Thinking about leaving fills me with a feeling of being caught so intensly between sadness and excitement that I remain firmly in the centre of the two, in a purgatory of experience. Lost In the false protection of avoidance, I fool myself into thinking that I am ready.
I’m leaving home once again, only this time It’s Ecuador, and not Colombia, or Australia that I’m leaving behind. over the last six months I’ve explored Ecuador’s unique and diverse landscape and culture. I experienced so much and so intensely that I could only ever appreciate it in retrospect.
Traveling is a whirlwind of discovery and goodbyes so much so that the goodbyes seem to become almost routine. We miss the point of them.
It’s jarring waking up from the lie you’ve convinced yourself is true, that you don’t care, that you need to keep going and that’s it, that you’re numb to the exercise of goodbye. looking out the plane window, flying parallel to the peaks of the majestic mountains and volcanoes of Ecuador, that’s when it hits me. The pain of leaving somewhere or someone important to you, it never gets easier, I’ve just gotten better at pretending it does.
It’s not so much the leaving that scares me though, it’s what leaving means. I’m so thankful for the opportunity to have been able to call the jungles of Ecuador my home for the last six months. Those memories and lessons are a deep part of who I am now. I am also just as excited for what’s next on my journey.
Yet I realise that everywhere I’ve been, all the people I’ve met, laughed with, cried with, fought with, loved with, explored with; eventually they all dissolve back into the greater world, as they leave mine.
Each step forward expands the horizon of the world in front of us, at the expense of the world behind us.
So how do you do it? How do you come to terms with impermanence?
Why is it that life’s most beautiful moments feel at the same time so melancholic as they slowly turn to memories? Turn into a longing for the second before this one, at the same moment you lust for the next.
We lie to ourselves to protect ourselves from the fear of saying goodbye, ignoring what deep down we know. We’re all scared, lonely, without any idea, only most of us pretend we’re not.
It’s a humble realisation the hopelessness of our situation. To think that we have been gifted this incredible ability to live and relive the before and now. Yet cursed with never knowing what comes next.
We know what has been, and is, but never what will. So why then do we convince ourselves what we want is safety, or that we can even be completely safe in a world so full of uncertainty? So reluctant to give up what we already have we desperately and conveniently ignore ephemerality, paralysed in the illusion of safety. Is it not our lives and what we achieve that are most precious to us?
We don’t want to survive, we want to live. But, life can only exist with death, happiness with sadness, something with nothing, next with before. We need to know one to know the other.
So then to be human is to be sad just as it is to be happy. It is to grow just as much as it is to let go. Because the easiest person to lie to, ourselves, is the one who will punish us the most in the end.
So I guess it’s time to do what I always must. Take a deep breath and keep venturing forward, It may not get easier, but it will get better. I’m going to miss you Ecuador.
“Todos es possible en Ecuador (Everything is possible in Ecuador)” – Modern Ecuadorian proverb
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