Not Exactly Home for the Holidays

One of the obvious concerns when you’re traveling for an extended period of time is whether or not to line up your itinerary with the holidays so that you aren’t missing out on all of the festivities back home. In our case, we decided not to worry about it and are spending our birthdays, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years Eve all away from home. While our birthdays abroad have already come and gone, and we spent last Christmas in Mexico with Shelby’s family, Thanksgiving in Bali is upon us and this is the first time either of us won’t be stateside for Turkey Day. As a result, I thought I’d share some insight on what it’s like to “miss out” on the holidays for traveling.

I’ll go ahead and preface this post with the fact that Thanksgiving may very well be one of, if not my favorite holiday of the year. For me it’s an amazing time of year where friends and family come together and truly focus on enjoying each others company. Shelby’s family has a wonderful tradition of going to their friends’ family’s farm with 5 or 6 other families. There’s food, games, drinks, more food and all kinds of things to do leading up to Thanksgiving, and then the next day is followed by a pig picking with fresh oysters and a kickball tournament. It’s quite the event and definitely one that I’ve become very fond of.

And last, but certainly not least, we can’t forget the FOOOOOOD! Ya boy loves to eat! I’m talking 4 to 5 meals a day, plus snacks. So naturally Thanksgiving has a special place in my heart. I’m an absolute fiend when it comes to stuffing (leave the nuts, cranberries and other nonsense out please) and there’s no holding back my sweet tooth when the pies are brought to the table. Not to mention, Trader Joe’s pumpkin everything selection is just a magical, magical thing.


So how am I dealing with “missing out” on being home for arguably my favorite time of the year?

Well for starters, we’re in f*cking Bali! There are jungles, beaches, temples, rice paddies, waterfalls, private villas, volcanoes, infinity pools and delicious $4 lunches everywhere you look. If you’re on vacation in Bali, nothing short of losing a million dollars or a death in the family should bum you out for longer than 5 minutes.


But I get it, that’s not really the answer you were looking for. And to be fair, we could have easily chose to live in this amazing island paradise for the month of March as opposed to November (and December? still to be determined) so that we could still be home for the holidays. So let’s take the location out of it and look at the real question; how do we manage the expectations of the holidays and not being able to spend them with our friends and family while we’re traveling?

The honest answer is that it’s not always easy. I’d love to be hanging out with my family and our dogs while I dive face first into a bowl/open-faced sandwich of leftovers and hopefully watch the Cowboys get stomped by whoever they’re playing this year. But I’m also really thankful that we’re here and we’re fortunate enough to be able to experience a place like this. I’m thankful that Shelby is getting a yoga certification that will help her further her career and I’m getting to meet incredible entrepreneurs and step up my video production skills. Being away from my friends and family has made me value my time with Shelby that much more and appreciate the new connections we’ve been able to make in Bali and during this trip. It’s also making me appreciate the friends who’ve made the effort to stay connected while we travel and it’s getting me that much more excited for when my parents meet up with us in January.

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Ultimately it comes down to changing your perspective and managing your expectations. If you focus on the fact that you’re missing out on some of your favorite holidays, then you’re obviously going to be disappointed. But if you approach it with the mindset that you get to experience a new culture and lifestyle during your favorite holidays, then you’ll be more than willing to try traveling during those coveted days off. After all, there are a few perks to traveling at these times of year (cheaper flights on Christmas Day, skip peak season in certain parts of the world, etc.)

I’ve had plenty of traditional Thanksgivings and Christmases back home, and I’ll have plenty more in the years to come. So instead of feeling like I’m missing out on anything, I’m choosing to focus on the unique aspects of my Thanksgiving that I’ll probably never get to enjoy again. And who knows, maybe the quirky Thanksgiving buffet we’re going to tonight, or all the new holiday customs you’d get to see if you’re traveling during a shared holiday, will help us cherish our favorite holidays even more next year.

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