Great is the art of beginning, but greater is the art of ending.


We had to say goodbye to many people we love in United States before starting our trip.

We decided to not tell our parents about the trip until we were completely serious and set on going for it, which we realized we actually were before too long. Next, we decided that it would be best to tell them in person, which means we would have to travel to Ohio where both sides of the family live. Knowing my parents, I knew they wouldn’t exactly be thrilled about this plan.

I actually ended up telling my parents on the phone about our plan because they straight up asked me about the plan for the condo and if we are changing our mind and what we are planning. They know me well, I guess. Their initial reaction was not positive as predicted, however, I know I can always rely on their support. Once they realized that we are serious about doing an around the world trip, they did what they could to help us plan and prepare. I appreciate their unconditional love and support. Aaron had a similar reaction from his parents.

The unique thing about us is that we have 4 sets of parents. Let me explain…I have my parents but also have a family who sponsored us during our immigration to United States. They are warm and caring people, who took us in when we were strangers to them, helped us acculturate and introduced us to all American holidays (Thanksgiving, Christmas traditions, 4th of July etc). I consider them family also and call them Mom and Dad. Aaron’s parents are divorced. So my point is that we had to go through the ritual of breaking the news to 4 different sets of family, which was all bitter-sweet. Overall, they all took it well and showed their support, though some tears were shed.

This is how my very Russian and super awesome family sent us off: Russian style snacks (“snacks” – notice how the table is full of food) and vodka shots.


Then came goodbyes with friends and coworkers. I found myself overwhelmed and humbled by how many people truly care about us and will miss us. Coworkers also surprised me with good-bye cards, wishes and even gifts. I felt like a social butterfly last few weeks in US as various sets of friends wanted to send us off and celebrate the beginning of our new journey.

Saying a tearful good-bye to Megan, one of my best friends:

…and then I had to say goodbye to my sister. She kindly took us in to stay with her once the lease on our apartment ended. We are very close and it seems that we only grow closer and closer every day. That is why saying goodbye to her was particularly difficult. She has been the one person who really encouraged me to go through with this dream and helped out in so many ways – I can’t begin to repay her. Not having her around to share something silly and girly (that Aaron would never have patience to listen to) or know what she is doing every day or gossip over wine – just not having my other best friend around will be very difficult for me. She has also been planning a trip to Hong Kong and decided to fly out the same day as us. She surprised us with a limo that took us to the airport – backpackers starting the trip off in style. Thanks, Tashie!

Here is our sisterly, tearful goodbye at the airport:





Good-bye, we miss you all already. See you soon.

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