Almost Fearless

Good-bye in the City

GUEST POST: While I am on the road this week and exploring Madrid, I’ve arranged for some of my favorite travel bloggers to share their travel stories and advice here. So enjoy, give our guest bloggers lots of love and be sure to check out the author’s site.

Saying Goodbye, leaving your city, moving, travelling

Moving is a seriously big deal and I know of what I speak. In the last twenty years, the longest I have ever lived in the same apartment or house is two years. Seriously! In those two decades, I have lived in five cities (and one small town) in four countries on three continents. Trust me. I’m an expert at leaving.

So you are about to embark on your big adventure and there’s a whole list of things to do. Give notice on your apartment. Check. Cancel the cable. Check. Research new home city like mad. Check. But are you ready to say goodbye to this place you’ve called home for the last two or twenty years?

Even those with a low need for “closure” will benefit from saying good-bye in the way that is right for them. Some ideas for a more meaningful leaving:

1. Be a tourist in your own city
Think about all of those cool places in your city that you always wanted to visit but could never find the time. Make a list and start right now. Have a picnic in the park with your dogs. Spend an afternoon at the modern art museum or the aquarium. Tour your town on a double-decker bus filled with people from all over the world.

2. Photographic Memories
They say a picture is worth a thousand words; make that two thousand for those of us who live “away”. Take digital photos of your favourite people and places including the interior and exterior of your home. Some of these photos might even end up on the wall (or fridge) of your new place. If you don’t already use Flickr, open an account so that you can access your photos from anywhere and share shots of your new home(s) with friends.

3. A Meal to Remember
Make a list of your five favourite restaurants and enjoy a good-bye meal at each one before you go. Invite friends to join you. Introduce your friends to each other. This is also a perfect time to ask the chef at your favourite place for the recipe for her famous hollandaise sauce… because you are moving and Sunday mornings just won’t be the same without those Eggs Benedict.

4. Party!
If no one is planning a going-away party, host it yourself. Invite all of the really yummy people in your life and choose a cheesy theme if that’s your thing. Sing karaoke or grill burgers in your back yard. Go golfing or camping with your group of best friends. The important thing is to celebrate your friendships and relationships by having an amazing time together. Give your camera to a trusted friend and ask him or her to serve as photographer for the event.

5. Show Gratitude
This good-bye is also difficult for the people in your life. Make time to tell the members of your tribe how much you appreciate them… and how much you will miss having them in your life every day. Say it with a bouquet of lilies, a letter written in your big loopy handwriting or a bottle of their favourite wine. Nothing says, “I dig you” like homemade chocolate chip cookies.

Other Ideas:

  • Worried about losing touch? How about ordering Moo Cards printed with your new address, e-mail, and blog address. (No blog yet… start one!)
  • Do you live near water? You could write goodbye in the sand in letters big enough to be read from space. How about setting afloat a message in a bottle… it could be an ode to your hometown or, for the non-poets, a list of things for which you are grateful.
  • There’s no law that says you have to sell every object you have ever owned. Keep what’s precious and decide what you’d like to take with you as a daily reminder of home. I have a (seriously tacky) red ceramic bull from Barcelona and you can bet that, when we next move, that bull will be stowed away in my carry-on luggage to remind me of Spain.

Creating meaningful good-bye rituals will allow you to stay connected to the place and people you are from and still be fully present where you are, without thinking back and wishing that you’d done it differently.

We’d love to hear about your good-bye rituals.

About the Author:

Monna McDiarmid, a Canadian teacher and counselor, has been living abroad for ten years and blogging for just two. She currently lives in Barcelona with her partner in a small piso decorated with photographs of their travels and a small red ceramic bull. You can visit her blog at Teacher Meets World.

Photo: JensChapter3

Christine Gilbert

I’ve been dragging my husband around the world since 2008 always with the promise that, “Yes, Drew there will definitely be hammocks there.”



  • Although I don’t move as often, I do have a goodbye ritual sort of each time I fly internationally. A big addict of Pad Thai (extra spicy!), I always stop by one of my favorite Thai restaurants en route to the airport with family.

    Lolas last blog post..Co-editing gig at Matador Goods

  • My good bye ritual is sushi. I usually go out with a bang!

    I’m being a tourist in my own city right now as it is probably the last time I’ll be in Boston for a long time. Being a tourist isn’t bad as you get to see all the stuff you take for granted!

    Nomadic Matts last blog post..The Right Backpack

  • I’m making lists of places to see and restaurants to visit before I move. Isn’t it amazing how we don’t truly appreciate our homes until we leave them?

    K.Raes last blog post..Krocha: WTF?