to drop me off — I asked her if it’s okay she dropped off my friends as well since we’re all traveling together. She happily obliged.
It was a quick ride to drop us all off at the airport. I said my goodbyes, and took the final selfie with mom before heading inside Minneapolis-St. Paul International.
Stepping into the airport and watching mom leave for work was tough, but the excitement of traveling around the world was something that quickly squashed the sorrow.
Check-In, check. Security, check. Breakfast, fail. After we all got checked in and breezed through security, we had just over an hour before our plane even started to board from MSP to HND (Tokyo – Haneda International Airport). We found a place that served breakfast and sat down. Before even looking at the menu, I was browsing through Facebook with all the excitement in the world until this picture came up in my timeline feed posted by mother dearest:
The caption reads “Hard to say good bye to your kid, but I am happy that he is doing what he loves. Safe travel, Kevin. Remember this will always be your home. Love you.”
From that moment on – it was queue the waterworks.
I could not stop sobbing at the restaurant. Ordered my breakfast and a mimosa, to calm my nerves. Chugging down that mimosa didn’t help much. I needed another, but I shouldn’t. I’ve decided that I should stay away from Facebook to try to get my emotions in check. That helped. I had to excuse myself to the bathroom for a good 20-30 minutes. Quietly sobbing in the bathroom stall. In between all the flushes, chit-chat, hand driers whirring and people farting in the stall next to me, was me trying to sob as quietly as possible. I returned back to the restaurant tired and dehydrated. I’m sure the people sitting next to us was wondering what the hell I was crying about. Probably thought I was getting deported or something — who knows? It’s Trump’s America, now!
The emotions of leaving your mom back home. Your sibling, friends and other extended family behind in the United States while you’re about to go travel the world is almost a feeling of guilt and regret. The feeling of letting down your friends and family, that you’re ditching them for your own selfish reasons. Leaving them behind. It’s one of the strongest feelings of sorrow I’ve ever felt, behind visiting my late friend Brian in hospice.
You’re thinking that you should call back your ride, beg them to take you back home. You want to reverse this process and go back to your norm. You just can’t bear to leave your family and friends. Let me tell you again, it’s the single most difficult thing you’ll ever have to do in your lifetime.
Is it worth it? Only the person asking can answer that. For me, it’s undecided. I really miss my mom. I really miss everybody back at home, but I really want to travel some more and explore more of the world with my own eyes, not just behind a computer screen or though a magazine. See, touch, smell, taste. Take in all of your senses and immerse yourself into a completely different culture and world. Until I am able to come to a definitive conclusion if it’s worth it to me or not, I’ll continue on my travels.
I’ll be writing about more of my travels here in Malaysia in a future post. This will probably be a multi-part series on Malaysia travel.