Celebrating one's birthday away from home inevitably means celebrating away from friends and family. However, there is also pros to this kind of celebration.
16.03.2016 - 18.03.2016 20 °C
My 18th years birthday was held in Rome, the 20th in Egypt, the 24th in Canada, the 27th in Mongolia and now I have turned 30 in Morocco. So though it sounds like bragging, I am getting pretty good at celebrating abroad. The obvious con of celebrating your birthday abroad is that you do not celebrate with your friends and family, but instead with complete strangers.
That is also the first pro. For ‘strangers’ do not stay strangers for very long when you travel. Especially when travelling alone. You simply become more outreaching and engaging to not go insane from loneliness. This is why the same three or so questions always initiate a new meeting between travellers at hostels, guesthouses and bars across the world: “So, where are you from?”, “How long have you been in *insert country*?” and “How long are you staying for?”. It is simply the etiquette for approaching new people to create friends out of strangers. Add to this, that most travellers are alike (compared to the general population). Young of mind, adventurous, fond of the unknown, open-minded and in need of turning strangers into friends. So why is this a pro of celebrating birthdays abroad? Because most travellers like a party and a birthday is an excuse for having a one. Parties are and will always be the easiest way to turn strangers into friends. So birthdays make up a fast track of making new friends, where the alternatives are rather stiff conversations over breakfast or semi-forced travel talk on a roof terrace as the sun sets. Just because making friends is a necessity and travellers are alike, does not mean that it is a piece of cake. A birthday help smoothes things along.
Secondly, having people who, few hours or days ago, were complete strangers celebrating you feels splendid indeed. That people you just met, think that they should celebrate you is really something, which makes the brain cells that control self-worth tingle. Thirdly, you hostel will do nice things for you, e.g. give you a free room/bed, provide dinner, a birthday cake or something else that will make you really happy when you travel on a budget. Sleeping arrangements are averagely a quarter of my budget when travelling. So I happily take any freebie I can get close to – and birthdays often equal freebies.
This year was no exception. Upgraded from a dorm bed to a private room, birthday cake on the house, birthday songs in English, Spanish, Korean and Arabic, and a party that included alcohol, something rare in an Islamic country like Morocco (though it is not illegal here). The point of this is not only to brag about my birthdays abroad or tell people at home that I had a nice birthday without them. I sincerely would encourage you to try this. At least once in your life. Travel abroad, preferably alone, during your birthday week, and try it out. I cannot stress enough how fantastic it is to have people who barely know you, celebrating you. If you feel sorry for friends and family, you can always through a birthday for those people a week before your actually birthday. Trust me; they will probably not care that much.
On that note, I hope you will give it a go. Having also enjoyed this birthday abroad, I arrive in Rabat today and move in with the host family (more about the later), whom I will be living with for the next four weeks of French lessons. I start school tomorrow.
Take care, wherever you are!