Life on the Road: Away for the Holidays

[singlepic=1601,250,,,right]Traveling long term is a gift; the ability to see and experience new cultures, to step away from your own rat race, and slow down. However, when you’ve been on the road for a while and the holidays roll around, it’s easy to get the blues. You’re away from your own culture and traditions, and you miss your family and friends, so it’s easy to get a bit homesick. I spent my last Christmas Eve alone eating leftovers watching a movie; I was so lonely in Vietnam that I vowed to never be alone again during the Holidays.

If your career break travel happens to fall during the holidays, then consider what you can do to avoid the holiday blues.

When I first traveled around the world I actually planned out my itinerary with the holidays in mind. For me Christmas is all about family. Luckily I happened to have family living in Singapore so when I planned my itinerary, I planned to be in Singapore in December. It turned out to be one of the best decisions I could have made. The familiar food, customs, and humor of my family was just what I needed. Plus, they were able to introduce me to different Asian holiday customs in Singapore – so even though I had slowed down my travel to spend time with family, I was still experiencing new things in new cultures!

[singlepic=1603,200,,,left]If you find yourself far away from family and friends when the holidays strike, then consider trying to find other people from your country that are celebrating. I found myself in Sydney, Australia once during American Thanksgiving. I didn’t want to sit around my hotel room watching TV and going to McDonalds for dinner, so I went to the American consulate to ask them if they knew of any American based Thanksgiving celebrations going on in Sydney.

[singlepic=1602,200,,,right]They quickly gave me a paper with a list of the various Expat organizations observing the holiday with traditional dinners. Perfect! I contacted a few and soon found myself eating Turkey dinner surrounded by a bunch of Australians and Americans.

Contacting your country’s consulate or embassy is a great source of information for travelers – don’t forget to use them!

How have you dealt with the holiday blues while traveling?

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8 Comments on "Life on the Road: Away for the Holidays"

  1. Tweets that mention Life on the Road: Away for the Holidays | Briefcase to Backpack - Travel Advice for Career Breaks or Sabbaticals -- on Mon, 14th Dec 2009 11:19 am 

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by BriefcasetoBackpack, Melissa. Melissa said: Life on the Road: Away for the Holidays | Briefcase to Backpack …: Briefcase to Backpack: Offering travel adv.. […]

  2. Keith on Mon, 14th Dec 2009 11:25 am 

    What a great idea to ask the consulate for a list of the US ex-pat groups in the area. We should have done that when we were in Petra, Jordan this year. Instead of felafel and chicken shwarma maybe we could have had a turkey with stuffing.

    We have found that video skype is an excellent way to “visit” with family and friends at home during holidays. The important thing is to ensure you have a good wifi connection in your room, as skyping from an internet cafe is not the best audio conditions.

  3. brian | No Debt World Travel on Mon, 14th Dec 2009 11:48 pm 

    I spent the last year mostly away from family for the holidays, except when I got to London to be with family for New Year’s.

    Christmas Day I was in Ethiopia and spent the day at a historic Christian church in Addis Ababa. On my birthday, I hooked up with some ex-pats in Hong Kong and made it to Macau.

    You’ve got to make the best of wherever you are on those special days. You can find others that share something with you, whether blood, religion or nationality.

  4. Stephanie on Tue, 15th Dec 2009 9:25 am 

    I think seeking out community is esssential. On Thanksgiving day in London there is a service for all Americans at St. Paul’s Cathedral. I’m not a terribly religious person but it’s nice to go and be with your countrymen and just enjoy the community. Plus St. Paul’s is gorgeous inside!

  5. Andi on Tue, 15th Dec 2009 11:46 am 

    Great advice! Christmas I need to be with my family, but New Year’s Eve is all about new experiences and new people. 🙂

  6. Sherry Ott on Tue, 15th Dec 2009 7:22 pm 

    Keith – yes, I couldn’t travel without skype…it’s invaluable!
    Brian – great idea to connect with people thru religion – the church in Ethiopia sounds amazing!

  7. Twitted by 20sTravel on Wed, 16th Dec 2009 9:41 am 

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  8. Michael on Sun, 19th Dec 2010 11:21 pm 

    Last year I planned my trip to see my family in Buenos Aires that I hadn’t seen in years. Well worth it. Wasn’t all the same but still great. This year I’ll be with only friends for Christmas. I’m throwing a party in my apartment and should be really good fun so I’ll be okay this year. The day after I get to see one of the commenter’s on here 😉 so I have a lot to look forward to. I do miss my family a whole lot but keeping busy helps a lot.

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