“A man who has been in another world does not come back unchanged.”

~C.S. Lewis, Perelandra 

I’ve never been very good at saying goodbye.

Be it people or places, I’m always all in, unpacking my bags and immersing myself in whatever time I may have somewhere. I carry with me the belief that this may be my only chance to “drink in every drop” – as I learned many years ago – which often makes the act of leaving especially bittersweet.

And so it was when it was time to say goodbye to the Galápagos. For a week, we had been dropped into a remote little world, seeing no one except our fellow shipmates and traveling only by zodiac. It was an exciting new routine of exploring landscapes I’d never seen and meeting animals I’d never encountered. It was a time of peaceful mornings on reflective waters and sunsets exploding over the horizon at the end of the day. To say that I was in awe is an understatement of the grandest kind.

I was especially struck by the humanity of the Galápagos birds and animals. In a place with few predators, they looked at us without fear or even curiosity. For those moments, we were simply part of their world. And for the most part, they all seemed to get along with each other, mingling on the rocks and building nests near other species. It may sound like a naïve observation, but these creatures seemed happy. Our human species might want to take a few notes here!

There are places in this world of ours where you feel a profoundly deep sense of gratitude to have trespassed. Dots on the globe where spending a few precious days leaves you with perspectives and insights that you never had before. Places where it’s impossible to identify a favorite moment because the entire experience is a favorite moment.

I left the Galápagos with the thought that somewhere between the world I had been immersed in and the world I was returning to, I had been a little bit changed. I felt fulfilled. Contented.

But that didn’t take even the tiniest amount of wistfulness out of saying goodbye.

12 Comments

  • THe best education I have ever received was not at school, college or at work but through travel. Meeting people from different backgrounds, cultures and views provides a clearer understanding of your own culture’s values, strengths and faults.

  • Thank you for taking us along on your marvelous adventure. Travel opens our eyes to a whole different world … so long as we’re willing to look.

    • Erin, I’ve been delighted to share this marvelous adventure, as you so perfectly call it! And I love your thought about the “willingness to look” when we travel. Thank you!

  • Mary, It has been such a pleasure to experience the Galapagos through your beautiful words and images. I look forward to your next adventure, wherever it is, I know you will capture it’s allure!

  • Many thanks for following along, Bob! I really appreciate your insights and kind comments. The Galápagos is quite the tough act to follow, but I love the thought of capturing allure, wherever we may find it 🙂

  • Thanks for such a poignant goodbye to the Galapagos. I so look forward to our visit and hope we are as lucky as you two in such great opportunities to see so many of our fellow creatures in their unspoiled habitat.

    • Eileen, I’m quite confident that your Galápagos experiences will be as rewarding as ours. The fabulous birds and animals are the islands’ main residents, and except for perhaps four islands, they are the only residents! It’s truly an honor to spend time in this remote and unique habitat. Please feel free to email me if you have any questions before you leave. Wishing you safe and happy travels!

  • Mary, Thank you again, for inviting us into your views, insights and camera lens! I’m amazed at your gorgeous fotos; your capturing incredible, up close details our camera doesn’t even come close to see! Also your eye for composition is evident everywhere you travel. Our daughter is a professional destination wedding photographer, and I recognize God-given talent when I see it.
    Safe travels on your next journey, and please don’t stop sharing with us all!
    Lovingly,
    Carol

  • Wow, Carol, what a lovely comment. You literally made my day! Thank you so much. And how wonderful to have a professional photographer in the family 🙂 I truly love sharing travel stories and photos, and I’m incredibly grateful to you and other kindred travel spirits for reading and sharing your thoughts and experiences here. Thanks for the good wishes, and I look forward to sharing future journeys, both near and far!

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