I don’t want to dwell on this but I always said that Footsteps Of A Tree would be a record of my thoughts on the road… Good and difficult to bear. And so, the festive period was a real battle of emotions, my first away from my family and friends … ever.
Ushuaia was a friendly place and the campsite we stayed, with Christmas Asado and all, was a wonderful mix of travellers from all over the world, but it felt remote. Not just geographically but emotionally too. It was our choice to be there, no sympathy is being sought in writing this. But it turned out the obvious was more than true. Despite the snow falling on us on Christmas Day and the real fire burning in the corner, nothing could warm me as much as a family Christmas.
We had wonderful surroundings and great people to share our time with but our minds were defiantly continents away. We found ourselves fraughtly seeking a decent wifi connection to have just a glimpse through to the world we know. It was genuinely heart wrenching to see Gemma devastated not to able to speak to her nephew, Luke, on Christmas Day despite seemingly trying every square meter of Ushuaia for an internet connection.
I know that pixelated faces of those you love on a iPad screen is far more than any traveller could have expected even 5 years ago but seeing and talking to my family almost made it worse.
In addition – and somewhat more lightheartedly – on Christmas Eve I had foregone my annual pub crawl pilgrimage with life long friends from the centre of Nottingham down Mansfield Road to Arnold via 18 plus alcohol establishments. Even a personal Facebook video message from ‘man with dog’ a gent we see every year in the same pub with his dogs, could not prevent the feelings of being away from what I knew.
Ushuaia is to all intense and purposes, Fin del Mundo (the end of the earth)… Santa stops there – just as he did in Nottingham – but I think I’d rather be a few chimneys closer to my gang the next time he’s doing his rounds.