The Journey Begins With Goodbye

It’s in the moment of goodbye I am assaulted by the depth of my bonds. I held my mother in what would be the last opportunity for months – emotions washed over me. There was gratitude for the time we spent together, sadness to be moving away from her, and fear in leaving behind the comfort of a peaceful place and transitioning into the unknown. Tears streamed down my face.


I had variations of this emotional goodbye with my sister, father, brother in law, nieces, work mates, and chess friends. I’m grateful to have relationships that elicit these deep responses. It feels so good to feel – even when that feeling is sadness.

For over a week I pleaded with the Indian Embassy to process my visa and send back my passport, receiving only robotic answers and feeble placations.  In a final hour miracle, my passport arrived on my doorstep. I take this as a good omen. Everything is going to be just fine – even if just barely.


I’m hopping back on my bicycle, riding from Nepal to Thailand. I’ll ride through India, Burma, Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam in the meantime. I will share my stories along the way. I’m sure there will be stories.


The sun is rising on this new journey. I’m ready for the day.


21 thoughts on “The Journey Begins With Goodbye

  1. I’m glad to hear you are a little nervous. That means you’ll be alert. All your “fans” will love hearing about your stories and experiences returning to the homelands. Be careful but live fully. Bon

  2. So excited to hear all about your journey and new adventures. Wish we could have seen you before you left. You’ll be in our thoughts and prayers daily. Godspeed!
    Love, Liz & Tim

  3. Miss you already my friend! I love reading your blog already! Safe travels and god bless!
    Your favorite receptionist,

  4. Matt,
    So very glad our visit to Charlotte happened before you left on your new adventure. Good, good seeing and visiting with you. Will watch your travels closely and have you in my heart.
    Love you, Jane (and Dave)

  5. Mateo… buena suerte…. Hope you have an awesome time in your journey… we owed ourselves a beer, whenever yiu cone back.. Cilena

  6. Hi Matt. My son took a year long trip going to Katmandu .. one stop was Nepal to visit his girlfriend who was in the Peace Corps there.

    I Skype with your mom most weeks, doing DA Inquiries.

    Just wanted to send you a cheerful Bon Voyage,

  7. I don’t remember how I know you… but you are on my facebook feed. I am looking forward to following your journey and wish you blessings along the way. premi

  8. We need to travel. If we don’t offer ourselves to the unknown, our senses dull.
    Our world becomes small and we lose our sense of wonder. Our eyes don’t lift to the horizon; our ears don’t hear the sounds around us. The edge is off our experience, and we pass our days in a routine that is both comfortable and limiting.
    We wake up one day and find we have lost our dreams in order to protect our days

    The fear of the unknown and the lure of the comfortable will conspire to keep you from taking the chances the traveler has to take. But if you take them, you will never regret your choice. To be sure, there will be moments of doubt …
    In the end, you will be so much richer, so much stronger, so much clearer, so much happier, and so much better a person that all the risk and hardship will seem like nothing compared to the knowledge you have gained.
    Kent Nerburn (1999) Letters to My Son

    Traveling Mercies for you, all the way, day and night, Matt.

  9. Matt, sorry about the news from the USA regarding the presidential election.
    Initially I thought the entire planet would sigh with relief that a stable leader, Hillary Clinton, was elected. I imagine you will have conversations with some fellow travelers about the election. As President Obama said this morning,
    “We wish Mr Trump success as President”.

    Bless you and hope you are having a good day today.

  10. Hi Matt, remember me? I’m Manuel the guy originally from Argentina. We share the empty cabin of a plane , in our travel from Philly to Doha . I din’t see any post after Nov 4 . I wonder how You ere doing .

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