About farewells and arrivals

Here I am again, backpack on my back, hugging my parents goodbye. Awaiting me: Hong Kong. Crowds of people, skyscrapers and my home-to-be for the coming 6 months.

The farewell from friends and family is hard, definitely tougher than expected. This makes me wonder: why do I leave again? I just started settling down in Tilburg, got used to frikandellen and Sinterklaas and started to call the Netherlands ‘home’.

I am not going on exchange because it is my first chance to leave the known behind. Neither was Hong Kong, or even China, on my mental must-see list. Is it simply the knowledge that it will never again be so easy to break free from my everyday life? Or is Herman Hesse right by stating that every beginning holds a special kind of magic? Is it this ‘Fernweh’, the aching for distance places?

I guess all of these reasons play a role. Yet, evaluating myself critically, I have to admit that there is more: the super saturation of living in an affluent society; the boredom of an easy and carefree life. Without being asked for my reasons to go away again (a rather unusual question compared to many ‘wow’s and ‘awesome’s), I would have never come up with the topic for this article. Still, in this writing process I realized how important it is to confront oneself with exactly this question: why do I have this urge to go away? What are my motives?

Not only does answering this question help us in gaining a better understanding of ourselves, it is also a relevant issue from a societal perspective: at the moment, millions of people are leaving their homes behind in order to start a new life they do not really want to begin. Obviously, there are many different reasons for farewells and new beginnings. But what consequences do those variations have? Should they influence our behavior towards those leaving and arriving? What role will those differences play in the future?

I have no answer to this question. Still, in the coming months I should have enough time to confront myself more thoroughly with this topic.

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