For a long time I had planned to go to Allahabad, India for Christmas and New Year’s. On Tuesday, December 18th my friend told me he changed his flight and would be coming home later. He requested I try to visit him in mid-January instead.
This was fine, but all of a sudden I had nowhere to be on Christmas. The next logical stop from Bombay heading south is Goa, but Goa is a beach/party place that is in extra party-mode for the holidays. It’s hard to find a place to stay and it’s not a place I particularly care to visit.
Almost without thinking I visited United.com to see if I could find a free ticket home using frequent flier miles. I couldn’t believe it, but there were plenty of options. I checked to see if there were free tickets coming back in January and there were. I called my dad to run the crazy idea of flying home by him. He was shocked but said yes, come.
Within 24 hours I was on a plane heading home.
I left Bombay the night of Wednesday the 19th and had layovers in Newark, Cleveland (where I consider home), ending in Washington DC. I had a four hour layover in Cleveland where I could see an aunt and uncle, and I flew to Washington DC to see another aunt/uncle/cousin. My cousin had a baby two weeks earlier so it would really be special to see this new addition to the family at such a young age.
Unfortunately, in Newark the plane underwent an hour of maintenance and then another 3 hours of delays because the hangar door wouldn’t open! I didn’t get a chance to see my family in Cleveland. But given how busy the holidays are with traveling, how bad the weather was (snow in Cleveland, high winds in Newark and Washington DC), I was very lucky to arrive at my final destination just an hour behind schedule.
Below are a few pictures from the journey home.
My brother picked me up from the bus station. He only found out I was coming an hour beforehand. It was nice to see him and we headed home.
I asked my brother to take a video of the surprise. He agreed. I actually have no video of my parents at all and if I ever have kids it’ll be nice to have something to show them someday.
I didn’t know what to expect or how my mom would take it. But what resulted is what I think Christmas is all about. It’s not about exchanging gifts and giving people stuff. It’s about love, happiness, and joy. It’s not easy being a nomad’s mom. There are always reasons to worry and of course she misses me. As I do my best to spread joy, happiness, and positivity around the world, I thought it was time I do the same for my own family.
By chance, I took this picture on Christmas day. It was the 30,000 picture I’ve taken on The Happy Nomad Tour. My hair decided to be extra crazy for the occasion, I guess!
The icing on the cake for going home was my brother’s dog, Cleveland. I fell in love with him when I was home last time and I’m really looking forward to spending time with him now.
However, I worried that he might have forgotten who I am. Though I fed him extravagantly and gave him lots of love last time I was home, I don’t know how robust dogs’ memories are.
I think the video below, taken a minute after the video above embracing my mom, shows that Cleveland remembered who I am and was excited to see me :).
Although my family exchanged no gifts this year, we were together and we couldn’t have been happier. Despite how commercial the holidays have become, I hope sharing my story helps reinvigorate the holiday spirit within you. I also hope you do something special for your mom in the coming year. I’m sure she’ll appreciate it :).