A collection of stories about Christmases past, which coincidentally tie together a number of things I’m passionate about.
2012 – Tokyo, Japan
An impulse decision – my first trip as a new ‘solo mum’ (hate that term!). I’d never travelled on my own, and now my 6 year old daughter and I were heading to a non-English speaking country where I knew nobody. I felt physically sick with worry that Christmas day as I boarded my flight.
In hindsight, Japan was amazing, we Couchsurfed and met wonderful people. Don’t ever believe you can’t travel with children. Since then we’ve both backpacked in Russia, Mongolia, Egypt, Kazakhstan and Chile (to name a few).
2013 – New Zealand
Started an 8 month relationship with a man who was emotionally abusive. Lesson: Value yourself, you are worth more than that, don’t put up with that shit. And call the police immediately if it ever gets physical. Don’t be embarrassed. Learn and move on.
2014 – Bethlehem, West Bank
The home of Christmas. We visited the Church of the Nativity and Manger Square, then spent the evening and Boxing Day with an amazing family full of love. They truly redefined for me what family was all about. We cooked and ate together, and their children and my daughter played and explored outside. It was a perfect couple of days.
Now … stop a moment and reflect on the picture you have built about that story. What does that family look like to you? In reality, we were in Bethlehem’s Aida Refugee Camp, and the family was Palestinian.
For many years my only knowledge of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict was what I heard in the media. Before we left I began researching and that - in conjunction with what I saw and heard in Israel and the West Bank - opened my eyes. If this email succeeds in only igniting your curiosity about the Palestinian side of the story, I’d be happy.
2015 – New Zealand
A Christmas without my daughter, and without my mother who died in 2015. I chose to spend most of the day volunteering at a community Christmas lunch. The experience allowed me to not only do something for others, which on its own is incredibly rewarding, but made me realise I how grateful I should be for what I have. Great life lessons.
CHRISTMAS YET TO COME
2016 – Cuba / Latin America
I’ll be travelling again; my study will be finished; I’ll be about to quit my job when I return to NZ and looking for a NGO, community work, or travel role (any offers of work Listserve people?); maybe there even might be a significant other. Who knows?
My friend Eugene lives in NYC, and recently visited Iran. He has been inspired by the people he met and wants to establish a foundation for Iranian women to further their education at international universities. If you can help in any way (financial, advice, etc) please email.
I love that Listserve is more than a one-way broadcast. I’m a business analyst and used to asking questions, so it would be awesome to get feedback on the following or anything in this email that resonates.
- The best/worst Christmas you’ve ever had?
- Any amazing travel destinations that may not be well-known?
- The biggest risk you took in life? Did it pay off?
- How to get a gift into Russia (for the man who saved my brother’s life). It was rejected by customs.
- How to get paint splashes off my flatmate’s chair before he sees it?
Wellington, New Zealand