Waking up was a quiet affair. I got my last hot chocolate, and Mia passed on some words to me. I retrieved my letter and gave it to her. She hid behind the truck to read it, calling me over for a good-bye hug, and a few whispered phrases. It was a silent morning as I ate my three pieces of toast. Everyone was quiet. Everyone knew the end was here.
And I think we also knew that we'd get over it, and that we'd adapt. And that was perhaps just as worrying. Sure we might meet again in the future – but not all together, and not like this. This was a moment to remember, and a moment to try and keep. But you couldn't. Because in an hour, Raymond and Mia would peel away in their truck, an hour after that, others would leave to go rafting, and an hour after that, I would make my way to Jollyboy's hostel.
Silence had fallen.
“But you know what I hated?! When I had to crawl up bloody Dune 45! If I never climb another dune, that's fine! That's perfect!” I shouted out. And conversation rose up. And the quiet morning became one of talking, and shooting each other with water guns, and saying our final goodbyes. Don't be sad because we're parting, instead be happy that we met.
Was I not gifted with that phrase on a new years eve, years ago... well a lot of things would have been harder than they had to be.
And then Raymond and Mia left.
And then others left to go Rafting.
And then I pulled up to Jollyboy's Hostel.
From 11 to noon I wrote in my journal, finishing up the entries. And then at 12 I was allowed into my room. I plugged in my laptop and started to write some blogs until I passed out at three, for two hours. And then I woke up and wrote more blogs. Until I passed out around eight.
And that was that. The tour was over. All things had come to an end.
And it hit me – the things that I would miss were some of the little things, some of the observations that seemed not to be important, and so I never wrote about them. They were simply the background of the trip always there, always taken for granted:
Christoph's Laugh (Guha! Guha! Guha!)
Chef's hot chocolate, always there
Hamish's friendshp. 18 years old, known for three weeks – yet he was a close buddy.
The Rachel, Anne, Hamish, and I connection- broken when Anne left
Courtney's friendship, which I took far too long to grasp
Naming the action figures Erin gave Hamish on Christmas Robby and Anne
Though I don't say it, I still think of the truck as a bus
The Family (Court, Bridge, Mitch, and Helen) always so close and happy
Mark reminded me so much of Nick. Mark-o-pedia and Mya-pedia never fought to the death
Mia(Mya)'s love of birds became infectious
The first time you see a new animal you love it – but then it gets old and boring, though you'll still take pictures if you can fill the frame with it
Raymond was... Raymond
“It's not a fucking bus” points – Helen lost
Christoph and Danny trying to put up tents faster than Hamish and I
Joining a trip half way must be really hard as connections and jokes have formed
Just being near people, knowing you can talk if you want to, but not feeling the need
Learning that a Nemesis can be a great person
Swimming, loved it all the time
“Hurray!” on/off the bus
Manning the bus mic with Hamish
Signing Loch Loman with Hamish
Lion King songs
Before we all went our separate way, as Mia and Raymond pulled away, we sung in Solomon tones, Yellow Submarine one last time. Who could have perceived what it would have come to represent.
Chef, you will be missed.