As a career freelancer and modern nomad, one would think that saying good-bye is easy. Both personally and professionally, I have been forced to pack up my belongings and move to the next place of opportunity more times than I can count. And it always hurts.
The season with my most recent employer has come to an end and most of the people that have been so kind to me are moving on to the next adventure. The paragliding pilots that I have come to love are all chasing the winds to Napal. The other tour guides that I met will either be going home or on some extended vacation to other far-off lands. I will be staying in Germany, trying to break into traditional employment.
|The Mike's Bike Tours Crew|
On my final tour to Neuschwanstein Castle,the weather gods were kind and made that last day beautiful. The sun shined brightly behind the clouds which framed the Alps perfectly. The air was crisp and sweet.
I hiked around Alps Lake, trying to create the perfect farewell image in my head. I smelled the grass, touched the trees, and put my feet in the icy cold water. I already had a ton of pictures on my camera, but they seemed insufficient. I wanted a way to save the experience, not just the sights.
Lottie, a woman who stuffed me full of her homemade German soul food all summer, hugged me good-bye. And I thanked Harti, the owner of the paragliding school and restaurant, for all the free beer he supplied.
And right when I thought I felt the first tear starting to fall down my chubby cheek, I thought of a line from American Beauty's protagonist, Lester Burnham:
"Sometimes I feel like I'm seeing it all at once, and it's too much, my heart fills up like a balloon that's about to burst... And then I remember to relax, and stop trying to hold on to it, and then it flows through me like rain and I can't feel anything but gratitude for every single moment of my stupid little life"
In that instant, my sadness turned to joy. This summer was one of the best I've had in a long time. And I'm so grateful I have these memories, these moments, to add to my stupid little life.