After spending all 28 of my Christmas days to date at home in the same house in a small village in middle England, it’s kind of surreal to find myself in Brisbane on Christmas Eve eve wearing shorts and t shirt and eating ice cream. Travelling away from home at this time of year is a strange one
– this week has marked 5 months on the road and it’s probably the first time I haven’t been 100% enjoying our adventure due to spending too much time thinking of what we’d be doing for Christmas if we were back in sunny Lutterworth.
That said, we’re off to spend Christmas in Byron Bay tomorrow where we’ll be spending Christmas Day on the beach and enjoying a $10 Christmas dinner at our hostel with a bunch of new people from all over the world (or probably Germany, Essex & Holland given our experience of Oz so far). So there’s not that much to complain about really – sunbathing on Christmas Day is pretty much my idea of heaven.
It’s been pretty strange spending the run up to Christmas in New Zealand and Australia – Christmas music in blazing sunshine and Christmas trees in town centres alongside palm trees have really been the only signs of the time of year as we’ve been too busy exploring to think about it otherwise. In the spirit of Christmas and alongside our fellow travel bloggers, here’s how we’ve found the run up to our first Christmas on the road.
The Down Sides to Travelling over Christmas
Travelling at Christmas is expensive – hostels, transport etc are all a lot more busy and charge more around this time of year. Whilst you save lots of money not buying presents, you can end up spending a lot of cash to sleep in a not so nice hostel!
We do miss home, family and our usual Christmas traditions as well. These are what we reckon are the top 5 things we’ve missed the most:
1. Dressing Archie up in Christmas outfits is one of the highlights of the season… poms are the perfect dogs for fancy dress ?
2. No advent calendar! Normally we have at least one each, but we couldn’t really trek one around Australia and New Zealand with us.
3. Haven’t seen a single Christmas movie – no Elf, no Home Alone, not a single one. Not to mention a Christmas Day without the usual tv line up.
4. Christmas songs in the car, office and just generally at all times from 1st December onwards. I love my Christmas music but this year apart from the odd bar or shop we haven’t really listened to any at all.
5. Mulled wine, cheese, all the Christmas food
Finally, as it stands, with less than 2 days to go we don’t feel Christmassy at all, not in the slightest. It’s really only today as we’ve started to plan out what food / drinks to take along to Byron with us that we’ve started to consider it’s Christmas time. Normally I can’t wait until December 1st arrives and we can crack open the advent calendar, start putting up decorations and set up a Christmas playlist for the car, but this year, it could be any time of year at all. No festive feelings here yet but there’s still time so maybe tomorrow it will hit us at the last minute!
Things we Love About Travelling at Christmas
It’s pretty exciting to see a completely different way of celebrating Xmas – beaches, barbecues and relaxing are the order of the day here. I’m sure there are many stressed out people around but most Aussies we’ve met are just planning to head to the beach and have a day chilling with friends and family.
It’s also kind of nice to avoid the usual stress that comes along with December – this time of year is normally a mad rush but we’re super relaxed with no decorating, massive food shops or last minute present buying to worry about. We went for lunch in a shopping centre earlier and it was pretty busy with Christmas shoppers so it’s nice not to be caught up in all that.
Sunshine on Christmas Day! This is probably the biggest excitement (fingers crossed for no rain), and we’re really looking forward to a day sunbathing and swimming and eating Christmas dinner on the beach. It was one of the attractions we were looking forward to most when we planned out our route earlier this year and decided to spend Christmas and new year in Australia and we’re still excited for a sunny Christmas Day.
Sharing Christmas Day with completely new people – a bit cheesy this one but whilst at home we’re usually looking forward to spending the day with our closest family and friends, it’ll be cool to spend the day with new people who are also away from home and looking to celebrate with fellow travellers. We’ve met so many amazing people everywhere we’ve travelled so far and we’re sure Christmas won’t be any different.
It’s also going to be a welcome to slow the pace down for a week or so – whilst we’re pretty happy travelling quickly, Australia has felt like we’re trying to cram an awful lot in, so a week on the beach in Byron Bay before New Year’s in Sydney should be the perfect Christmas break.