Today is my 26th birthday, and it’s the first birthday I’ve been able to celebrate at home in 3 years. It is sort of strange when looking back at my last two birthdays, I find myself in London, drinking Pimm’s and lemonade, or chugging down rosehip margaritas at my favourite local pub.
The first birthday I spent abroad was my 21st. It was my first trip to Europe, so there was a level of crazed excitement, but also terrible jetlag. Chris passed out almost immediately, and I spent the evening sitting in the lobby of the hotel, Skyping my parents with a really bad connection. If that were me now, I would have then bought a couple of Heineken and strolled around town, even if it meant being by myself. But Europe was new to me, and I wasn’t the confident traveller I am now.
Two years ago when we moved to London, I faced my first birthday living in a new country. we had only just arrived, and having two weeks of London under my belt I didn’t really know what to do. Thankfully two of our best friends lived in London too, and they had a much better lay of the land. Our friend Adam is basically the London pub expert, so he crafted a very exciting pub crawl for us, the apex of which saw us watching hundreds of naked bikers whipping through the cramped streets around Covent Garden. To this day that is still one of my favourite memories of London. It was so unexpected, but we were in the right place at the right time, and got to catch one of the most bizarre fundraisers I’ll ever likely see. We were just drinking our Pimm’s in peace, when suddenly everyone poured out of the pub onto the street. Naturally we followed, and joined in the cheering and jeering at all of the naked bikers. All these people in their birthday suits on my birthday!
Last year’s birthday was much more low key, but it was also one of the best. Knowing we only had a few short weeks left in London, we headed down to our favourite local, The Priory Tavern, and drank, played darts, and ate some great food. My cousin was visiting then, and it made it even more special. The next day, my actual birthday, we flew out to Iceland for a few days before heading home to Canada for another cousin’s wedding. In Iceland we got to visit our beautiful friend Sól, and she took us to this great little restaurant in Reykjavik called Snaps Bistro.
I would suggest spending at least one of your many birthdays abroad. I’ve had the privilege of sharing mine with some of my best friends, and they have been some of the funnest times of my travels abroad. Give yourself an excuse to party, and excuse to live it up. I always think a birthday is a great time to take stock of who you’ve become and where you are in life. So give it a try somewhere else. Maybe you’ll learn something about yourself that you didn’t already know.