Goodbye, America

Written by on August 22, 2012 in Asia, Blog, Expat Life, Maryland, Thailand - 24 Comments

I’m quiet on the drive to Dulles from my house.

I’ve already cried saying goodbye to the pups, and now, staring out the window as the suns rays just begin to kiss the tops of the trees, I hold back tears.

I’m leaving America. I am leaving the life I know.

I don’t take my eyes off of my surroundings as we drive, but my mind wanders back through the past few months. Through my Las Vegas life, my road trip, coming home to spend time with my friends and family in Maryland, my last night in America … moments flash before me as I tuck the memories, the images, into the back of my mind to pull up when I feel my heart ache.

Packing for life as an expat

The original plan is to drop me off at Departures. But now, after an entire day spent sorting and packing and unpacking and sorting and then vacuum packing (and tears), I’ve managed to convince my parents to park the car and head into ticketing with me.

I’m just not ready to say goodbye.

We head to United’s international ticketing counter, hidden on the other side of the ticketing row and I check my 70-pound bag (yes, it’s heavy … I’ve packed everything I could ever want for a year into it), and then slowly, slowly, my mom, dad and I walk to the security check point.

I feel the sobs bubble in my chest, my vision gets blurred with tears.

Just come with me. Just move to Thailand with me.

And, then, I just let go. I don’t care who sees me. I cry. Hard. In the middle of Dulles. Early in the morning. My parents hug me, wrapping their arms around me and squeezing, squeezing, squeezing.

“We’re so proud of you,” they both whisper into my ears. “We love you so much. Go and cherish every moment you have.”

We pull away, exchange looks and laugh/sigh at our state: watery eyes, smiles on our faces.

Celebration and sad at the same time. Bittersweet.

And then, I head through security and begin my exit from America.

About the Author

Diana Edelman is a travel writer and expat currently residing in Chiang Mai, Thailand. She is a former career breaker and long term solo traveler. Today, she helps promote responsible elephant tourism and is the co-founder of #RTTC, a weekly chat on Twitter focusing on responsible tourism. When she isn’t writing, Diana handles the PR and social media for Save Elephant Foundation, which runs the popular Elephant Nature Park. Her writing as appeared in About.com, Thought Catalog, The Huffington Post, Matador Network, Travel + Escape, Luna Luna, Vegas Seven, World Nomads, Viator, CheapOair, OneTravel and more.

24 Comments on " Goodbye, America "

  1. Giora August 22, 2012 at 10:59 pm · Reply

    Goodbye Diana and find happiness wherever you go. And you have a place if you’ll ever visit Toronto. And because we share same heritage .. Shalom.

    • Diana August 22, 2012 at 11:49 pm · Reply

      Gloria, thank you very much. If I ever find myself in Toronto, I will definitely let you know.

  2. Abbie August 22, 2012 at 11:02 pm · Reply

    I love that your parents told you to enjoy it and that they are proud of you – mine don’t understand why I would want to move to a different state, much less another country! And for what it’s worth, I think there are lots of us proud of you, too :)

    • Diana August 22, 2012 at 11:48 pm · Reply

      That means a lot to me, Abbie. Thank you. I am really, really lucky to have parents who support me 100 percent. They may miss me, but, as they say “it is your life. You live it for you.” So, I listen. :)

  3. Dani Blanchette August 22, 2012 at 11:14 pm · Reply

    IM GOING TO MISS YOU!!!!!!!!!! Im so sorry i didn’t get back in time to say goodbye, but now i will just have to come to Thailand to visit!

    • Diana August 22, 2012 at 11:48 pm · Reply

      Awww. I wish we could have had another wine date before I left. So, yeah. Guess you’re going to have to come to Thailand to visit. Kidnap Abby and bring her, too!

  4. Charu August 22, 2012 at 11:35 pm · Reply

    i applaud you for being so brave. Although I left India when I was 16, I came to the US to go to college and wasn’t so torn about leaving home—I was actually more excited. But now that I’m growing older, I wonder if I could do a repeat performance. Very courageous of you to grab the bull by the horns and go for it, D!

    • Diana August 22, 2012 at 11:47 pm · Reply

      Thank you so much, Charu!

  5. lem August 23, 2012 at 4:22 am · Reply

    I can relate to this post so much. The first time I left home for an “indefinite” period with a one-way ticket I was so emotional. My last night at home I literally curled up in bed with my mom and cried my eyes out. It’s easier now, I stay in touch with my family and my friends by skype, so I can see all their lovely faces. I beg them to write me emails telling about their lives at home. They always ask me why I would want to hear about “all that boring stuff” and I tell them that if I was at home we would have these everyday conversations, we would talk about their jobs, kids, partners or whatever else was going on in their lives, and that is how and why we are friends and family, how we keep the intimacy of our relationships, by sharing all that “boring, everyday stuff”. It helps the homesickness for me. Thanks for sharing your experience, I hope your time in Thailand is amazing, it’s such a beautiful country.

