It’s soon approaching Christmas and I want to do a cool and quirky community feature.
What do I want? All I want to know is where you spent your Xmas and NYE. Obviously a lot of people will be away and I think it’d be cool to show exactly where our community’s been to show they’re not alone.
I’m looking for about 100-150 words on where you were, when, and what you did. Also, some gapper photos would be awesome!
If you could either post on here or send them to me at Editor@gapyear.com then I’ll make sure you’re featured!
Thanks gappers and I’m looking forward to reading where you’ve been.
From this year or previous years?
Christmas Day 2010.
Raglan & Waitomo
Woke up in Raglan to some guy preaching about parking illegally but how he’d be nice ‘just this once’ because it was Christmas morning. Surely he had something better to be doing?
Had Christmas dinner sat in Waitomo Caves carpark with two other families- weird, but a great day.
NYE 2010- Wellington.
We joined a huge gathering of locals in the city centre expecting some fireworks. Nothing happened! Not even a sparkler- and half the locals missed the countdown, and all dispersed by 12:15. Totally lame- a hostel party would be much better!
I’ve always been in the UK for Christmas. Christmas represents family to me so I’ve always been with my family, or at my in-laws’, or just with my other half. I’m not sure I’d want to travel over Christmas. There are 364 other days I’d rather be away.
When I was 14 we’d been hiking a couple of weeks before xmas and found a nice little cave in Settle, Yorkshire with a great view. My dad decided it would be different to spend xmas day there.
Xmas day came, freezing cold, rain, wind and we’re all sat in a cave next to a single travel lantern eating turkey sandwhiches and flask of hot chocolate.
Christmas dinner on boxing day that year was amazing!
In 2009 I did went trekking to Everest Base Camp over Christmas and New Year. On Christmas Day we trekked from Tengboche to Dingboche through the snow. Arriving at the Tea House and we treated ourselves to pizza just so it would differentiate the day from the lentils and garlic soup of every other day. We even had a late night until 9.30pm!
By New Year we were on our way back from Base Camp and spent the night in Phakding. There’d been heavy snowfall the night before so the days trekking has taken 3 times longer than it was supposed to. We had a party in our tea house and even guests at some of the neighbouring tea houses came to join us. We played charades with the porters, then got taught Nepali dance moves, which we had perfected by the end of the night after a handful of beers!
This is awesome guys! Keep em coming in!
In 2008 I spent Christmas and New Year’s in Vietnam on a tour. It was very interesting. For Christmas the tour did Secret Santa which was nice. For New Year’s not much celebration some fireworks but nothing big. I remember drinking a lot with the group.
Where’s Warrick, Lunny, James and Gary on this thread? You must have some stories to tell about spending Xmas away from home…
One year I spent Christmas in Bolivia and New Year in Peru.
Christmas was at Copacabana on the shores of Lake Titicaca. It was… less glamorous than the more famous Copacabana in Brazil.
It was weird because no one seemed to care it was Christmas. I had a cheap burger for Christmas dinner. It was an underwhelming festive meal.
New Year in Peru was more exciting. It was in Cusco. The atmosphere in the town square was electric. But there were no clocks, so no one actually knew when it was midnight. Which was confusing.
Then people kept firing fireworks into the centre of the crowd. It looked like a tradition. A dangerous tradition.
The New Year party at the hostel went on til midday, fuelled by fizzy pop and whizzy sherbet. When we were delirious from the sherbet, everyone watched Rocky Balboa. I think it had a profound effect on everyone’s lives.
I spent Christmas and NYE of 2009 in Toronto. By this point I’d moved out of the hostel into a flat, but I ended up going back to the hostel for my Christmas dinner as all my closest friends were there. It was a little bit of a let down as a Trek American group who were booked in at the last minute decided to screw everything up and demand they all wanted dinner.
However NYE was awesome and the part just went on and on. One of the members of staff almost set fire to the hostel by striking at hanging streamer with a sparkler… clever!
Growing up I spent most Christmas’ abroad skiing. My first one was in Bulgaria. We stayed in one of those triangular lodges and I remember on Christmas day waking to find one of these sledges: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B004EALL6E/?tag=hydra0b-21&hvadid=9550948389&ref=asc_df_B004EALL6E You c.an get them online here now, but when I was 6 years old, I was the envy of all my friends back home having such an epic sledge from a ski resort!
