That's no way to say goodbye

My grandmother, Grace Liberty, passed away quietly in her sleep a few hours ago. She may be at peace, but I’m not.

Maybe the scariest and most awful thing about travelling is knowing that some of the people you leave behind might not be there when you come back. You hope it won’t happen, and you try hard not to think about it, but the odds get worse the longer you travel, and I’ve been on the road for a long time now.

The last time I was able to talk with her was when I called from Darjeeling six months ago. I didn’t realize then it would be our last conversation - you never do. She didn’t have a phone for the six months before she died, and so I wasn’t able to talk with her at all, after that.

Confined to a nursing home, she loved hearing my travel stories. Even as she lost more and more of her memory, she always knew my voice when I called and the first thing she’d say would be where are you now?

I missed her a lot then, and I miss her even more now. I promised her in my last letter that when I finally did come back from my wanderings I’d sit with her and tell her about all the things I’d seen. But she couldn’t wait, and I’ll never see her again.

I love you, Nana. Go well.

Me and Nana


9 Comments on this Dispatch:

December 27th, 2009


We thought we would take a moment to say that we’re sorry for your loss. This has to be very difficult. We’re really very sorry.

We have been following your trip since you left and we talk about you and Sheryl fairly often. We hope that otherwise you are both doing well. We respect and admire the fact that you are out there in the world doing something you both feel passionate about - something that is meaningful and memorable. We hope to see you again some day. May God keep you both safe on all of your travels. Godspeed.

Michael & Maria Grazia

¬ Michael & Maria Grazia Manocchio
December 27th, 2009

She is looking over you now, and smiling…..

¬ Hope
December 27th, 2009

My heart breaks for you Chris.

I know just how you feel about being far away from family…not that it’s any consolation.

¬ Nicola
December 28th, 2009

i have no idea what i am supposed to say right now, think right now or do right now… only that it frustrates me to no end that you are away right now…for completely selfish reasons…if i ever needed my big brother since that day not so long ago, it is right now… …crap.

¬ jeremy
December 28th, 2009

Our deepest condolences on the loss of your Grandma Grace. Your memories of her live on Chris - she will always be with you when you think of her…..

Marie & Bob

¬ Marie & Bob
December 29th, 2009


My deepest condolences to you and your family. I’m so sorry to hear about you grandmother’s passing. Wishing you and Sheryl well on your travels.


¬ Suzanne
December 29th, 2009

so sorry to hear that your grandmother passed
my thoughts and prayers are with you
hope you and sheryl can do something to celebrate her life
take care
love to you both

¬ sara
December 30th, 2009

Thanks everyone for your kind words. The words and the thoughts behind them are very much appreciated. Sorry I couldn’t be there for you, Jer - some things can’t be helped.

¬ Chris
December 30th, 2009

Said goodbye to Grace yesterday. Hugged Jeremy and your Mom. Baby girl helps everyone. Stay safe and if you have a drink for your Nana have a sherry, in crystal if you can find it.I had a scotch.

¬ John - Sometimes known as Dad
January 7th, 2010

Chris, my deepest condolences to you and all your family. I really don´t know what to say. But I would like to give you all my support from here, I know it is really hard, it is also one of the scariest things for me when I´m traveling. Sometimes life is unfair and strikes when you least expect it.

I hope you are well my friend.

Hughs to you both

¬ Julian Cid
Chris Liberty - Dispatches from a Gentleman Adventurer
Being the internal dialog of a vagabond who chased his own tail across five continents for 4 years and 2 days from May 2008 to May 2012, in search of something that never really became clear.
This travelogue comprises 16,426 photographs and 402,515 words in 307 dispatches written from 335 places in 52 countries on 6 continents around the world.
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