I really don’t enjoy being home for the holidays. So for the past few years, I’ve made a concerted effort to be anywhere but there. I have no sad childhood stories to explain my feelings. But for some reason, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to like being any place other than at home when it comes time to fry the turkey and deck the halls.
It wasn’t always this way, though.
As a kid, I enjoyed the early wake up summons from my mom bright and early on Christmas mornings. On Thanksgiving, it was my dad’s back and forth journey to check the status of the turkey in the outdoor fryer that caught my early morning attention. On those days, after the holiday rituals were over, I enjoyed sauntering around the house doing absolutely nothing.
But as I’ve grown older, I’ve become bored with the whole ordeal of holidays. After the gifts have been opened, after the turkey has been eaten, there’s not much to do except go back to life as usual.
So a few years ago, I decided to switch things up a bit.
It was my first semester of grad school. I was a full-time student, so hours of my day were spent at my dining room table working, studying, researching, crying, and other school related activities. Campus was a good 30-45 minutes away, so there was no way I was going there for any other reason outside of attending my evening classes, which meant that the dining room table and me spent a lot of time together. For Thanksgiving that year, I had a trip planned to see my parents in Virginia, which turned into a visit to New York and my long awaited opportunity to see the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade firsthand. It was great! Seeing the parade and eating out for our Thanksgiving meal was a really great experience. But what made it even better was the opportunity to do something different, to be somewhere, anywhere outside the four walls of home.
Thanksgiving in New York was just the beginning. That same year, we took it up a notch and booked a short Caribbean cruise for the Christmas holiday. Although our cruise returned back to port on Christmas Eve, it was still nice to do something other than routine holiday stuff. There were no last minute runs to the store. No top-to-bottom house cleaning in preparation for guests. My favorite: there was none of the ordinary holiday duties that made me question the reality of my “vacation.” Instead there were people who were kindly at our beck and call. Food was in abundance. Entertainment was abundantly varied. Each morning we awoke to beautiful, blue water. We walked the sandy Bahamian beaches and ate the local food. Since then, holidaying it away from home has become the rule rather than the exception. So much so that last year we made the decision to stay home “for once.”
As I write this it is Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving. I am sitting on a lounge chair, on a balcony overlooking the Gulf of Mexico. Boats are zooming by. Families are walking alongside the shore. For this Thanksgiving we decided to revisit a place that I spent many summers at as a child: the Sanibel Harbour Marriott Resort & Spa. We’re all here. Away from the monotony of life. No one slaved over Thanksgiving dinner. Whole Foods did it for us. No exorbitant cleaning. The cleaning service took that task on. Thankfully, we were able to enjoy the holiday as it was meant to be enjoyed.
Here are a few pictures from holidays passed.
What has been your favorite holiday traveling experience? Please share below!