Happy New Year…

The NYE celebrations are always something to look forward to. For me it is the one holiday that truly signals hope and a chance for adventure or change. This year however I found myself without any plans to see the new year in and it got me down. I had family over for dinner but it wasn’t long before they had left leaving me with an evening to myself. You’re probably thinking ‘why didn’t the family stay?’ it’s nothing dramatic they just don’t really do the whole NYE celebration thing. So I spent the night alternating from watching TV and taking leisurely dips in the pool to cool off from the warm summer night. At the stroke of midnight I was floating in the pool watching the stars peek between the clouds that appeared to be glowing from nearby fireworks some legal, most illegal. Instead of feeling alone at that moment and sorry for myself I found myself thinking of all the NYE celebrations that have gone before me and how lucky I’ve been to enjoy in the creation of some fairly great memories.

I remembered going to Italy with good friends from work and arriving in Milan on New Year’s Eve with Pam and her mum. We wandered the city before returning to our hotel room only to crash and sleep straight through the celebrations to awake groggy and jet lagged into the new year’s morning. We spent our first day of 2011 wandering the streets of a very sleepy Como. The day felt like a dream as we watched the locals slowly emerge from homes to open shop fronts and cafes. We took the ferry around the lake, it was bitterly cold as the winter sun seemed to be just as sleepy as the locals. The views were like something out of a story book as we drifted from one side of the lake to the other watching locals and tourists hop on and off the ferry.

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When we returned to the town it had come alive and market stalls had popped up with friendly banter filtering through the air. We had pasta for lunch as we soaked up the sunshine that had won the battle with the high clouds. I remember sitting there with my pasta and my friends just people watching and thinking how lucky I am to be starting the year like this!

It wasn’t long before I was overseas again for a New Year’s Eve and it would again be with Pam that I would be traveling with. We laughed and joked about surely not falling asleep again for another NYE as we traveled with our little Intrepid group through Thailand. We arrived in Sangkhlaburi in the afternoon and discovered our guest house would be on the shore of the beautiful Khao Laem Lake. We had dinner at the neighbouring accommodation and it was evident that we were one of the few tourists in the area with mainly locals setting up tents on the grassy banks by the lake and eating along the large stone balcony that we all shared. We soon got chatting with our little group as we watched the sun set in the distant hills behind the lake.

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As the night rolled on our guide presented us with a paper lantern and we signed our names and wishes for 2014 onto the paper. We wandered down to the shore of the lake and stood on the little jetty watching little glowing lanterns from around the lake rise up into the heavens. We lit our own lantern and held onto it hoping that we knew what we were doing, the locals smiled at our enthusiasm as we excitedly released our lantern. We watched it rise only to list to a side before sailing on down into the lake a few feet out of reach of rescue. The local children giggled at the sound of our dismay and our own amusement and it wasn’t long before we were given another lantern to try again. Maybe our wishes were too heavy for the first one, but the second one soon left us to sail onward and upwards.

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We cheered before returning to the balcony and our beers. When the new year rang in fireworks exploded along the lake as more lanterns took off on their leisurely updrafts to the stars.  The owner of the restaurant came to our table to wish us a happy new year and told us to help ourselves to drinks in the fridge as he went off to be with family. It was such a relaxing way to move into a new year and again I found myself smiling at the thought that I was starting another year with a new adventure.

Between the years of travel there have been many NYE celebrations spent at Kerrie and Rob’s place with my best friend Mel. I remember my first NYE with Kerrie and Rob and being nervous about intruding on their celebrations after accepting an offer from Mel to join her and her family for the night. My nerves were banished as soon as I arrived with Kerrie’s wonderful warmth as she welcomed me to her home. We all sat outside with cold drinks to combat the warm summer night and played with glow sticks, party poppers and sparklers.

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We ate party food and cake and had the music blaring but it wasn’t as loud as the laughs we were having. I’ve always enjoyed a NYE celebration with Kerrie and Rob and more importantly my best friends Mel and Adam. We can get a laugh by just looking at each other in that knowing way and it’s with all of that happening that I know that the new year coming is always going to have goodness in it.

So even though I spent this NYE alone when the clock struck twelve I had the memories of past great NYE celebrations to keep me afloat for 2016.

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