Airport goodbyes are the hardest

How many times have you said goodbye to a loved one at the airport?

Maybe it was temporary, just for a couple of months. Or maybe it was for a year, or who knows for how long.

Something clicks when you say goodbye at the airport. Those tears are impossible to hold back: they fill your eyes and start rushing down your face.

Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve been moving around the world from one city to the next. Moving all the time gave me a thrill that few people I knew could relate to. But that meant that few people could understand the pain I went through each time I had to leave friends and family that were part of my everyday life.

I will never forget those 6am airport goodbyes before going back to Houston after the summer holidays. I will never forget the smell of my grandfather’s hot tea and fette biscottate invading my bedroom at 4am before heading to the airport. Or those long hugs with my grandmother.

And how could I forget the tears running down my best friend Ilaria’s cheeks as we hugged one more time?

Those feelings will never leave me. I will always remember them.

And as I got older, those feelings kept coming back each time I had to move and depart from a loved one. The hardest of all? When I had to say goodbye to my boyfriend. If you’ve ever been in a long distance relationship, you know what I’m talking about.

Saying goodbye to him each time was the toughest of all. His addicting smell as I hugged him one more time before heading towards airport security, those hugs filled with extra love, walking towards the gates still feeling his eyes on you, looking back wanting to run towards the direction you came from.

And as we get older and older, we will have more and more airport goodbyes in store for us. Whether it’s for a gap year, a student exchange, a double degree, an internship or for work.

My latest airport goodbye was when I left Rome for an internship in Budapest. My boyfriend was returning from a week-long business trip abroad, and the days were overlapping with my departure.

Little did I know that he would land at 6am, to come to my house to spend a couple of hours with me before taking me to the airpot.

You know those dreaded lines at the check-in when you have to drop off your bag? When it’s time for an airport goodbye you hope to get caught in one of those – or heck – maybe to even miss the flight. But there’s no one in front of you. It’s like you’re the only person dropping off your bag. No line for you, this time.

So it’s time for goodbyes.

As we kissed and hugged dearly, I couldn’t keep the tears in. I must’ve looked like an idiot to the other passengers, but I couldn’t stop.

In that moment I just wanted to give it up, who cares about the internship anyway, right?

And as all these thoughts were going through my mind, I looked towards Luca’s direction and there he was, staring at me with his giant smile, making the cutest faces and funny gestures in front of everyone just to make me smile. Just to tell me “go, don’t worry about me, I’ll come visit you in no time”. Being strong for me.

Airport goodbyes are like an invisible tattoo embedded in your heart that you know you’ll never want to remove. Too bad they hurt just as much.


I'm the daughter of an Italian family of diplomats, the second of three children, and a global citizen. I've lived in 7 cities around the world, I have a gigantic crush on Italy and my name has been mispronounced more times than I can remember.


  1. Randomly ended up on your page but WOW – as a person who also moved around lots I can totally relate to everything you write, especially the airport goodbye story :’)

    Keep up the great posts! 😀

    • Hi Steve, I’m so happy to hear you enjoyed the post and that you can relate. It’s nice to meet another fellow traveler/mover! All the best to you 🙂

  2. Yes those airport goodbyes are tough. You look forward to seeing the person arriving and you are happy but when they go back home it is tough. Especially when it is a child

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