One of the most difficult parts about traveling is being away from the ones you love. You meet strangers that become good friends along the way, but it’s hard to leave everyone at home, especially around this time of the year. Thankfully, there are some ways to overcome your holiday season blues if you find yourself celebrating away from home.
I can’t recommend this product enough. For the cost of a can of soda, you can talk for hours with friends and family from literally anywhere in the world (granted, you have Internet access). This handy app is my saving grace while traveling. When I find myself feeling homesick, it is instantly cured with a video call and a smile. I was able to Skype with my entire family on Christmas in Korea (Christmas eve in America) and watched them open the gifts I sent, even scowled jealously as they ate turkey and mashed potatoes. I wasn’t at home, but I felt closer than I had for a long time.
2) Send home gifts that incorporate the country you’re living or traveling in
My experience in Korea was great. And since I was living in Korea for a year and would be spending the holidays there, I thought I would share a little bit of my temporary lifestyle with everyone at home. I sent home hilarious Konglish shirts and Christmas cards (I found some that said “I love Brussel Sprouts/I love Santa”), soju (Korean rice vodka), dried squid (a snacktime favorite), cookies, coffee, and just about anything else I could fit into a carry-able box. It was a huge hit! My family loved trying the Korean delicacies and I loved watching them sample it (via Skype, of course).
3) Spend time with new friends
While spending Christmas away from home was difficult at times, it was made tremendously easier with the help of friends. After all, we were in the same situation and could relate to each other about the temporary pain and strife we felt (until we consumed gallons of free wine during our holiday buffet). Although it will be a different Christmas experience, I’m certain it will still be memorable. I had never experienced a Christmas like the one in Busan and I might never again, but I’m so glad to say I did.
4) Keep some traditions alive
I know, it’s hard to pick out a Christmas tree or bake gingerbread cookies with your siblings when you’re thousands of miles away. But that doesn’t mean you can’t keep some sort of holiday time normalcy. I put up a small tree in my apartment, watched Christmas movies, drank eggnog, taught lessons about holidays around the world and how they are celebrated, and even attempted to go ice skating, another story for another post. It won’t be the same, but with a little effort, it won’t be that different, either.
5) Be thankful
Cheesy, corny, cliche, yes. But incredibly true. Until you spend time away from people you genuinely care about, it’s hard to fully appreciate them. This is especially true during the holidays. Take a little extra time to share a little extra love this season.