My desire to travel over the Christmas holiday is new this year. For decades the season has been spent with family gathered together at one home or another with a big tree fully decorated, loads of sparkling gifts, and a tableful of tempting foods.

Christmas tree aglow with lights and surrounded by presents and stocking and decorations
So what happened this year?

This unusual urge to wander started me thinking about why people travel. For some it’s the challenge and the adventure. We just can’t wait to test ourselves in a new place to see if we can cope with new experiences and new cultures.

Or perhaps one goes just to have some fun and to do silly things in relative anonymity. For others it’s to experience new foods or to escape the humdrum of preparing one’s own food. This Christmas travel outing certainly wasn’t any of those for me.

I think Christmas brings with it a tiny bit of nostalgia. Why else would we still cling to old Christmas movies or the Coca-Cola Santa image? For many we’re looking for that feeling of magic we had as children. It often eludes us in all the hubbub and stress of the season. So one would think that adding a trip at Christmas would only compound the stress factor. Right?

Perhaps there’s a little bit of all the above in why I chose to wander off this year. I certainly managed to keep family close as I took my dog and kids with me. I also chose a place that had a lot of meaning and family memories. Perhaps in my own way I was seeking that nostalgia. I too was escaping reality and traveling back to a different and less pressured time.

I chose Pismo Beach, a favorite family vacation spot along the central California coast. Over the years we often stopped there on our way north. No, this year we didn’t have a tree or a big Christmas dinner. The only tree was the lights at the end of the pier.

A tree made of red Christmas lights shining at the end of Pismo Beach pier at twilight

We could see it in the distance from our patio. We did exchange a gift or two. Mostly we enjoyed each other’s company. And had a very happy Christmas, as well.
Obviously I wasn’t far out of my comfort zone with this choice. There was no challenge or different culture to explore. Nope, it was just pure escapism. And sometimes that’s reason enough.

Your thoughts?

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