In honour of my second birthday in Covid times, I’d like to reminiscence over birthdays I’ve spent abroad.
This year, I’ll turn 29. I’ll celebrate in Vancouver, British Columbia, with family and close friends.
For the first time in possibly forever, I’m not really that excited for my birthday. I’m not upset with the age I’m turning (still under 30!) but the realities of Covid have tightened my circle of friends, and I feel sad I won’t be having a big party or gallivanting off to some new destination as a birthday present to myself.
I did, however, receive the best early birthday gift I could’ve asked for… my first dose of the Covid vaccine!
We’ll be back travelling soon!
Since celebrating my 19th birthday in New Zealand, I’ve been lucky enough to spend my special day in many interesting places around the world.
Here are a few I’d highly recommend:
Technically I left Ireland a few days before my 27th birthday to attend my master’s graduation in Halifax, Nova Scotia. If time had allowed, I would’ve happily spent my birthday in Galway. My mom and I had a blast travelling the country by train. The weather was absolutely perfect and we experienced sunshine for nearly two weeks straight in May (which no Irish person believes). To me, Ireland was whiskey, rolling green hills, castles scattered along the sea, strong Guinness beer, lively folk music, crowded pubs and cobblestone streets. I’d love to go back.
I seriously lucked out with my timing and turned 23 years old on the day of my friend’s Sangeet in Mumbai. One of the best events in her multi-day wedding, this night was reserved for choreographed dances (oh yes, I performed) and all-night fun, drinks, dancing and laughter. I wore the most stunning, lavish outfit—a gorgeous gold skirt beneath a diaphanous purple dress—and had my hair and makeup professionally done. While travelling through India alone, I received several invitations to other weddings and had a blast at every single one.
As the clock counted down to my 22nd birthday, I partied with fellow backpackers in nightclubs on the island of Ios. We started with a birthday cake and classy beverages, but soon the nightlife of Greece swept me away. I even braved a famous shot which involves wearing a helmet and getting hit over the head with an item of the bartenders choosing (I think he opted for a light tap for me) at Slammer Bar to “literally get hammered” (what can I say—I was 22). I managed to stay up and watch the sun rise over the Aegean Sea. The next day, I nursed my favourite Rekorderlig cidre and a sudden eye infection while lounging on a plastic beach chair, happy to be exactly where I was.
Before you say, “duh,” I’ve spent my birthday at a few unique spots in the province—not just my hometown of Grande Prairie. I turned 20 years old at a beautiful spring adventure camp in Rocky Mountain House. As per tradition, I was tossed into the lake to commemorate my birthday. Unfortunately, Crimson Lake is known for having leeches, so I got out of the water as fast as possible! Still, it was a wonderful, outdoorsy way to spend my special day, strumming guitar and singing around a campfire as dusk fell. Another memorable birthday was spent soaking in mountain views near Grande Cache.
Have you celebrated your birthday abroad?
Where would you like to celebrate your next birthday?