    • Diana August 28, 2012 at 9:28 pm · Reply

      I’m so glad you can relate! I remember the first time I moved far away from home, the first night it hit me (the day I signed a lease and accepted a job in Las Vegas), I curled up in bed with my mom and sobbed. Staying in touch via Skype and other voice communications is a bit difficult as most of my friends and family are 11 to 14 hours behind, but social media and email really helps me stay connected. And, you are right — Thailand is a beautiful country!

  6. Bret @ Green Global Travel August 23, 2012 at 10:40 am · Reply

    Beautiful, Diana. Sad to see you go, yet so very happy for you finally finding your purpose. We are literally meeting with Thailand’s Tourism Board in an hour. How ironic would it be if we FINALLY met on the other side of the world. Hoping to see you (and your sweet elephants) soon!

    • Diana August 28, 2012 at 9:26 pm · Reply

      Thank you! I hope you do end up in Thailand so we can finally meet. That would be amazing!!

  7. Pete August 23, 2012 at 4:15 pm · Reply

    Getting the first foot on the plane was the most difficult thing for us to do as well. But now, it just gets easier. What’s tough is when making a brief stop back in homeland and our 5 year old niece, in her most charming voice, asks us to never leave again…

    And 70 pounds? Holy eff. I don’t think our checked luggage and carry on combined even comes close to that :)

    • Diana August 28, 2012 at 9:25 pm · Reply

      I had my niece tell me that, too. Never easy to do that! I know … luggage was HEAVY! But, I moved to a stationary life so wanted to have some creature comforts. Traveling, I will bring only a carry-on!

  8. Federico August 23, 2012 at 5:11 pm · Reply

    See, I on the other hand find it so easy to hope on a plane and leave…it’s what I look forward to!

    • Diana August 28, 2012 at 9:24 pm · Reply

      I love getting on a plane and leaving — there is that excitement … that pulsing in your entire body of the unexpected adventure you are about to embark upon. But, at the same time, at least as it relates to leaving my family and old life, there is that little piece of sad.

  9. Marc August 23, 2012 at 7:13 pm · Reply

    As I’ve been told, it’s awesome to move far away. I love it and so will you. I’m stoked to be able to follow your travels. It already seems like you’re having fun. Keep it up! :)

    • Diana August 28, 2012 at 9:23 pm · Reply

      I am loving it so far!!! Definitely have no plans to stop any time soon!

  10. Audrey (@BackpackingTB) August 25, 2012 at 8:48 am · Reply

    Reminds me of my farewell to Canada! Lots of tearful embraces, but once I walked through immigration it was all excitement and adventures. :) I hope you’ve been enjoying Thailand thus far!

    • Diana August 29, 2012 at 4:04 am · Reply

      Exactly! Sad. Happy. Awesome. I am definitely enjoying Thailand!

  11. Rease August 25, 2012 at 6:50 pm · Reply

    I had a similar exit from America. My mom came in with me, but it was because I had 2 bags to check plus my dog. I wouldn’t let her go to security with me because she was already bawling, but she said she was prouder than me than any mom could be. I wouldn’t let myself cry yet because I had a flight to Miami, a 12 hour layover, then another 9 hours to Buenos Aires. I ended up breaking down completely in Miami when they almost didn’t let my dog on the plane. It wasn’t just that though, it was everything. I kept screaming (in Spanish) I AM MOVING TO BUENOS AIRES! I HAVE TO BRING MY DOG! HE’S MINE! HE’S MY DOG AND I AM MOVING TO ARGENTINA! I MADE A RESERVATION! I MADE A RESERVATION! I scared the shit out of the ticketing agent and made a damn fool out of myself. I cried all the way through security and on the plane. I called my mom right before I boarded and she begged me to just not get on and come home but I did it, and I have no regrets.

    • Diana August 28, 2012 at 9:23 pm · Reply

      I am so glad you got on that plane! Although, I cannot imagine the stress you were under at ticketing! I get stressed enough with ticket agents not sure about my bags getting to me or whether I will actually be allowed to get a visa on arrival because of my extended travels.

  12. Erica August 26, 2012 at 12:42 pm · Reply

    But you are there now and fabulous! I’m so happy you got on that plane!

    • Diana August 28, 2012 at 9:22 pm · Reply

      ME, TOO!!! <3

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