The Best Holiday Trip

South Africa has lit up her red and green lights, hung the stockings with care and put Santa hats on every sales person in the land.  Christmas time is here!

And yet it doesn’t feel like it.  December is a beautiful month here.   The sun shines.  The ocean beacons.  Even the birds

chirp a merry song.  But none of this reminds me of Christmas.  Where is the snow?   Where is the cold? Where is the ice you swear at as you scrape your windshield in the morning?  Carollers should be carolling in fur trimmed coats, not board shorts.   Your nose should be red with frostbite, not sunburn.  No, this isn’t right.  My South African boyfriend may think of family Christmases around the pool, but I remember them around a crackling fire.

And so I’m headed home for the holidays.

As many expats or serial travellers will understand, you have mixed emotions about going home.   On one hand you sigh as you spend all your money and all your time off work to go to the most un-exotic place on Earth.   You could rather go to India!  Or Ghana!  Or Brazil!  Instead you’ll put those trips on hold to go back to the place you grew up.

But now that you’re moment of self-pity is over things start to change.  Your lips begin to twitch.  Your toes wiggle.  What’s going on?  Suddenly you’re smiling.  Now you’re laughing.  Now you’re dancing.  Wow, did you just do a back flip?  Oh, could it be?!   Why yes it could!  That’s right you’re excited to be going home!  You’re excited to spend New Year’s Eve at Applebee’s instead of skydiving somewhere over Mexico.  You’re happy to put your travel money towards watching old movies instead of skiing in the Alps.  Why?

Because going home is the best trip you could possibly take.  

All the Taj Mahals and Blue Lagoons can’t outweigh the great happiness of seeing your family, gossiping with the friends you met in Kindergarten and doing the same wonderfully silly holiday things you’ve done since you were a kid.

Gorgeous, but doesn't say Christmas

Travelling is all about getting to know a place and spending time with interesting people.   And what place do you know better than your hometown?  Who would you really rather spend time with than your family?   Sure you might not get any travel bragging rights for trekking back to the house you were born in, but this trip isn’t about bragging rights.  It’s not about postcards, or courageous adventures, or feeling cool.  It’s about remembering where you come from and the people who are important to you.  You know – the ones who send you the care packages overseas; the ones who are still there for you when you’re done hiking mountains and sailing the seven seas.

So get the suitcase out and the duffle bag ready.   It’s time to go home!

That's more like it!

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