|Bird off the coast of Koh Yao Noi, Thailand.
So NewMan has left me for Japan and I am all alone in Melbourne.
This is a complete lie.
I am actually staying with NewMan's (and my) good friend from London. He just moved back to Melbourne, his home city and he and his family are looking after me. Literally. Never before have I been so astounded by the kindness, generosity and good cooking of semi-strangers.
So while I was preparing for five days of solitude before my flight to New Zealand, in actual fact I will be busier than ever with a one day drive down the Great Ocean Road planned, a city full of sights to see and two good friends who moved here from London to have coffee and wine with. And then I fly to New Zealand to spend two weeks in a campervan on the road with my best friend.
Rather than worrying about missing NewMan, I'm actually now worried that I possibly won't miss him at all.
Of course, I will notice that he is not there by my side where he was been for the last three months, but I have to admit that this time apart will be good for both of us. It's not healthy to be persistently in someone's pocket and personal space for three months or more without a break. At least, that is my unromantic opinion.
I've also learnt after more than 100 nights away from home that missing people (in that gut-wrenching, heart-yanking, mind-blurring kind of way) is very dependent on a number of factors and when you are busy, constantly experiencing new things, always on the move and continuously forward thinking and planning, it's actually quite hard to really miss someone. Or rather, it's hard to take the time to reflect and realise that you really miss someone.
I have referred previously to missing my family at Christmas and of course there are those that I miss everyday and the gut-wrenches do creep in, especially when I have long, lovely Skype chats (love you, Mum). Yet the very nature of travel can be very kind to the traveller who has left loved ones behind. If you choose to let it, only too easily travel can fill up innumerable hours and days and weeks with the new, the exciting and often the challenging, thereby ensuring under most circumstances that time spent contemplating and dwelling upon who is not there is limited.
Don't forget that travel is also (usually) a journey with an end and this end often brings you home to those you have missed. It's very difficult to describe how good for you that heart-filling feeling of being reunited with someone you love is.
In this very way travel will also bring me back to NewMan in three weeks time.
Oh travel, you are wonderful.
Frances M. Thompson
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