Their goodbyes held no great drama, but they were full of love.
Expecting to be away from his Perth, Australia, home for a monthlong work stint, Paul Weeks, 39, gave his watch and wedding ring to his wife, Danica, to give to their young sons in the remote event that something happened to him.
Avid travelers Catherine and Robert Lawton of Springfield Lakes in Queensland, Australia, told friends on Facebook simply, "Off to China!"
And American Philip Wood, 50, who was taking a quick business trip to Beijing before starting a two-year stint with IBM in Malaysia, spent the days before he left for Asia visiting with family in his childhood home in Keller, Texas, "looking out at the beautiful sky," Wood's mother, Sondra, 73, tells PEOPLE.
"He was enjoying every moment. He said, 'I don't know what the future holds, but I am not afraid.' "