This year I spent my second Christmas away from home and all my family and friends, in what some might describe as paradise. A secluded island in the Andaman sea, that most tourists have yet to find, white sandy beaches connect with the calm clear blue sea, the sun shines down daily without an ounce of rain and the most stressful decision is whether to have a fresh watermelon or a fresh coconut shake with breakfast.

Koh Jum Beach

What more could anyone want? Isn’t this what everyone dreams of, spending Christmas away from the stress of Oxford Street on Christmas eve for last minute present shopping, away from waking up at 6am to start work on Christmas dinner for twenty guests (ok let us be honest, that has never been me that’s still mum’s role). We do get excited for Christmas but there are so many parts we seem to dread, so Christmas in a tropical paradise with no stress sounds like … well… paradise.

Fire poi on Christmas Eve

I really wasn’t that worried about spending Christmas alone, or at least without being surrounded by my family and people I know. The first Christmas I spent alone I was truly alone in my apartment on campus in California. I had meant to have been spending it with two close friends but their circumstances changed, which left me realising on 22nd December while still sunning myself in Hawaii, that I would be heading back to campus alone and spending Christmas alone. I was devastated and on the phone to mum from Hawaii contemplating spending over £1000 on last minute fights to spend 3 days at home before I flew back to the East Coast for my planned New Year in New York City. ‘Don’t be ridiculous’ mum had said, ‘you are in Hawaii, you are about to go to New York, 3 days alone isn’t all that bad in the grand scheme of things’. I didn’t believe her, and headed back to California miserable. Christmas Eve I headed into down town Santa Cruz, went to the cinema, treated myself to lunch and bought supplies for Christmas Day… two bottles of Champagne, 4 DVDs and all the ingredients to make myself a tasty roast chicken dinner. Sorted.

Already I was feeling better and Christmas Day I woke up, chatted to family and friends on skype, while opening the presents they had sent to me and then instead of cooking my roast dinner I made my favourite (sorry to admit) chicken burgers, chips, beans and fried egg… all washed down with homemade chocolate brownie, Haagen Dazs Ice Cream and lots of champagne. I ended up having a brilliant day, Christmas Day is a time to completely and totally do what you want, no guilt for not working, writing, studying… it’s Christmas! The whole world is relaxing.

Christmas dinner... mmm

So after my last experience of Christmas alone, I was sure that I was going to have brilliant day. I decided to join a ‘random’ guy I had briefly met while in the Gili islands for a Christmas day date in paradise. We met on the island on Christmas eve, spent the day tootling around the island and for Christmas dinner joined some Aussie’s I had met the night before in Krabi. Beef penang curry, spring roles, papaya salad… mmm! Who needs yet another turkey dinner anyway?

Dan and I on Christmas Eve

Later we headed to the one party on the island, for fire spinning, Changs and very unchristmassy music. It was a fun night, especially the long dark walk back down the beach at midnight, dodging the hundreds of crabs on route. Christmas day involved sleeping in, noodles, sunbathing, skyping home, a few romantic swims in the sea as I sang every Christmas song I could remember (maybe not so romantic) and walking around in my bikini and santa hat… just because I could. It was a beautiful day… again! A true white Christmas … but sand between my fingers rather than snow.

Not your average Christmas decorations

Yes I did miss my family, but just knowing I am lucky enough to have such an incredible family back home was enough to keep me smiling and feeling like the luckiest girl in the world.

Dan and I got on well but didn’t hit it off as more than friends but we still spent the rest of the week together in Koh Jum, more sunbathing, volleyball, fresh coconuts and very little else. A very relaxing Christmas break.

Thanks to Feffe (fifi hehe) for a sunshiny Christmas holiday in paradise.

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