It’s the same thing every holiday season. You gorge yourself on food and are comatose for a week. As you sit around like a lump of coal on the family couch, you actually watch the rapid expansion of your waistline – talk about Figgy pudding – instead of the TV.
When the New Year finally rolls around, hell, you don’t even make it to midnight because you uncork the Korbel as soon as the sun goes down and start guzzling like a sailor or puffing like a chimney. But this year is different. This year you’re going to hit a road trip with your mates.
Where do you go? What do you see? Is there any place left that isn’t inundated with tourists and vampire consumers squeezing the last vestiges of good cheer out of the holidays?
Nothing says comfort and joy like skiing or snowboarding down the mad mountains of Manali. Located 1,950m above sea level, this sweeping, snow-packed destination is ideal for winter sports enthusiasts. This is where Frosty the Snowman goes to blow off steam and pull nosegrabs come the holidays. Bet he doesn’t know that Manali is the holy abode of 7 revered sages. Vaya con dios, brah!
Snow isn’t your thing? Hey, we get it. Frostbite and the Donner Party don’t scream good times, do they? Why not head to the beach for the holidays? While everybody – including Santa Claus, the elves, and the ghost of Jacob Marley – will be clogging the beaches of Goa, you and the crew cruise to Pondicherry. Known as India’s “Little France,” Pondicherry’s beaches are world class and the girls, well... they'll make you forget you maxed out your credit card buying gifts for relatives you see twice a year. Several holiday events are held in Pondicherry's churches, if that's the sort of thing that floats your boat.
If the point of holiday travel is to get away from the holidays, then Varanasi is the perfect destination. People come to Varanasi to explore the ancient ghats and bathe in the Ganges. It’s an ancient and spiritual place. If the spirit of Christmas is lost to consumerism and materialism, then what better place to rediscover it than in the sacred city by the holy water.
So hit the road this Xmas, gents. And forget traveling by plane, car, or bus. Tell Old St. Nick you'll have the sleigh back to him by next year!