Taking a career break and 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.
If your career break travel happens to fall during the holidays, then consider what you can do to avoid the holiday blues.
If you have family or friends who live overseas, consider planning your itinerary in order to pay them a visit during the holiday season. Seeing familiar faces and enjoying familiar traditions and customs may be just what you need. Plus, they might be able to introduce you to different holiday customs in the country where they reside – so even though you are spending the holidays with friends or family, you are still experiencing new things in new cultures!
Try to find other people from your country who are celebrating where you are. Try contacting your country’s consulate or embassy to see if they know of any expat gatherings or organizations. Try message boards or forums on sites like CouchSurfing, Lonely Planet or BootsnAll to try to connect with other travelers or stay at a hostel and reach out to other guests.
Use the opportunity to immerse yourself in local holiday traditions. Look online or in local publications for holiday events or festivals you can attend solo. Or, try CouchSurfing to reach out to locals who might be willing to include you in some of their celebrations. If you are staying at a hostel, find out if they have anything organized to introduce hostel guests to local traditions.
Finally, if you aren’t feeling in the holiday spirit, don’t push it. Just because you are on the road doesn’t mean you have to do something unique or interesting to celebrate. If you usually feel a bit harried around the holidays back home, perhaps enjoy the chance to relax instead. Schedule some time to connect with loved ones by Skype and then treat yourself, whether with a nice hotel room, a tasty dinner out or just buying yourself a holiday gift!
How have you dealt with the holiday blues while traveling?