Hey guys! Kate here.
So Leah has officially completed her big move and is safe and sound in Australia! As happy as we are for her to embark on this huge adventure, it was pretty tough for the fam to say goodbye to her for a year. If you’ve ever had a loved one go away, you know how hard it is to excited for them but be sad at the same time. You also feel like you should do something special so they know you care about them when they’re a bazillion miles away. If you’re at a loss for a unique, meaningful gift, here are five goodbye gifts that will wow the pants off your traveling buddy. These can be modified in any way so they could work for your best friend, your siblings, or your significant others.
1. Plane Activity Book: Leah came up with this idea when I first left for Tokyo six years ago, and I recently made one for Leah on her big trip to Australia. If your friend is in for long haul in that metal tube, you want to give them something to do! Grab a Duo-Tang (or a folder with prongs, for you Americans) and fill it up with all sorts of activities for your loved on to complete. Examples could be:
- Letters of encouragement from friends and family
- Word searches about the country they’re going to (just Google the name of the country and then ‘word search’ and you’ll find tons!)
- Make you own crosswords! Websites like A to Z Teacher Stuff let you create your own crosswords. You could do it on things like your family and friends, trivia of their favourite television series, or random facts about their hobby. I made Leah one based on our novel, Jane Unwrapped.
- Printed out poems or excerpts from novels. (The “I must not fear” passage from Frank Herbert’s Dune is an essential for any adventure in our family!)
- Special photographs in plastic sleeves
- Writing activities to keep your friend occupied. For example, in Leah’s book, I wrote on the top of a blank page of paper: Write a letter to yourself to read on the way home
- You need to be brave
- You are homesick
- You need a laugh
- Life is good
- You need to remember your dreams
- You miss your ex
- You need some tough love
- You need to remember how much I love you
- We get good news about Jane
- It’s all too much
3. Scratch Map: Leah’s goodbye present to herself was one of these awesome scratch maps from Chapters; a world map where you can scratch off everywhere you’ve been. If you wanted to personalize it for your wandering friend, write specific bucket-list activities you know they want to accomplish on the back for them to check off. They’ll feel awesome when they scratch off Nepal on the front and “Climb to Mt. Everest base camp” on the back!
4. Homesick Fix: As pumped up as your traveling friend is, there’s a good chance at one point during their travels they’ll feel a little homesick. Get a small, light-weight scrapbook and fill it with their favourite photographs, along with associated memories. If you have space, you can even include little keepsakes, like special receipts, tickets, or notes. Make sure you include an encouraging note at the end though! It’s supposed to give them a taste of home, not make them miss you more.
5. Emergency Loneliness Kit: Well, this one’s a bit of a stretch as a goodbye present, because it’s not for the person who’s leaving. My significant other knew I would be upset about Leah leaving, so he prepared an Emergency Loneliness Kit: a box filled with Kleenex, my favourite drinks and junk food, and funny knick-knacks like Silly String and glow-in-the-dark balloons. Maybe it’s not your traveling friend that needs the present when they leave, but their spouse, sibling, or parent. On the flip side, you can always make a small-scale version of this to slip into your wandering pal’s bag! (Just make sure it doesn’t include any liquids!)
I hope this sparked your imagination for a few creative goodbye gifts. A personalized gift will not only mean a lot to the receiver, but it can also be cathartic for the creator: it allows you to make peace with the good-bye and get all your feelings out on paper.
What’s the most meaningful goodbye present you’ve ever received?