On this trip I’ve made several travel buddies, people who I’ve gotten close to for a day or two, but who once added to Facebook have inevitably been forgotten. It’s not easy to make true friends on the road because generally you simply don’t have the necessary time to build the foundations of a solid friendship before you or they have moved on. I’ve learnt recently, however, that it’s not impossible.

Today I said goodbye to a friend. I’ve been on the road for just under four months and of that time, four weeks has been spent building and nurturing a friendship that I suspect might last a lifetime. Today that friend left for England and I’ve no idea when I’ll see him again. Having spent pretty much all of our time together over the last few weeks, heading back to my apartment after an emotional goodbye at the bus station, left me feeling a little bereft.

As I often do when I’m feeling sad or lonely, I Skyped my Dad and after some tears from me and lots of reassurances from him, I started to feel a bit better, a little less alone and my thoughts turned to my plans for the rest of the evening namely what I was going to write about for today’s blog post.

My mind was blank, I had been so focused on my friend’s departure that I hadn’t given my blog a second thought all day and on asking my Dad for ideas, he suggested that my current feelings of sadness and loneliness were perfect material for a post. I gave it some thought but didn’t feel that I could write about something when I didn’t feel there was any lesson within it to be shared.

That’s when it dawned on me that there is always a lesson, something to be learnt or gained from any difficult situation. Today, right now, I have no idea what that lesson is but what I do know is that someday soon I will. That my current sadness will make sense to me, that there will be a silver lining or maybe even that my sadness at missing a good friend will spur me on to meet many more people here in Chiang Mai.

What I do know already is that I’ve never been through hard times without good times being just around the next corner. I’ve never been outside of my comfort zone without growing as a result and I’ve never gone through a difficult situation without a lesson to be learnt and as I write this I can in fact already see how saying goodbye to a friend today has made me feel grateful both for friendship and for the support of my Dad. Not bad, before the day is even out.