Manchester for me is one of those places I just can't stay away from. It was my home not for the longest time but long enough for me to fall madly and deeply in love with it, to the point I was having difficulties seeing my life without Manchester being the focal point of it. Unfortunately James was seeing things in a slightly different light. We weren't back in Manchester to go back to our jobs and resume our lives as normal like before our Camino adventure. We were in Manchester prominently for three main reasons. One was to collect the rest of our belongings and start shipping everything back to Australia. The second was to see all our friends. And the third and the only reason I had been dreading heading back to Manchester was so that James could catch his flight back to Australia.
Sadly all good things must come to an end and for James The Camino was his last leg of European travel before he needed to fly back to Adelaide to resume his studies in Mechanical Engineering at University, something he had put off returning too for long enough. So I of course was faced with the decision of do I stay? Or do I go? There was an endless list of pros and cons for both sides but in the end I had decided that it wasn't yet my time to return to Australia. I had come to terms with a lot of things whilst walking the many long roads of The Camino. Although I realise returning is inevitable and I learnt that it is something I should embrace instead of fear. I also realised that there was something I needed to do for myself before I made that move. I need to step out of my comfort zone and become a solo traveller.
I am the youngest sibling so growing up I have always been the baby of the family, the one that gets away with everything because there's always been someone there to guide me. I have also been in a loving and serious relationship for over four years from such a young age, so I have always had someone to protect me and watch out for me as I grew. Although I am completely indecisive I do still consider myself to be rather independent. So with the support of my family, friends and James I knew that I had made the right choice in staying on to create something of my own.
Of course this week would be the fastest week of my life. At points I was too scared to even blink in fear that when my eyes would open once more he wouldn't be standing in front of me. Everything started to become the last. The last pint at the pub, the last curry on the Mile, the last look through Aflecks vintage shops, the last drunken antics, the last night's sleep, the last Sunday roast, the last hug, the last kiss and the very last touch. I never really thought about the effect James leaving would have on me. In fact I always pushed it aside so I never really thought about it at all until it was too late. Until I was standing at the airport alone.
We started this adventure of a life time together. Through this experience we have grown with each other in ways I never knew were possible, forming a bond like no other. Saying goodbye to my best friend was one of the hardest things I have had to do thus far. Instead of dwelling on it I decided to look at things in a more positive light, as it was in fact my choice to stay on. Once I am done having countless new adventures and making endless new stories I know I have something rewarding to come home to, I will have James.
Safe flight, and all the best in your new chapter James Parker. Manchester's going to miss you.
The Wanderer's Daughter xx