Some travellers love Christmas
You can see all the ‘A Travellers Christmas’ posts here.
As the UK evenings draw in and the drizzle sets in for the long-haul we pack up our office and head for the sun, spending a big chunk of every winter overseas. Of course this also means we miss out on the typical definition of Christmas.
Tropical Christmases- The Good, The Bad and The Sickly
Christmas overseas can be idyllic; we’ve hired a private long tail boat for a day of snorkelling round the reefs and playing cards in the sand on a tiny island in Thailand and finished the evening off with a delicious curry in a garden restaurant. We’ve played lengthy scrabble tournaments and sipped cocktails in the shade of a cabana in a luxury hotel in Playa del Carmen, Mexico. There have also been some disasters, like being struck with a debilitating stomach bug in Guatemala which meant on the day we were too weak to do much more than feel sorry for ourselves, try to rehydrate and feebly barbeque a corn on the cob to share. Or feeling homesick on a dismal rainy Christmas day a few miles up the coast from Sydney.
This is the second in three years that we have spent Christmas in Australia, and as much as I adore body swerving all that tedious shopping and sparing my brain the advertising propaganda which begins as summer ends, Christmas down-under doesn’t really feel quite right to a European gal.
It seems funny that Christmas traditions are still so dominated by the northern hemisphere definition. In 40 degree heat revellers are still sweating into woolly Santa hats; flashing north pole reindeers scale palm fringed roofs; Christmas cards depict bitterly cold landscapes for which the only possible reference point is if you linger too long in the beer fridge. What’s the point of having a blow up frosty the snowman on your lawn when it is in mortal danger from sparks from the barbeque?Building Your Own Traditions
We’ve found the eerie email silence for the last 2 weeks of December perfect for cracking on with a new project or making progress on a long neglected idea. Old habits do die hard so we have been known to put on our Santa hats and play festive jingles on You-Tube for a couple of hours on Christmas morning. We have developed a couple of our own traditions- the Christmas Eve lobster is a firm favourite, and we are making progress on the festive barbeque.
Finding People To Celebrate With
This year we are going to make more effort to get involved locally. We’ve already been invited to the neighbourhood Christmas Eve get-together and are going to a Travel Massive meetup Christmas party in Brisbane. Presents still won’t make much of an appearance (it certainly curtails rampant consumerism when you have to fit all those gifts into your rucksack!) but thoughtful treats still count (when we can get some time away from one another to arrange them!)
Two Big Bonuses of Christmas Overseas
Apart from the intrinsic joy of travelling and finding new homes and friends all across the globe, there are a couple of other benefits of being away at Christmas. Firstly, the slump come January 2nd is not nearly so painful; there are no January blues when the sun is shining and the waves are beckoning.
The other is an advantage we experienced ourselves last year. When you have been away from your family and traditional celebrations for several years, when you go back you find its magic all over again.
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