My birthday was last week. I think this is the first I have celebrated outside the United States.
I explored Guangzhou, ate some delicious seafood, and spent some time with my girlfriend. With all of this, however, I realized that something big was missing.
All of my friends from back home!
To be fair, I was always quite bad at planning for my birthdays when I was home. But even on the years where I failed to put anything together, my mom found a way to gather all my friends so that I still had a celebration.
When you're traveling by yourself (on the far side of the planet!) it's harder to share your birthday with friends and family. Here's a few of my thoughts on how to make sure you still have an awesome birthday worth remembering!
1. Skype Everyone Back Home
Sure, you can't share cake with them, but you can still catch up and say hello. Technology today is amazing, use it on your birthday to call home!
You've probably not done the best job of staying in touch with old friends either. Take this as an opportunity to ring them up, laugh about the 'good old days' when you were actually at home, and let them know when, (if ever!) you'll be back.
2. Make Some Local Friends
Unless you're city-hopping every 3 days, you probably have an opportunity to get to know some locals. For example, when I was living in Hong Kong I went to MeetUp.com and joined a German speaking group. When I was in Vietnam, I visited the local co-working spaces and got to know members of the entrepreneur community. (I even got to practice my BMX tricks with one of them!)
When you get to know people in your area you can share your birthday with friends in person, even though your old buddies from home are thousands of miles away.
3. Have A 'Local' Birthday
When you were a kid did you ever have a 'theme' birthday? Maybe it was an Amazon theme, or perhaps Harry Potter.
If you like traveling, then you're probably very interested in learning about cultures from around the world. You're already in a distant location, so you can learn about how the locals celebrate their birthdays and do something similar.
For example, my girlfriend and I went to a fancy 'pick your own' live seafood restaurant. They had tanks of everything from king crab to eel, and you grabbed what you wanted out of the water!
I'd never been to a 'live' restaurant with this much diversity in America, and this was a birthday dinner I could only have had in Asia! (That said, I still prefer the special birthday dinners my mom used to make. Love you, Mom!)
Wherever you find yourself on your birthday, do something special!