I have always wanted to travel. Since I was seven years old and really understood the concept of going abroad, I told my parents I was going to see the world. And thankfully, I wasn’t wrong. At nineteen, I studied abroad in California; and it was everything I ever imagined.
Of course, I was regularly asked if I felt homesick, and you know what? I didn’t. Not one bit. I missed my friends and family of course, but all I wanted to do was bring them to me, not go home to them. I watched as my English room mate had moments of weakness where she debated taking the next flight back to our homeland, but I just never had those feelings. Until, my birthday came around.
Suddenly, as my new friends got ready to celebrate me leaving my teen years behind, all I wanted to do was go home and have my mother hug me happy birthday. A natural feeling, obviously, but one I wasn’t expecting. So when, at twenty-two, I left the UK behind yet again, and headed off to visit the deep blue oceans and cloudless skies of Australia, I couldn’t help but feel nervous for this day to come around again.
I know that most people will say travelling on your birthday is a good thing. Who wouldn’t want to jet away for a long weekend to really make the occasion count. But, trust me, being away from home while your birthday happens, is not the same as booking an adventure away because of it.
Yes, while you get to explore a new place and do something for the big day that you will probably never get to do ever again, it brings up a lot of emotions that, if you’re like me, you didn’t think you were even facing.
As your new friends give you presents and cards, you start to remember what your old friends did for you last year and the year before that. As your boyfriend starts booking tables and sending invites you start to remember that family dinner you had the year before, and all the years your mum was there to comfort you whenever you felt feelings like this. It all starts to get a bit too much.
But it’s not all bad. Here’s a few things to make travelling on your birthday, suck a little less.
1. Comfort Eat.
Who needs another excuse to eat what they want? Me. Birthdays are the perfect excuse to do just what you please with no guilt. Forget green juices and protein, divulge in cake and allow it make you feel better the way it intends to. I’ll personally be eating my body weight in burgers and cheesecake this afternoon to forget how much I miss my friends and family this time of year.
2. Use it as an excuse to make new memories and traditions.
Yes, the birthday lunch your mum makes you every year is what you count down the days for, but going out for lunch with some new friends in a completely new culture is actually a pretty awesome experience. Plus, your mum’s lunch will be there for you next year.
3. You’ll feel better about your life as another year passes.
Naturally, any birthday after your nineteenth bash causes you to debate your life achievements and direction. Are you just wasting your life away watching gossip girl re-runs and eating peanut butter out of the jar? Yeah, me too. But if I am doing that in Australia rather than at home, that’s okay right? Right. In hindsight, it’s hard to feel like you’re not doing anything with your life when just a few weeks ago, you went snorkelling at the great barrier reef.
4. You’ll learn who your true friends are.
The older you get, the realise that learning who your true friends are is important. What’s the point in fighting for someone’s approval or acceptance any more? You’re far too independent to waste your time on people who don’t see how fabulous you are. And being away from home will do you a favour by sieving those people out of your life for you and just leave behind those besties you love so much.
5. Your first birthday back home will be even bigger and better.
What better excuse to make your next birthday even more of an event than you were away from all your friends and family last year? Get out the party poppers and champagne, there’s going to be a party!