I also remember having to take refuge for a little while in a mountain hut on Boxing Day in Andorra as the weather/winds got so bad. Later that holiday I was carried off the mountain side and taken to hospital…. mountain rescue hugely overreacted, it was a bruise!
Courcheval always did a good Christmas - Santa would ski into one resort, paraglide into another etc. Very festive!
I spent Christmas 2010 in Mancora, Peru. Decided to ‘‘splash out’’ on a nicer hotel and ended up in a dreadful eco hotel. I counted 200 bedbug bites on my right arm on christmas day morning. So that wasnt exactly enjoyable.
I moved on to Huacachina,Peru for New year. Where i stayed in a hostel/bar. We had a really cool New year meal and then the owner decided he wanted to go out with his wife. He decided I was the most trustworty person staying there and left me in charge of his bar. Unfortunately for him I was already to wankered to stay honest and along with another guy we tried our best to drink the nights profits dry.
2008 Christmas: Sihanoukville, Cambodia:
I was a part of a tour group that had gotten to know each other fairly well over the weeks and we had a massive party on the beach. Not too many memories of this bar, wrestling in the sea, walking around in my pants and having local kids on our shoulders for ‘shoulder wars’ in the shallow water. Fire show? Ah i don’t know…
2008 New Year: Bangkok, Thailand:
Apparently chatted up by a lady boy who I had become ‘mates with’. Games of peanuts with locals. I had on an awful floral, white shirt. That was the year of the tragic fire in a nightclub that killed a lot of people. My group hadn’t seen me come home so asked the maid to open the hotel room door to check I was fine. They were greeted with my bare arse, butt naked, and sprawled across the bed. Needless to say, I was fine.
Christmas 2009: Brisbane, Australia:
I had organized with a fellow Brit last minute, to have lunch somewhere and get boozy. On Christmas morning she let me down. I was left on my own with the dog, picking at stuff from the fridge. I got a phone call from my good friend Rob, wishing me a merry Christmas. He asked me what I was up to and I told him. Within the hour, he had gotten into his car, swung round the house and picked me up, taking me to his parents house. Last minute his mum had set up a place mat for me at the table and wrapped a bottle of wine for me. I was grateful and flattered and I’ll never forget that kind gesture. It was a beautiful meal and a glorious afternoon.
New Year 2009: Brisbane, Australia:
Before leaving for town I was told I didn’t look smart enough so my flatmate shaved my head with a pair of clippers and threw a shirt at me. I had became good friends with lads from the football team and we headed to the valley for a more generic New Year. Hit the clubs, had a laugh and watched a tribute band. Good night.
Christmas 2010: Wolfegg, Germany:
I had met my German girlfriend on the way home from Australia, and had moved to Germany. This was low key, traditional and involved a lot of beer, smoking far too much with her brother and playing fifa.
New Year 2010: Wolfegg, Germany:
Wolfegg is a tiny town and most of the young people had put on an outdoor party at the local community centre. They sculpted an Ice bar, set up DJ equipment and strobe lights and we parted into the night around a bonfire in freezing conditions. I was treated like a celebrity for being Scottish and I remember how kind people were and how much fun I had chatting away (in German and English).
Christmas 2011: Sandakan, Borneo (rainforest lodge)
We had planned on going to see the Orangutans on Christmas day but the weather was atrocious. In fact, so bad we were flooded in to our lodge. The road was blocked and no one was leaving. Luckily I had prepared for this, and had stocked up with a bottle of gin, bottle of Vodka, batteries for my speakers and a tonne of chocolate. With the lodge only having a handful of guests, we invited everyone (including the staff) up to our room for drinks and we did just that, looking out into (what was left) of the rainforest.
New year 2011: Mabul, Borneo:
Had an amazing time here. We had spent the day diving and the evening sat around the dock, looking out into the ocean. A guitar, 15 bottles of local whisky and some of the nicest locals I have ever met. On midnight we all jumped off the dock (to which I slammed into a sea-urchin) and danced the next 4 hours away. Great memories. Didn’t think I’d make the midday dive on New Years day but as it turned out, that was the best one. Beautiful.
My NYE 2011 was bizarre and epic. I was with two of my friends in Manila, which seemed a bit of a dump, and we decided to head to the street party in Makati, which is a more upmarket district. Along the way, street children were letting off fireworks at the roadside and we were walking through clouds of smoke - it all felt very surreal. The street party was cool; there were loads of people gathered around and at the countdown there was a big firework display.
