I turned 30 last month; a lot has changed in the past 10 years! Here’s the TL; DR of the longer intro I’m not going to write: I turned 30; here are some ways that I’ve changed and some things that I’ve learned along the way about travel, sexuality, introversion, and wisdom teeth.
It’s a new year: a time for new beginnings, and new seasons of my favourite TV shows! I have some life goals in progress right now, so rather than set resolutions for the future, I thought I’d look to the past for inspiration.
Six years ago, I’d recently come home from my first long trip. I had spent 13 months working and travelling in Australia and then visiting Southeast Asia. I was having trouble adjusting to being home, and I desperately wanted to write about travel so that I could continue to feel immersed in it. The letter that I came up with is the closest I’ve ever come to time travel; I ended up writing a letter to myself in the future! Some of it makes me cringe, but I’m going to include it anyway, in the interest of vulnerability (with minor edits for comprehension):
‘Twas the week before Christmas, when all through Korea
People were freezing, due to winds from Siberia;
The passports were placed by the front door with care,
In hopes that Leslie Teacher soon would not be there;
The children were sniffling and picking their noses,
I even had one kid throw up on his clothe-es!
And me in my jacket, scarf, boots, mitts and cap,
Thought: “It’s definitely colder than home now, what crap!”
But decorations are up, I have holiday cheer!
(And I wouldn’t turn down a good holiday beer.)
I have a small tree, and some half-working lights,
And a plan for avoiding a cold Christmas night;
As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
Like Dasher and Dancer, I’ll mount to the sky!
I will sure miss seeing you all, that is true,
But I will be travelling (’cause that’s what I do!)
That’s right, while you’re trudging through snow that’s knee deep,
I’ll be indulging in a massage in Siem Reap! (Sorry!)
Now I may not be getting a new Christmas toy,
But I’ll be saying “Happy New Year” from Hanoi!
The whole time I’ll be thinking of family (and food),
Of gingerbread, injera, the holiday mood;
Guitar songs, board games, Secret Santa, and more,
That special warmth you can’t get from a store. (Thanks, Grinch.)
Now perhaps I will see all of you soon on Skype,
But in case there are technical difficulties, I’ll type:
Though I’m not there person (which just isn’t right!),
Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!
*Last year was the third time I was away from home at Christmas. (I spent it in Siem Reap… I know, I know. Life is rough.) I was feeling inspired on a lunch break, and sent this out to my relatives.
First, let me say that this post is loaded with privilege. Not everyone has a good relationship with family, or positive holiday experiences, and on top of that has the ability to be overseas missing them. I’m very grateful for my family and for the opportunities I’ve had to travel long-term. Also, it’s a very Christmas-oriented post, but feel free to replace the C-word with your holiday or non-denominational celebration of choice!
Whether you’re working on the other side of the world without the means to go home for a visit, or choosing to take advantage of days off to travel, it can be tough to be away from home for the holidays. Here are some ways to ease the ho-ho-homesickness: