January 06 2023 - Living the expat life, Travel and enjoying the free life
“Driving home for Christmas” sings Chris Rea warmly every year on the Christmas playlist. I always had a hard time to relate to the song: ever since we live abroad I have been flying home for Christmas. Did that count too? “I’m flying home for Christmas…”
After missing our family during the past 2 Christmas celebrations, we were excited to be heading home again. Hendrik by car, with a weeklong detour in between on the Austrian ski slopes, and I followed by plane the day before Christmas eve.
But excitement was not exactly the feeling that I encountered on my flight back home this year; potential flight cancellations due to fog in Sarajevo, heavy winds causing our pilot to warn us in advance for an “extremely bumpy ride” (…) a super tight transfer on Frankfurt airport where I managed to rush myself through immigration, security check and run, run, run endless kilometers of departure gates, only to discover upon arrival on that my bag had not been that fast. And yep, that bag carried the Christmas presents.
“Flying home for Christmas” felt like an ordeal; fighting the odds to get home. A typical Christmas Eve Family movie.
One with a happy ending, of course. I arrived. With some delay my bag arrived. Hendrik arrived by car from Austria. And so we had a lovely Christmas celebration with family and friends.
And then we did something that we have never been able to do since we moved abroad. We drove back home after Christmas! As far as I know Chris Rea never wrote a song about that, but it filled us with excitement nevertheless. Being able to step into a car and just take the road has always given us a sense of freedom.
Crossing through 6 countries and 5 borders on a short road trip of 6 days was a great way to end the year together. A year just as bumpy as my flight was; with highs and lows.
We ended on a high in Salzburg, where we discovered a very nice and cozy New Year celebration in the old town, with Christmas stalls, gluhwein, live music and an impressive firework display at the Kapitelplatz at midnight.
And we started the year on a high, with sunny days on route through Slovenia, Croatia, discovering the cute and historic town of Zadar along the Adriatic coast and finally reaching… home.
Driving home from Christmas.
It felt almost like a happy Christmas song.
We wish you all a loving, healthy, and joyful 2023.