While I preparing to leave Koh Rong in order to come home for Christmas, almost everyone I told was surprised.
“But why? Christmas will be amazing here!” was the common response.
It’s true that I would have had a wonderful time, had I chosen to stay. I would have had a Christmas dinner at Bong’s, drank a lot of beer with my friends, and headed to Police Beach for the Full Moon Party when I was suitably drunk.
It would have been a lot of fun.
But it wouldn’t have been Christmas.
Christmas is my favorite time of year, and I love the days and weeks leading up to the 25th. I love wandering around the Christmas markets drinking mulled wine and hot chocolate, I love watching trashy TV with a glass of Baileys in hand, and I love drinking hot coffee with my friends as we discuss our plans for the festive period.
I also love the rare chance to spend time with family who I otherwise don’t get a chance to see. I love my family’s routine of driving down to Bedfordshire on Christmas eve, to be greeted with my auntie and uncle and their table full of mince pies, various cheeses, and, of course, Bucks Fizz.
I’ve visited some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, and there’s no way that I’m ready to give up my nomadic lifestyle before it’s properly even started, but missing Christmas is not even an option for me. I could be on the other side of the world and I’d still be home for Christmas.
It’s something that I’ve promised myself.
Paradise islands will be around forever, but my family won’t. There have been too many serious illnesses in my family this year for me to take them for granted, and I never want to be in a position where I have to admit to myself that I’ve sold them out for a bit of nice weather and cheap beer.
No matter how far away I am, or how old I get, or what my circumstances are, I’m always going to be coming home for Christmas