Chapter 27 shares an emotional story: spending Christmas away from home, in a hostel, as a backpacker with a new family: other travelers.
Have you had a similar experience? Leave us a comment below, we’d love to read about it.
Chapter 27: Christmas As A Backpacker
When you go traveling or to live in another country everybody sees it as if you’re having fun, partying and enjoying every minute, as if you never encountered tough situations, as if loneliness didn’t exist for you, as of there weren’t any disappointments, sad moments and harsh life lessons.
“How cool! I envy you so much!” that’s what they all say.
Maybe most of the time they’re right and we agree that we’re having a great life experience, or a better life than the one we had at home. But, how about Christmas?
Some years ago I spent Christmas away from family and home, and I honestly thought it wasn’t going to affect me much. I was already used to living away and had learnt to deal with missing important events.
Christmas came and it didn’t feel the same.
Yes, I had a Christmas dinner with friend’s family, they treated me like another son, with care, attention and even presents. It was nice, I had a good time, but there was something missing. I was there in body, an empty body, as my mind was in another dimension, thinking about home and family, but unable to be with them.
It hurt me.
Now I wonder if it’ll affect me again, and I’m quite sure that most backpackers are asking themselves the same question, they’re feeling nostalgic and even having small crisis.
It’s fine; it’s human and authentic to feel lonely mainly during such a special and magical time. It’s completely reasonable and acceptable to sit down in your bunk bed and think about past Christmases, to see old family pictures and think about presents that you’ll never give.
More than one of us feels affected, and it reminds us that no, backpacking isn’t always light, happiness and smiles. There’s also darkness, sadness and tears, there’s also loneliness and we can also envy those who spend such an important date with their loved ones.
So what can we do? Some of us are in hostels, maybe since a long time, we have fraternized with other backpackers, we know their bright spots and their moods, their accomplishments and their scars, and we’ve had a fucking great time specially thanks to them. We now have a new family with people that have become our adopted siblings, and we’re all in the same boat.
That gives me hope and it even excites me to think about a new and alternative Christmas. Secret Santa games start popping up, ideas for dinners and then partying come up, maybe a BBQ by the beach or other silly ideas that’ll make the date a great one.
So what I do is think that yes, not every single moment of being a backpacker is easy, but the tough ones can be left behind and even become great ones thanks to those surrounding us.
During the lonely and bitter moments we can be sitting down in front of the Opera House, the Mona Lisa or the Niagara Falls and maybe we’ll feel a bit better, but none of them three will give us a hand and pull us up, lend us a shoulder to cry on, or kiss us with love and make everything alright. Another backpacker will.
At the end of the day the best memories are built with someone else, and landscapes fill with colour thanks to those that came to see them with us.
And so for those that are in hostels, for those in a campervan in the middle of nowhere having the roadtrip of a lifetime, for those studying or working abroad, for those in a cold country: I hope you have the best Christmas ever.
From a brother backpacker to another.