Monday, November 2, 2015

Holiday Blues Abroad

Halloween came and went in Kenya, I even forgot it was a holiday until my housemate reminded me. For most people, holidays are excuses to be with family or party with friends. I loved to wake up Christmas morning and run down in pajamas to tear wrapping paper off new toys and write little messages on valentines cards for all my friends in school. It was a Halloween tradition to spend hours in the thrift shops devising a unique costume for the various Halloween parties. Watching fireworks on 4th of July, turkey on thanksgiving, midnight kiss on new years eve, all of these are traditions are coveted by many in the states and around the world.

Halloween in Kenya
Many travelers know that these special holiday's are often the toughest days to be away from home. A couple years ago I would never have thought I would spend a Christmas away from home. It was an annual tradition to fly home from wherever I was to spend time with my family and friends. Last year I decided to take a trip to Israel and Jordan over Christmas. On Christmas eve I stood outside of nativity church listening to midnight mass and spent Christmas day riding a bus over the Israel-Jordan border.

Christmas in Bethlehem
These days make being abroad feel a bit more lonely than usual especially if the country you are in does not celebrate that holiday. Browsing through Facebook or Skyping your family can cause you to be even more homesick and nostalgic around the holidays.

So what is the solution for these Traveler Holiday Blues? Not sure if there is a specific solution. It seems that everyone I have met traveling over the holidays have had various reactions and solutions. Here are a few suggestions:

1. It Gets Better: I have found the more holidays you are abroad the easier it is to get over the Traveler Holiday Blues. The first Christmas, Halloween or birthday abroad can be rough, but it gets easier from there.

Visiting my Grandma
2. Everyday is a Holiday: I have also found that when your home from a long trip, any day can be a holiday. Gift giving does not have to be on birthdays or Christmas but can be whenever you are home. Have a big turkey dinner with family on your visit home or hand out postcards to friends as often as you like.

3. Bring the Holiday With You: Teach others around you about the special day, many are interested to learn about your countries traditions and celebrations. You can think about all the memories associated with that holiday in a positive way.

Sole from Argentina baking cake for Christmas in California
4. Stay off Facebook: The last think you need is to see all your friends and family having a good time while you are sitting alone in a long distance bus ride. Scrolling through pictures of happy families sitting around a holiday meal or wearing fantastic costumes can make you think more about what your missing.

25th birthday in Argentina
5. Surround Yourself With New Friends: Hostels are filled with others also suffering from Holiday Blues, bring a little of that holiday with you and celebrate with you new found wanderlust friends. Go out to a special restaurant, hit up the local night club to dance, or sing some traditional songs.

In conclusion holidays are a time to celebrate wherever you are, but why not celebrate all the other days of the year too. Remember not to beat yourself up for missing a holiday with your family and friends but rather celebrate whatever you are doing wherever you are. Who knows it might be the best day of your life.

Christmas Day meal in Jordan

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