Just when I think I’m getting good at goodbyes a new one rips my heart open. Last June I left Melbourne cheery and eager start my next adventure. This time, tears came three days before my departure from Nhulunbuy.
I wasn't crying because of all the ridiculously hot days, the boring days, or the drunkards that plagued my life there. I cried because somehow I felt like I belonged. Like people cared about me. I cried because I was leaving behind my community.
In Melbourne I had friends. Some traveler friends. Some work friends. Some gym friends. They just seeed so disjointed that I almost had to schedule my time on a Rolodex. It didn't feel like a community.
In Nhulunbuy friends were a default part of The Territory (pun intended). Work, errands and attending community events almost always involved personal chats. Even if I wasn't a willing participant, social time was anytime. No schedules necessary.
There all my social circles intertwined. A friend of a friend lent her car to a group of co-workers and me for a road trip. A friend of a friend organized my first singing gig and a friend of a friend painted my Ukelele.
Even before I knew what was happening, I wrote in my first journal: “Nhulunbuy is wrapping its arms around me so tight I don't want to let go. Each day shows me its beauty or leaves me amazed with how wonderful people can be. It feels like they care so much and yet it feels effortless.”
Three months later my sentiment hadn't changed. I walked away from Nhulunbuy teary eyed because it felt like I was leaving a part of my family. I feel confident it was the right time for me to go but I also feel confident that I one day I will return.