I hadn't even realized it until a few weeks ago, but xmas 2011 was my 4th xmas celebrated in as many continents. Admittedly, I use the word "celebrated" pretty loosely as I'm neither religious, nor into the gift-giving, commercial bonanza that Dec 25th has turned itself into. Traveling, and my first xmas away in 2009, was a much needed break from the hustle and bustle that the end of the year inevitably brings back 'home' in Canada.
2008 - North America
Winter of 2008 in my hometown of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan Canada was particularly cold, even by Saskatchewan standards. The temperature didn't get warmer than -25c for 24 days straight, a new record. A day spent shuffling around town to visit family, it was cold, and the last one in Canada for awhile.
2009 - Oceania
After setting off on my first round-the-world adventure back in 2009, I found myself with two travel partners in Dasha and Keith traveling around New Zealand. Looking to do something different for the holidays, we trekked the Kepler Track in Fiordland National Park beginning on December 24th. The 4 day trek spans 60km overlooking New Zealand's typical breathtaking scenery.
Though we spruced up our bunks with some garland and a couple of stockings the night before, xmas day was a spent trekking on steep ridges in gusting winds. A quick summit of Mt Luxmore provided nothing but a brief moment of celebration, before kneeling down to prevent ourselves from being blown off the peak. No views more than 3 meters ahead from the peak on this day.
The clouds did break later in the day, and by the time we found our way down in the valley, it was relatively warm again. We rounded out the trek a couple of days later.
2010 - South America
A few days shy of celebrating xmas on Antarctica, my father and I spent December 25th hiking in Tierra del Fuego National Park after arriving back in Ushuaia, Argentina. It was a short 10km trek on the Hito XXIV Trail to the Chilean border along the shore of Lago Roca. Cool and foggy, it was a good day for a hike.
Arriving back in Ushuaia, the town was bustling after being eerily quiet the night before. Panicked that we wouldn't be able to find a place to eat, we sat down at an Irish pub and had a horrible meal of fish and potatoes. We remedied that mistake in the only way I know how: Ice cream. That evening, the owner of our guesthouse treated us to a show of the according with a lesson in the history of tango music.
2011 - Asia
This year, even though I was fighting a cold, I wanted to get something going on here in Chiang Mai, Thailand. We decided on a trip up to Doi Suthep west of Chiang Mai, making the last 3 xmas a "hat trick" for National Parks.
We spent an hour or so fighting the crowds up at Wat Pharathat Doi Suthep in Doi Suthep-Pui National Park before heading back home to Chiang Mai. Unfortunately there would be no big hikes today. A quiet meal at a local Mexican restaurant rounded out this low-key xmas.
2012 - ???
The only question left, is which continent I will find myself on next year on December 25th? (If you're my Mom, you're probably hoping for Canada).
Where did you spend your holiday season this year?