Leaving a friend behind can be awkward, but sometimes it’s the right thing to do.
Deciding to travel alone for the first time
Australia, I’d dreamed of visiting for such a long time and back in 2002, a friend and I were going to spend our student loans travelling Down Under once our course had finished; only it didn’t work out like that. She had spent most of her loan and couldn’t afford the ticket anymore. I was disappointed that my dream was going to be put on hold again. However, my friend suggested we travel around Europe instead and I reluctantly agreed. Reluctant only because I was desperate to visit someplace new. As the weeks went by, more people were joining our trip to Europe, I say “people” because they weren’t my friends, I didn’t even know some of them yet somehow I was becoming responsible for organising the whole thing – I have no idea how that happened. I was unhappy and had a bad feeling about the whole trip; I knew I had to do something before it was too late.
Leaving a friend behind
I started researching my dream trip again – it was a welcome distraction to working on my coursework! I went to speak to the guys in STA Travel, I hadn’t travelled solo before, so I was a little nervous, to say the least. STA were fantastic and before I knew it, I was looking at a RTW ticket, taking me to Australia, New Zealand and Fiji; at the time I’d not even considered going anywhere in addition to Australia. I was filled with nervous excitement but at the same time felt incredibly guilty about letting my friend down; although she had other friends going with her to Europe and I was really just sticking to the plan, right? Besides, I knew if I went, I wouldn’t be happy and I sensed that the European trip wasn’t going to work out.
The awkward moment
I met my friend in the student union, bought her a drink and told her the news. She took it very well, told me she understood and was supportive; I appreciated that a lot. The guilt lifted and I could concentrate on completing my studies and planning my trip. After holding our own mini graduation celebration, we both went our separate ways during the summer but remained in contact and continued to be friends.
Was it worth it?
It was a difficult decision, but it was one of the best decisions I have made and I’m grateful for the events that happened that pushed me to make that decision, because that trip changed me, in a good way. I returned home, a much more confident person. So leaving a friend behind wasn’t such a bad thing to do.
So that was my awkward moment when I left a friend behind to go travel solo; have you ever faced the same dilema? Would you leave a friend behind to follow your dream?