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5 Unique Christmas traditions to experience!

The season to be jolly is finally here and we can’t wait to binge on Christmas family movies and sweet treats! While Christmas always reminds us of mainstream Christmas Trees, plum cakes and Santa Claus, here are some of the unique ways to experience Christmas across the world! If you’re a solo traveller, don’t forget to mark your annual calendar for a unique memory to cherish for yourself, every December!

  1. Spain :

In Spain, Caga Tio is a hollowed log with a man-like figure. This must be fed with goodies like sweets and nuts. On Christmas eve, families put him on fire and beat him softly with a stick until he poops out all the goodies. The last thing to come out is a garlic bulb or an onion. While beating, families often sing a song to encourage the log. In Font de la Figuera, during the freezing cold Christmas season, it is a tradition to wear red underwear and celebrate with friends on the streets.

2. Slovakia :

In Slovakia, a special poppy seed filling pie is made and the head of the family tastes it before Christmas dinner. He then throws it up on the ceiling. The amount of pie that gets glued to the ceiling determines the rich crop yield that will grow next year. 

3. Venezuela :

In Caracas, Venezuela, people mass- skate to churches on Christmas eve. No cars are allowed on the road.  This is an age-old tradition of Venezuela where they make sure that the roads are cleared during the Christmas week. On December 24 children are told to tie one end of a string to their big- toe and to let loose the other longer end outside their bedroom windows. The next morning when people skate on the roads, they tug these strings. 

4. Finland :

You should behave in sauna as you would in church,’ is a Finnish saying that people of Finland believe in. People visit sweatbox/saunas to strip off and relax before Christmas evening. 

5. Norway :

Julebord is a Scandinavian feast or banquet during the Christmas season. It begins on 3 December and lasts throughout the month. Many julebords are characterized by large amounts of food and drink, both traditional and new, hot and cold dishes. There is often lively partying and the party can be an important social meeting place for colleagues. 

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Travel Tales

Maiden trips could also mean falling in love with yourself

I had always dreamt of travelling solo to far fetched places to experience how that adrenaline rush really feels like. After getting into the corporate world, I would hear stories of my coworkers’ travels and how the trip transformed them. Ever since, travelling to unknown land became the first and most desired item on my bucket list. However, I always knew that things to do from my bucket list would involve a lot of explanation and confidence building all way as I hail from a very conservative family and have  friends who are more skeptical to travel.

Times later, I learn about women only travel community—WanderingJane, who they are and how they successfully cater to various needs of female travelers. Their concept further fueled my desire to travel. Moving fast forward, I was excited to travel but then had this fear of managing it all by myself.

I was doubtful if I will be able to manage travelling solo for the first time and that too to an international destination.  Thankfully I met our local host at airport itself and her synergy was contagious. I had the time of my life on the trip and now have memories that I can always look back on, to remind myself about the good times. The majestic view of the mountain peak and pathways, fun bicycle rides through paddy fields, first time underwater aquatic life experience with scuba diving, mesmerizing sunrise and sunsets view at beach, late night walks and some life changing conversations with fellow travelers  on empty roads.

Being a first-time traveler, I had many apprehensions about almost everything. The moment the journey started, all of them began to fade away and the only thing that stayed permanent was my smile. All 5 days and 6 nights were so well planned. There were no linguistic barriers as most people understood English and for rest, our wing-woman, our local host was approachable. Never for once did I feel being stranded in an unknown territory. From booking adventure trails and local theater shows to taxi rides, all was done and included in our initial expenses. Bali proved more economical and less place hunter experience.

I got a good blend of solo me-time to introspect and energy punch  while taking a hands-on experience with scuba diving, trekking on volcano sites, learning to surf by the beach and other activities. These activities also developed sense of team building and leadership skills in me. Our ice breaker sessions with fellow travelers ended up connecting me with them in a way that we are soul sisters now! Fortunately, I not only got a chance to bond with people from India but also with people from Brazil. Learning and practicing yoga with the  group was not only good fun, but was also a self-esteem and confidence building experience.

Amidst all the talking, one thing got missed out. I packed 3 Cameras—a polaroid, KTM and DSLR. Not to forget my own hand phone. Despite photo storage on so many devices, I still had crisis to store memories. To capture the true beauty of Bali and the memories of my first trip, all day photography proved less. Even though I am not much of a foodie, but the local delicacies did interest and activate my taste buds a lot.

After this journey came to an end, I felt more empowered and I could feel people around me were looking up to me. Re-living experiences from my maiden trip make me yearn for another solo trip already. I can’t wait to make more memories with WanderingJane !

In the end, we only regret chances we did not take, so forget everything and travel solo for once. Take your own leap of faith!

#UnforgettableExperienceAssured #BeautifulBali