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Merry Christmas 2017

LashWorldTour in Kyoto at Christmas

Christmas in Kyoto – Japan

Merry Christmas 2017

Wowie, it’s that Christmas time of the year again! Merry Christmas all!

Unlike most people on the planet who celebrate Christmas, I rarely have Christmas with family. That’s because I’ve lived outside the USA since 1991 – six years in Kyoto, Japan followed by continuous world travel since 1998.

Instead, I usually celebrate Christmas solo in various countries around the world. Thus far I’ve enjoyed Christmases in Japan, Thailand, Bali-Indonesia, India, Myanmar, Philippines, New Zealand, Belize and Guatemala. This year I’ll be here in Nicaragua. More specifically, I’ll be at the rather remote, undeveloped Corn Islands off the coast of Nicaragua’s Caribbean Sea.

Since I’m rarely home for Christmas, I rarely receive or exchange Xmas presents either. All my family give me money instead, which they can easily deposit into my bank account. This is actually at my request, since it’s easiest for me, too, and I can choose how I want to use my Christmas money. Fun!

Christmas presents under treeBut when I do need to buy presents for people, I’m somewhat at a loss as to what to buy. I’m way out of practice!

Sometimes fellow travelers, especially guys, ask me for advice about what to buy their partner while they’re out traveling. Guys usually want to know if they should buy an oh- so romantic presents for her or something more practical and useful or else treat her to an exciting experience like an adventure tour, spa treatment, day cruise and so on. Should they keep the romantic gifts for Valentine’s Day? Or get one also for Christmas?

How should I advise them?! From my perspective, it all depends completely on each woman’s taste, interests and views on gifts. So the best I can do is a little ‘scheming’ whereby I chat ‘innocently’ with the woman about Christmas, travels and so on. It’s easy enough for me to find out her perspectives on Christmas, romance and favored gifts. Then I can ‘report back’ to her partner. Ha ha, Lash travel sleuth to the rescue!

Meanwhile, as I mentioned, unless I’m home for Christmas, I always receive some nice chunks of money to spend as I please. I usually prefer to spend it on special experiences, such as more expensive tour type adventures or luxury hotel stays or gourmet meals, all of which I don’t normally get to enjoy.

Chinese junk - Phang nga Bay - Thailand - PHuket

Chinese junk cruise in Phang nga Bay – Thailand

One year in Phuket, Thailand I took a boat tour on a historic Chinese Junk through stunning Phuket Bay. Another year in Bali I spent two nights at Hotel Tchampuan in Ubud, one of my fav luxury hotels on the entire island. In New Zealand I got to fly in a private plane over the mountains and coastline of northern South Island.

I haven’t actually set my special Christmas plans yet this year, but I’ve heard that the tropical Corn Islands are surrounded by great reefs for snorkeling and diving. Hopefully on Christmas day I’ll be out diving or snorkeling!

Tropical Islands are actually one of my favorite places to spend Christmas. Since that’s pretty much what I consider ‘paradise on Earth’ I can’t really think of a better place to enjoy Xmas, or any other holiday, for that matter. So regardless of what I get up to on Christmas Day this year, I’ll surely be enjoying myself.

LashWorldTour at Sanur Beach - Bali

enjoying Christmas at Sanur Beach – Bali

Although I don’t often return to the States for Xmas, I have done so a handful of times over the years. Since my Xmas visits are so infrequent, it’s extra special for everyone when I do make it back to the US.

I think my family appreciate it even more than I do since they’ve been celebrating Christmas their entire lives in the US with family. Whereas I have kind of deleted most American holidays like Thanksgiving and Fourth of July from my life. And I’ve become quite accustomed to celebrating Christmas solo.

I do have to admit that it is quite fun and exciting to go ‘home’ for Christmas. Of course, there’s the great aspect of visiting with family.

Lash - Pia - Brad at Xmas 2016I also very much enjoy the preparations – making Christmas cookies, shopping, wrapping presents, planning and making a big Christmas dinner, decorating a tree and various rooms around the house. Listening to Christmas music. I did all that last year at my mom’s house in St Pete and it was really fun.

I also definitely ‘make out like a bandit’ with presents in the years that I’m home for Christmas. Last year, for instance, I received everything I asked for and more (mostly travel-related presents).

I got my specially-requested pink watch, a portable/collapsible solar light, a bunch of high-end cycling accessories, gourmet tea, a bottle of vodka, Starbucks gift certificate and a body shop gift certificate. AND money to boot!

my Xmas presents 2016It’s also a lot of fun watching everyone else hand out and open up their presents. In my family we take turns selecting and handing out gifts in rounds, watching everyone open their new batch of presents. Then repeat.

We usually do the gifts after a hearty Christmas dinner followed by cookies and cocktails/wine/beer.

Lash n mom with Xmas treeNow that I’m writing about last year’s wonderful family Christmas in Florida, I might start wishing I was going back again this week for more Christmas fun. Alas, my plans are already set. Flights to/from Corn Islands booked, money gifts probably already being deposited as I write. Lol.

Maybe next year I’ll head back ‘home’ for Christmas…This time around I’ll be basking on white fluffy sands, darkening my tan and exploring the reefs off Corn Islands. I just hope I can find some tasty food to eat on ‘the big day’.

Meanwhile, I wish you all a very Merry Christmas, wherever you are this year!

Cheers, Lash

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