Being away from your family during holidays is, honestly, a bit of an odd sensation, especially when it’s a different country, different timezone and the internet is terrible. I’m not sure if it was lucky or not, but the experience was made easier by the fact that it didn’t feel like Christmas – in the Alps there just hasn’t been the build up that we have at home. It was however tough being away from my family.
This year is the first time I haven’t been at home for Christmas. My brother isn’t at home either as he’s spending six months in New Zealand, so my sister is the only one with my parents during the festive season. This has resulted in two things: less presents, and my mum has taking it pretty hard. The first one was easy to deal with, the latter not so much. All this has led me to re-confront an old foe: the travel guilt.
Now this is a different travel guilt to the one I have talked about previously; that was me stupidly feeling bad about not doing things I felt I had to do as a ‘traveller’. This guilt is the guilt I get at essentially abandoning my mum (at least, that’s what it feels like). My mum finds it difficult to let us go, and me (being the eldest, and thus usually doing things first) usually gets the biggest hits of sadness. When I first went alone to Nepal for a month, that was tough for her. When I went to uni, that was tough for her. When I went to work abroad in America, that was tough for her. Each time it’s been a little bit further, or longer, or more serious, and this was the next milestone – missing a holiday.
I’m not saying it wasn’t tough for my dad, he just is more accepting of the fact we do have to grow up. And it was tough for me too, though funnily enough it was made easier by a raging hangover (Christmas Eve is a big night for seasonnaires). But I still feel like I have abandoned her, and so in comes the grief.
More than anything that was my defining feature of my Christmas away. I had fun, but that guilt was still at the back of my mind. I hope to be halfway across the world by this time next year, so I should expect a similar situation then too. I can only hope it will be a little easier next time.
I hope you all had a lovely holiday season!