This year for Christmas I’m back at home on the farm where I grew up celebrating and spending the holiday with my family. Since 2010, however, I’ve had the unique opportunity to celebrate Christmas on five continents.
Where have my travels taken me and how did I spend my Christmas Day?
1. Auckland, New Zealand – 2010
My first Christmas away was very different than traditional Canadian Christmases. No snow, hot weather — it just didn’t feel the same!
Thankfully I had wonderful friends-of-the-family to spend it with in Auckland, New Zealand. They welcomed me into their home, shared their Christmas meal and even took me to the Ellerslie Horse Races on Boxing Day. The next best thing to family is good friends to share the holiday with.
2. Hanoi, Vietnam – 2011
Spending 6 months traveling through South East Asia, I found myself busing into Hanoi, Vietnam to spend Christmas with two other Canadians. Christmas Eve I shopped for a random assortment of North American treats like cream corn, Jello pudding and European chocolate while also visiting Hoa Lo Prison, where John McCain was held as a prisoner of war. Very festive.
Christmas Day I celebrated with other international travelers at my hostel joining in for a festive Christmas lunch. I finished my night off with a little Kentucky Fried Chicken for Christmas Supper. Not quite a turkey, but the next best thing after a day spent celebrating.
3. Saskatchewan, Canada – 2012
Sometimes plans change and I spent less time in Central America than expected. Flying back to Canada from Belize on the busiest travel day of the year, I happily spent a white Christmas back at home with most of my family. After two years away, enjoying Christmas with loved ones was a treat.
4. 2013 – The Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
Having followed my heart to the 19 magical islands that make up the volcanic archipelago of the Galapagos Islands off the west coast of Ecuador, I spent two months pursing my professional diving certification. The course fell over Christmas and I enjoyed getting to know the local customs during the holiday season (in particular their New Years customs).
Christmas Eve I had an Ecuadorian supper with the company I was diving with. I spent Christmas Day scuba diving Gordon Rocks with a school of hammerhead sharks. Even more exciting, was spotting the elusive Mola-Mola (or Sunfish) the same day – the only one I spotted while diving in the islands.
5. Capetown, South Africa – 2014
Last year, plans swiftly changed when shortly before Christmas I accepted a year-long contract as a travel blogger for the province of Saskatchewan. Knowing I was cutting my African trip short and flying home in a few short weeks, I spent my Christmas in Cape Town.
With more than 770,000 tourists invading the city during the holidays it was difficult to book activities. It also happened to be a very rainy day, so I spent a short time exploring the city and then stopped for a Big Mac Christmas Lunch at McDonald’s. The rest of my day was spent in good company with a fellow traveler.
Merry Christmas to you, wherever you might find yourself this holiday season. Hopefully you’re able to spend it with family and friends (new or old) celebrating over good food! Travel safe!