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Away From Home at Christmas Adventure

December 5, 2014

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe concentration of attention at being home for the holidays is memorialized in songs and tradition. Sometimes holiday travel can mean holidays in a new city, a move to a rural area where things are different from the city or being away from home on a holiday for whatever reason. It can be from such situations the most depressing aloneness comes or, sometimes, the meaning of Christmas in ways we don’t expect.

The holidays can mean out of the routine and I recall one such time over a holiday weekend working at a hostel in California. This particular hostel had a general rule of being closed during the day, so travelers coming in not only were away from home for the holiday but couldn’t hang out where they were staying. What to do when you’re in a strange city, for most a different country, and very little is open because it’s a holiday?

In the case of a hostel of travelers we improvised. We all left for a holiday stroll then returned (early) to prepare a meal with all the trimmings. Guests checking in for that night then had the option of joining us for dinner, with contributions from around the world. This truly was a holiday to remember. The people who were there that holiday included several from the UK, a few from Australia, a very memorable young lady from Brazil, a couple from the US and a few others scattered in. We laughed and told stories from home and from travels. Ate until we were too full to move, laughed some more and truly had a wonderful time. The cost was minimal and breaking a rule for the day.

If you are traveling for the holiday this is one way to spend a time that at least isn’t alone. There are calls to home but that can ring hollow compared to the rest of the day being alone.

Many cities do have some restaurants open or alternatives for meals. Another option is finding somewhere that is serving meals to veterans, homeless people or abused women and children. Go help serve or simply sit and talk with people after their meal. The stories can be amazing and enlightening and often teach about the resilience of the human spirit. They usually reveal something about our own as well. Check out a hostel or if staying at a hotel see if there’s a way the desk might post a notice that anyone wanting to join you for a meal at a buffet dinner meet at the desk at a certain time. Usually we aren’t the only ones alone and sometimes just spending it with someone else is a wonderful way to remember this.

Being alone and away from home can be depressing if you let it be. Seek out someone to share a meal with. It isn’t a lifetime commitment – it’s a meal! You might be surprised to find hours later talking and laughing and finding more in common with a stranger than you might imagine. This is true not only at Thanksgiving and Christmas but for other holidays too.

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