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How to cope with the goodbyes that matter

How to cope with the goodbyes that matter

“Rip it off like a band-aid,” I said.
“What?” Replied my brother.
“Rip it off like a band-aid,” I repeated, “You know, make it quick.”
“Oh, right,” he answered.

I was referring, of course, to our final goodbyes – the worst and only bad part about leaving one home to go and live in another that just happens to be far across the seas. I once had a conversation with a friend of mine, Melissa, who loves the UK like I do. We only wish England and Australia were closer. Yes, theoretically it’s only a flight away, but it’s a big one, and in some instances seems rather too long, tiring and expensive. Of course, these aren’t points I bring up when trying to make my mum feel better about me leaving, or things I dwell on when I’m sad about leaving my loved ones and my dog.

This past week was lovely but quite draining. If I could leave without saying goodbye to anyone I would. Not because I’m heartless and rude – the opposite in fact. I don’t like goodbyes and really didn’t know how it would all end.

Last time around I left with a heavy heart and eyes overflowing with tears. It’s not that I didn’t feel the same this time, but I discovered the way to deal with such situations – humour. I can thank my brother for that. I’d spent weeks worrying about final goodbyes with some of my best friends and my lovely mum-in-law, sisters-in-law and of course my immediate family. On the Gold Coast though, my time with good friends was spent laughing, not being sad. And at home with mum in Brisbane, Josh, my brother, simply turned potentially teary moments into funny ones. Like when my mum started to get upset over a lunch, instead of telling her to turn off the tears (the only tactic I know!), he made a reference to the “Last Supper”, and then we were laughing.

Leading up to my departure too, we had a terrific dinner at a fab Japanese Izakaya restaurant called Wagaya, which was filled with laughter and bubbles (champagne, that is – my idea, of course). We transformed trembling lips into fun moments, and instead of “consoling ourselves” about the end of things as they are, we planned for the future and talked about all the good things we’ll do together.

We reached the train station with only a few minutes to spare, which was ideal because there wasn’t time to get too upset. Hug it out, wipe away tears and bid a quick farewell. Rip it off like a band-aid. It’s just easier that way, in my opinion.

3 lessons I’ve learned on how to cope with the goodbyes that matter

1. Don’t dwell on the negative or on being sad. You can end up in that space for hours, and to what end?

2. Love and laughter are the answer – laughing trumps tears every time.

3. Drink champagne and celebrate all the things you have to be grateful for and happy about. Life is an adventure – always drink to that.

On a final note though, I’ve realised something else important – that I’m lucky to have even one person, let alone a few, who would shed a tear about me not being closer by, just as I shed a broken-hearted tear (or rather, several) over having to leave my dog behind. Is that really how my mum feels? It’s traumatising, but that’s a whole other post, unless I take my own advice written down here.

Fellow expats – what’s your experience saying goodbye? Do you have tips to share for those who are leaving and/or those that stay behind?

The end is the beginning – again – Travel Live Learn in London

Sarah Blinco London #TLL-London

Announcement – Travel Live Learn in London

We’re about to do something insane – again! It’s the same crazy manoeuvre which actually brought to life this space, originally named, “Sarah’s blog: Cool Britannia”, launched to share our expat experiences in London. For the past few months I’ve been bursting to announce something but needed to wait for one piece of paper – a very important document – the visa. It FINALLY came, and so here we go on another life-changing adventure. Honestly, it is overwhelming and not a decision we take lightly; but our hearts are in this big move, and the approval of my visa sparked a happy dance in the front yard. Fortunately the neighbours already know I’m a “unique character”.

We’re going back to England! Yay! And it’s no insignificant “yay” either, but a, “I’ve-been-waiting-since-the-day-we-left-London-to-go-back” kind of “yay”.

The move this time isn’t so straightforward though, with a more specialised visa requirement which had to be fulfilled (rather than the youth mobility visa which is fairly accessible if you’re under 31). My head’s already there, and my heart never left, but there’s been an anxious period this year – while this is what we want, it’s still really difficult telling loved ones and nice employers/clients/friends that you’re leaving. We’re so lucky to have people who don’t want us to go, but even though I feared the worst prior to each of these conversations, everyone’s proven to be supportive and kind. Not to mention most were not surprised – it seems my unconventional reputation precedes me.

It’s not so easy having your dream be so far away (“home” being Australia), and pursuing our various goals does come at a cost, which at times causes me quite a bit of anxiety, and even guilt. It’s a tough decision to move so far away – it’s not like a move from Cairns to Sydney, Edinburgh to London or even Vancouver to New York, for that matter (and they are big changes); there’s a reason people carefully consider trips to and from Australia – it’s a bloody long way from anything! It would be remiss however, to not follow the advice that I give others every day – life’s too short to not do what’s in your heart, particularly if you have the opportunity to do it, and with the support and companionship of your best friend. I’m lucky and extremely grateful.

I can’t wait to move back to London. The moving part this time is probably the easiest – we know where we want to live, what to do or not to do and with a second chance at it all, we’ll be sure to make the very best of it. We have to, you see, in honour of the goodbye tears that will be shed over the coming weeks.

On the exciting side of things, I’m looking forward to sharing it all with you too, as I secretly (or not so, now) harbour a desire to become a London expert. They say do and share something you’re passionate about – well, fellow fans and future fans of one of the greatest cities in the world – get ready to share the ride with me. It will be filled with colourful places, culture and vibrant people who also call London home; but aside from anything, the story and this space will be abundant with love and passion – for life, for opportunity and for adventure. Thanks as always for your support. Be true to yourselves regardless of how weird or unique you and your aspirations are. Remember, if you’re stuck on a life mantra, you’re free to adopt mine: Travel. Live. Learn.

Have you gone through this roller-coaster ride on your path to expat life? Or are you considering taking the leap but apprehensive? I’d love for you to drop a comment below -Sarah