Open Ticket

Saying Goodbye To A Faithful Traveling Companion

This is hard. You’ve been with me to 3 different continents. We’ve seen 6 countries together. I had traveled before, without you, but once we found each other you came everywhere with me. You’re in all my favorite photographs, posing with me next to castles and statues and perched on top of mountains. We’ve marveled at natural wonders together, like the Giant’s Causeway, and we spent countless hours wandering through boring airport terminals. We’ve shared nausea-inducing bus rides and never-ending layovers. We’ve been squeezed into the middle row of airplane seats, in coach, for 9 hours straight. You’ve kept me warm and made me feel secure. You were the one constant in the sea of changing scenery.

But you’re starting to fade now, and you aren’t what you once were. It’s time for me to find my next travel buddy, my new partner in crime. So I’m afraid this is good-bye, green fleece jacket. Every time I look at an Irish hillside, or my favorite photo ever (both of us sitting on a bench, surrounded by the peaks of German Alps, see bio pic below), I’ll think of you. You gave me the confidence to explore and hike and venture outside in cool weather. You were a blanket and a pillow, the first thing I packed and the last thing I’d ever leave without.

But it’s the start of a new year, a time of transition and renewal. It’s out-with-the-old-and-in-with-the-new. It’s the time of year when we reflect on our lives and our situations, and make some changes. You’ve been a faithful traveling companion, but it’s time to move on. I’m not the same traveler I was when we first got together years ago. You were a great deal; a discounted price on a discontinued color. I was scraping together all my pennies just to take a small trip once a year. I never packed anything fancier than jeans, and the accommodations were more hostel than hotel. But I’ve grown and changed, and you’ve faded and stretched. My style has evolved and gone in a different direction. We’ve had a good run, and you’ll always have a special place in my heart. Like the carry-on bags and windbreakers and favorite scarves that have gone before you, you will always be a part of my story. But it’s time for me to start a new chapter, green fleece jacket, and I’m afraid you’re not in it.

While you’re looking a bit worn around the edges, there’s nothing structurally wrong with you, no holes or stains or tears. So, like me, you’ll be moving on to something new. Who knows what lucky person will find you next, and where you’ll accompany them? Your adventures may be greater than mine. You may find a teenager and be introduced to the drama of high school. You may move across the country or across the world. I’m excited, green fleece jacket, for both of us. Saying goodbye is always hard, and usually sad, but it’s exciting, too. It means new things are on the horizon, and anything can happen now, for both of us.

What’s your favorite (non-human) travel companion?

For a daily dose of travel inspiration, follow me @StephSpitler

Image via Shutterstock

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