Ah Christmas, the time for love and goodwill to all. I tend to get pretty nostalgic and reflective around this time of year! This year, whilst I’m on my biggest trip yet and also away from home at Christmas for the first time, I’ve been thinking about all the things that travel has made me appreciate more.
One of the things that makes travel so great is the way it pushes you out of your comfort zones. Travelling will always widen your horizons in someway or another. For me this means I can now reflect on ‘normal life’ and see how much I take for granted, and what I should be more grateful for!
The first, and probably most significant, thing travel has made me appreciate more is having access to clean water. Growing up this was always just a given: that you could turn on pretty much any tap and drink the water safely. However it wasn’t until I spent a week in Asia that I realised quite what a privilege this is…
According to the World Health Organisation, in 2015 there were 2.1 billion people living without access to clean water. This varies from having to consume contaminated water to having to travel over half an hour to access safe water. Obviously we see the charity appeals on TV and learn in school about access to clean water but it wasn’t until it was my reality that I understood what this actually meant; and that was just that I couldn’t easily access drinking water, never mind the host of diseases that come from having to consume contaminated water. Hopefully this is something I never take for granted again!
The next thing I’m more grateful for than ever is my family. It’s pretty common to spend the Christmas period grumbling about having relatives over, having petty arguments and generally just getting under each others feet. However after spending my Christmas over 10,000 miles away from my family, I’ve come to realise just how much I appreciate getting to spend that time with them. I guess absence truly does make the heart grow fonder… However I’m also so grateful to have a family that encourages me to spend my time travelling the world rather than something more conventional, and that they support me in everything I do!
I’m also grateful for my home, and that I know when I fly back to England I’ll have a cosy house waiting for me, and my own room and bed to cuddle up in! It isn’t until I started spending long periods of time on the move and living out of a backpack that I realised quite how nice it is to have a stable home I can always return to. Although when I’m home I find my house and village super boring and restrictive, they are familiar and comforting in a way nowhere else is.
There are also some other (less deep) things that I’ve become grateful for whilst travelling. These include not having to walk 3 corridors to wee in the middle of the night at home, having a fridge where I can spread my food out without worrying it will be thrown away or stolen (unless it’s chocolate) and not having to worry about carrying/ losing my room key at all times!
Is there anything that Christmas makes you reflect on? What would be the number one thing you would miss if you travelled abroad?
Happy Christmas and I hope you all have a wonderful New Year:)