However, it was after midnight that the fun really started ... Whilst on Boracay for Christmas, we’d met this Canadian-Filipino couple in their 40s (I’ll call them Mr and Mrs Smith). They were incredibly glamorous and absolutely loaded - they owned their own company; it was a bit vague exactly what they did but they were involved in anti-fraud stuff and clearly moved in high circles. For some reason they seemed to take a shine to us, despite the age difference, and told us to contact them when we got to Manila. So we emailed them and they told us to come along to a club they were at.
When we turned up at the entrance, we realised how totally underdressed we were - I was wearing denim shorts and flip flops, and another guy we’d met on Boracay was in hiking sandals and a polo shirt. Everyone walking into the club was dressed up to the nines, and of course the bouncers took one look at us and turned us away! However, once they heard this the Smiths came out and Mrs Smith called up a member of her entourage, who arrived shortly afterwards with a pair of designer stilettos for me to wear. Mr Smith gave his velvet suit jacket to the guy in the polo shirt and had a quiet word with the bouncers and we were all allowed inside, where we danced until about 5am up on the stage. The Smiths bought all our drinks, of course.
Mr and Mrs Smith were accompanied by five bodyguards, who stood behind us for the whole evening, unmoving and unsmiling. One of them had to hold Mrs Smith’s handbag and very girly cocktail whilst she danced, but somehow he made this look manly! As dawn broke, the Smiths decided it was time for us to get something to eat, so we went outside to find three huge black 4x4s with tinted windows waiting for us. We divided up into them, along with the bodyguards, and travelled in a staggered convoy to a swanky casino, which was busy even at 5am on New Year’s Day.
We went for a light meal at a ‘casual’ Asian restaurant at the back of the casino, and then got back into the car and we were chauffeured back to our hotel, arriving at 7am. The Smiths waved goodbye and drove off, leaving us on the pavement wondering if the events of the past few hours had actually happened ... I still don’t understand why they showed us such hospitality, but it was definitely an unforgettable NYE!
New years 2008 I went to Prague to meet my friend who was studying there. Spent the day having a mass snowball fight in one of the parks over there and eating far to much extremely cheap and tasty Goulash before hitting the beer.
Ended up at a house party until about half 11 before heading to another park overlooking Prague castle to watch the fireworks go off. All this in just a shirt and jacket in -20C temperatures drinking extremely cheap and very rank champagne. Before heading off to one of the local clubs to party the night away and ended up sleeping with some Belgian girl.
Good good times but confirmed I much prefer the heat to the cold -20 is just not fun.
Xmas 2010 Was spent on Koh Tao and to this day I still consider that xmas eve the best day of my life. It was nothing out of the ordinary for a day on one of Thailands beaches to be honest just me and 3 friends I was travelling with lounging on the beach chucking an american football about and snorkling.
I just really appreciated where I was and how lucky I was to be out there. I also realised what great friends I’d made along the way. Acouple of whom would randomly turn up that evening as they’d made a last minute decision to come over from Samui.
The night was just messy messy messy chang and Sangsom all over the gaff and what I like about Tao is it’s small enough to get to know quite a lot of the people out there so it was great to bring in Xmas day with everyone. Myself and 2 of my friends i was travelling with also managed to pull a stunner each and rather than argue over who got to use our room we decided to use 3 of the boats moored up next to each other.
Xmas day was spent exchanging little gifts we’d got one another and getting massages. We also searched in vain during the day to find somewhere serving a xmas dinner. Thankfully someone from another group of people I’d met along the way knew a chef. So he got all the gear he needed together and we got on a long tail boat to one of the lesser used beaches and he cooked us up a feast.
Well as no one else has said it yet I will throw in the ubiquitous Sydney 2009.
Stayed in a hostel North of Manly for Xmas. Had a really good group of us (About 20-30). We all chipped in and had a massive Xmas Buffet. Went for a swim at the beach all dressed in Santa Hats, drunk goon out of tea cups before everything turning a bit messy with aerosol/spray cream later on.
For NYE went down to harbour to watch fireworks. Went through about 6 boxed of goon betwenn 5 of us (and a bottle of scotch). Highlight was one of my friends was a musician and brough his guitar - at about 11pm we got him up on a bench and had about 150 people singing along to Wonderwall. Was pretty epic at the time.