There’s definitely a cliché for this. Probably many. Still, I wasn’t prepared for the emotional goodbye with the best of our friends from the past few months in Sydney. And the several hours – days, rather – that followed with a strange, empty feeling somewhere in my gut. The goodbyes took place in a parking lot behind the information centre in Thames, New Zealand. Someone, at some point, voiced the thought that this was entirely the wrong setting for something like this, but I disagree. In the otherwise deserted lot, our individual cars ready to take us to our respective destinations, it seemed the perfect place to go our separate ways. It reminded me, in some ways, of another life-changing goodbye, one that took place on a moving metro train in Athens.
There were tears, more than I expected, from others and myself. With a couple of exceptions, everyone who I really cared about from my life in Sydney was assembled in this parking lot, parting at the end of one of the best weekends you could imagine. A weekend at a friend’s cottage on the beach had been followed by potentially The Best Monday of All Time – a full day canyoning trip through Sleeping Gods Canyon near Thames. This epic day was full of abseiling, waterfalls, cliff jumping, and general awesomeness. It was at the end of all of this that finally, we said goodbye.
The rest of the crew split up, a couple were spending another couple of nights on the beach, a couple more hanging around Auckland for job interviews and tattoos, and a couple of others were heading back to Sydney in the morning. They’ll all be back in Sydney now, and I have no doubt the schemes for drinks and parties and missions are well under way. Sydney certainly wouldn’t have been the same without our crew, and the amazing times we’ve had are pretty much unforgettable. I’m lucky enough to have forged friendships with some amazing people, people who I have no doubt I’ll meet up with again, perhaps in Cusco, perhaps in Vancouver. Already can’t wait for the next adventure!
Tim and I drove towards the centre of the North Island, and prepared for the beginning of our solo adventure through New Zealand for the next few weeks.