Get it, like moray eel? Because I’m on a scuba holiday? It’s funny, damn it.
Anyway, if you can forgive my horrible pun, this post will be about my first Christmas away from my family.
This was a huge year, especially the last six months. I’ve graduated university, got a taste of the “real world” working full-time over summer and moved back to the U.K. to start a Master’s degree.
There are several reasons I didn’t go home for Christmas:
- The cost: a return flight to Phoenix costs upwards of £1,000. No, thanks.
- The travel time: from my house to the airport can be between an hour or three hours, plus a few hours to arrive early, and the travel time can be up to 15 hours depending on my route and layovers… then an addition two hours to drive to Tucson from Phoenix. Door-to-door is usually close to a day long. Again, no thanks.
- Work: the pub I work at is closed for a few days over Christmas and a lot of people are staying home to spend time with their families, so it will be rather quiet at work. This is probably one of the few times I can get away with taking ten days off of work and I would like to maximize that time.
- The ghost of Christmas past: the last two Christmases I spent with my (now ex-) boyfriends and my mom in the E.R. that started a tough year of a struggle with her health. Christmas at home has not been great to me these last few years and I wanted to have a more fond memory of Christmas to look back on throughout the year.
- The timing: I’ve only just moved away from home to spread my wings and fly. Although I really miss my family some days, it’s only been a few months since I saw them last and they can’t expect me to visit, especially from the other side of the world, for every single special occasion.
Instead, I took a holiday to Egypt, where I took a day trip to Cairo before boarding a LiveAboard boat which is taking me around different dive sites in the northern Red Sea all week with up to four dives a day. I chose this holiday because Egypt has mild weather this time of the year and I would really like to improve my scuba diving skills before my field course to South Africa in April. A LiveAboard seemed like an incredible way to get in a lot of dives in a short amount of time!
I will speak more about my time on the boat once I return in a few days, but right now, I can tell you that about 15 passengers came as couples or small families and another half dozen came alone like me. However, we all get to know each other pretty well, especially if you’re dive buddies or roommates, and spend a lot of time together. This morning, we woke up to a decorated boat with streamers, balloons and several small Christmas trees. A lot of the passengers were feeling the holiday cheer and wore Santa hats, Christmas jumpers and even elf pajamas throughout the day. Also, some other passengers we were Christmas-themed diving shirts, suggestion they’ve done this before. I found comfort in the fact that there were passengers who’ve spent Christmas away from their loved ones and thought it was worth it enough to do it again. After a long but fun day of diving, we all gathered for Christmas dinner of wine, turkey, stuffed zucchinis and all the sides and desserts we could eat and then some. I have been loving this trip and am so happy this is what I decided to do this holiday season.
As for my family, I got to talk to my dad on Christmas Eve as I wasn’t sure what my Internet situation would be on Christmas Day and it was great to see the family and the house all decorated. As it turns out, my family had a pretty low-key Christmas, so I probably wouldn’t have enjoyed myself as I would past years anyway. They have posted gifts to my house and I’ve posted gifts back home that we will open on Skype once I return from my holiday.
I had a great Christmas sharing laughs with people I’ve come to know and like on this trip and look forward to the next few days of adventures as our trip comes to an end. Merry Christmas, everyone!
Photo by: Rodion Kutsaev