This is my first Christmas away from my family and being totally honest I do not like it. I would say missing the holidays with family is the biggest negative of this solo traveling journey I’m on. I’m seeing the most beautiful places and having awesome experiences, but I miss my mom’s cooking, seeing the tree with ornaments from my childhood, and the warm fuzzy feeling you get from being under the same roof with the people who love you most.
As a disclaimer I definitely do not miss the cold, but there is something nice about being totally bundled up and maybe seeing snow in December. I’m currently in New Zealand’s summer, but it hasn’t been super hot here either. Most of the towns we’ve driven through and hostels we have stayed at are trying so hard to bring Christmas cheer with their decorations. The Stray drivers also had decked out buses the last two weeks. I bought a little tree ornament back in Rotorua and I’ve been carrying around too. I also had reindeer antlers that made an appearance on Christmas Eve and Day.
We drove from Auckland to Paihia on Christmas Eve and then I ended up spending the majority of the day with the other two passengers from the bus. We went to a Christmas market in town and then later had dinner on the waterfront. One of them was a 20 year old German girl who hasn’t been home since she was 18. I know she was having an even harder time than me, but she was a total bad a** for solo traveling for the past two years so young.
On Christmas Day I went on an all-day bus tour up to the northern most part of New Zealand, Cape Reinga, and we made many stops along the way too. There’s a traditional Kiwi Christmas BBQ starting at 7pm at my hostel.
Christmas didn’t feel like Christmas this year, but it just made me appreciate my family even more than usual. I don’t plan on missing the holidays next year and my mom is coming in February so I’m pretty much counting down the days for to that!
Hug the ones that you cherish most today and make sure you tell them how much you love them! Merry Christmas everyone!