Saying Goodbye – My Least Favorite Part of Travel

Ever cling to your loved one for one lingering hug and kiss before heading out the door?

I do this. A lot.

Because I travel. A lot.

Even with routine travel as part of my life for many years, the “saying good-bye” is always my least favorite part. Though I’ve learned that it’s much easier to say good-bye from our front door when only one of us is saying good-bye. Much easier!

As a dual-traveling couple, my husband and I have learned that it is not so easy:

– saying good-bye when one of us jumps out of a cab while the other continues on (and having a cab driver witness our quick goodbye is just creepy!);

– saying good-bye as one of us hops off an airport rental car bus when our terminal is reached (hopefully with the right suitcase in the haste), while the other continues on to their own terminal;

– heading down the jetway to board a flight while the other watches and waits, before heading over to their own flight;

– when one wakes up, showers, packs and quietly walks out the hotel door while the other stays snuggled under the covers.

And now our latest way of a heart-stabbing good-bye – at the airport as one of us is on the way in while the other is on the way out.


We met at the Delta Sky Club airport lounge at MCO. Gratefully my husband’s flight from Minneapolis to Orlando was only somewhat delayed due to weather. Much later and we’d have a full month apart with only visions of each other over Skype.

As it was, we only had a very short time before I had to start my journey to Europe.

Enough time to:

  • Compare notes on the snowy weather in Minneapolis vs. Norway
  • Tell him the chores I did at home and which I left for him
  • Tell him that I didn’t leave much food in the fridge (unless New Year leftovers from 11 days prior count)
  • Share a quick beverage, and
  • Begin dreading “the good-bye”

We headed out of the lounge. Like two teenagers looking for a hideaway to make out, we looked for a corner where at least we wouldn’t get trampled by the incoming throng of Disney-bound passengers. We found a tall potted plant, or maybe it was an ATM machine. I was oblivious. I do know that we were across from Nathan’s Hot Dogs. Great … the way to my heart is through my stomach.

There we were, Bruce and I (and Nathan), with a never-ending stream of roller bags and their owners, with kids and strollers, saying our I-love-you’s as we said goodbye for a few weeks.

He walked away, his head was down. I started for my gate. I turned around for one last wave, though he was already gone.

Saying good-bye at the front door is so much easier, and I am ever so grateful I have someone so dear to say good-bye to.

I’d love to hear your travel good-bye stories. They are a part of each of our trips and yet the stories are so seldom told.

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  1. On Sunday we had to say goodbye to our Brazilian exchange student, Hector, who was flying home after spending 4 1/2 months with our family. It was tough. My 7-year-old son, who grew pretty close to Hector, said he hoped Hector would miss his flight so that he could stay with us.

    Fortunately, we have Skype and WhatsApp to keep in touch regularly. Plus, by good fortune and coincidence, my work will take me São Paulo next month, and I should have a day to spend with *his* family.

  2. How wonderful that you’ve expanded your son’s world by bringing an exchange student into your home! Though yes, heart-wrenching for all of you when Hector boarded his flight back home. Thank goodness for the face-to-face capabilities today!

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