so long, farewell

November 5th. That was the last time I had my own space when it came to bedtime. Not that I have been sleeping around for the last two and a bit months, oh no. It’s just that I’ve been sleeping in hostel dormitories, hotel rooms and guest houses in the company of other people in that time. Granted, I’ve had my own room since arriving at the apartment of a friend of my sisters here in Sydney, but I’ve still been in the company of Dave who has quite often fallen asleep on the sofa watching television just outside my bedroom door. As great as it has been to have this fantastic apartment, it’s still not given me any time by myself. Until now.

It’s been a non stop roller coaster ride of socialising since touch down Brisbane some fifty or so days ago. Even before flying out down under I spent a few weeks getting to know my travel buddy, Basingstoke Pat, properly. What I’m trying to get across is that since that November 5th date where I had a room of my own at base camp on Kinabalu, I haven’t stopped talking! For someone that admitted right back at the start of the trip that I enjoyed my own company from time to time, this has been a hell of an experience sharing my life so closely with people. The only restbite from chin-wagging about life, cricket, travel, the past and the future plus every other topic you can think of, has been when I’ve been sleeping. The thing that has surprised me is that, minus the odd restless night from a dorm mate snoring, I’ve loved every single bit of it.

The reason I am surprised that I’ve enjoyed it so much is because where I was at before I left the UK back in October. I had my own flat where I lived and fended for myself alone for three and a half years. I’ve been single for a similar period of time, quite happily enjoying the sense of freedom that not being tied down in a relationships gives you. I would always socialise hard with my mates around the football, or say a day playing golf. It would nearly always be me looking to arrange a spontaneous night out on the piss or a weekend away. But after all of that work hard, play hard mentality, I’d still love the feeling of turning my phone off and chilling in my own space for a period of time. Getting back in the swing of being ‘by myself’ again will no doubt be strange at first, but I’m intrigued to see how I find it after that original shock period.

I’ve spent the last few days doing something that I seem to do a lot of – saying farewell to people. These farewells have bought many mixed emotions. Through experience it’s safe to say I’m getting used to doing ‘bon voyages’ now. All I seem to have done since my last few weeks in the UK back in Hereford is meet up with people, spend some time with them before having a hug goodbye before saying something along the lines of ‘see you soon’. Like in any walk of life, some are harder than others. If you just meet someone in a hostel in the middle of Asia and spend a day or two in their company visiting some tourist site or share a beer or two down a local bar, then the farewell is simple. If you got upset over these types of farewells then you’d never spend anything more than a fortnight away from what you consider home. There are some people you know you will see again soon. Dave has booked a trip into Bombay the same day as me for the cricket world cup that begins in just over six weeks time. When you know you are seeing someone again that soon, a farewell is hardly that emotional. There are others that I may not see for years or others that I may never see again – several regular cricket tourists that I have spent a number of weeks and months with over the years touring have said that this may be their last. For them beating Australia in the manner we have is the pinnacle of following England abroad. One of the problems of the international cricket world is only nine teams play test cricket. Tours come round again and for some, they just don’t fancy revisiting places they already have happy memories of. All of which is cool. Having a common interest such as the cricket means that we’ll always stay in contact, no matter how often we tour together in future. Interestingly some of the most supportive people of me and this blog are people that I have met on cricket tours but haven’t seen for years face to face….the joys of facebook and email.

I was too pissed to get emotional about saying goodbye to Steph back in Play nightclub, likewise several of my mates earlier that night in the pub. I can’t actually remember the details of saying goodbye to some people thanks to the effects of mixing springbok shots and Stowfords Press cider. The only one that really got me ‘started’ was my Mum at Gatwick. To be honest I’d be a bit worried if I didn’t get a bit upset about saying farewell to the best Mother a boy could ask for. Today though I had another one that has taken me by surprise.

I’m not going to go into too much detail for private reasons, but saying goodbye to Loz today was heart wrenching. Yes that’s right, the girl I first met up with back in Adelaide that went on to put me up over Christmas in her home town of Melbourne, booked a flight to spend a few days with me here in Sydney. I’m going to write a shit load about the cricket side of Australia when I get to Ho Chi Minh City tomorrow; but for now I feel the need to write about this as she has played a huge part in my experience of Australia. It also ties in with what is at the forefront of my mind at the moment, which should be obvious by now from reading this entry. I thought I could deal with saying goodbyes to practically anybody now without getting upset. After all, as I have explained above it’s something I deal with on the road on a day to day basis. But there was something today more than just your average goodbye. It hurt, and still does writing this now. At least it proves to myself that I’ve still got a proper heart and haven’t become detached from the feelings that you sometimes forget exist whilst visiting some of the amazing places while living out of a backpack.

For now I’m going to pour a glass of white wine and reflect some more on the past seven weeks before telling you all about it over the next few weeks whilst dosing round Vietnam.


4 Responses to “so long, farewell”

  1. 1 donna
    January 10, 2011 at 10:28 am

    Deeply personal and beautiful blog.

  2. 2 Martin Chapple
    January 10, 2011 at 12:31 pm

    Nice one Rich, respec’!

  3. 3 Surrey Bob
    January 10, 2011 at 5:52 pm

    Brilliant piece of emotive writing Rich

  4. 4 Marko
    January 10, 2011 at 10:00 pm

    Farewells? White wine? Man up, Rich! 😉

    Only joking mate, very nice stuff. BTW, it’s your round first when you get back – the Saracen’s Head is calling!

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