Christmas Day was the first time I felt homesick since my first month in New Zealand, and it was definitely the first time this trip that I’d felt the urge to go home. Because, Christmas for me is really just about family.
Yes there were no presents or stockings to open, but I didn’t really need them especially not when my family had still been so generous as to send me money to my account. And yes there was no traditional Christmas dinner, but we had a pie lunch and snacks and chocolates aplenty. We spent the day as most people do lounging around, watching Christmas movies, playing games and eating junk. We had Christmas hats to wear and we listened to Christmas music. I’d still in the build up had the stress of getting presents for everyone back home, even if it was done over the internet, and I still had an advent calendar to open everyday (courtesy of my Gran being insanely organised and sending one over in September)! There was a whole lot of Christmas still around. But there is something especially lonely about a hostel Christmas, even when you’re not the only one and even when you’re with a friend.
Don’t get me wrong this was not my first rodeo, I spent a Christmas in Sydney three years ago, but then I had my sister and then boyfriend to stave off the homesickness. And at 19 I was in Canada doing a ski season but at that giddy age there was something exciting about being away from home with all your friends, cooking Christmas dinner together and having a proper white Christmas.
I guess now I appreciate my family a whole lot more. As you lose people, the ones you have become even more important, and I suppose Christmas is always that time when you think of them the most. And we really do have the best of Christmas’s, full of traditions and happiness and lots and lots of cheese. So to find myself on the other side of the world with no family (or cheese) around and a kickass hangover making everything feel worse, gave me a pretty hefty dollop of homesickness.
BUT I am on the other side of the world living out a dream, that a year ago I didn’t think I would. I am young and free and travelling the world and there are a whole lot of people not nearly so lucky so I guess I can take a Christmas away from home and a little bit of homesickness in return for that.
I suppose what I’m trying to say, after all the moaning, fellow backpackers is that it’s all just a part of the adventure. that despite the less than homely feel of the holidays spent in a hostel, there will be drinks and company aplenty if desired, and it is just one after all just one day. So we must suck up the homesickness, maybe Skype our families and eagerly anticipate the next day when Christmas will be over, the city alive again and the adventuring will continue.