Home for the Holidays

As I wound through the dark redwoods on Highway 17 with an eagerness to get home, I couldn’t help but feel a certain gratitude. Santa Cruz is one of those places that can make me feel strong emotions no matter how many times I come back. It’s home.

I will always be a traveler, there is no doubt in my mind about that, but I think it’s important to recognize where we come from and how it has made you who you are.

There are certain times in life when I realize how much I truly appreciate where I come from. When I’m abroad and I try to describe my hometown to people, the family I come from, I never feel like I can do it justice.

This Christmas, I’m home for the holidays for the first time in two years. This year I appreciate the idea of home more than ever.

I’ve written a lot about my hometown of Santa Cruz and how it will always be special place for me, a place of memories, growth, and, of course, family. I’ll be writing even more about it now that I’m home for the next couple of weeks and looking to find the best winter hideaways in a city known for its sunny beaches.

Home for the Holidays - Santa Cruz, California

I know when I come home for the holidays there will be vegan cookies waiting to be made with my mom, a tree to decorate to the tune of Mariah Carey, and our 90’s stockings to hang up that my grandpa gave to us years ago.

When I’m at my dads, there will by dog kisses, plenty of home cooked food to take home, and at least one game on – preferably Warriors basketball if it’s the right season.

That kind of routine is not something I’m necessarily used to, but it feels comforting to come back to when I’ve been away.

As I start to take longer and longer trips abroad, I’ve grown to appreciate the idea of home much more so than I ever could’ve before I left the States.

I’ve spent the last two years in Australia and New Zealand for Christmas, and although I wouldn’t take that back for anything, there’s nothing like truly being home for the holidays.

I can honestly say I couldn’t be more happy to be where I am right now, sitting in my mom’s kitchen, drinking tea and getting ready to jump in the car to look at Christmas trees.

I hope you all have a wonderful time with family or new friends abroad, wherever you are in the world!

Tell me in the comments below – do you ever get homesick around the holidays? Do you enjoy coming home, wherever that is for you? 


My musings about being home for the holidays after two years abroad. Do you enjoy coming home for the holidays? | The Atlas Heart

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Mimi McFadden
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Mimi McFadden

Travel Writer/Blogger at The Atlas Heart
Mimi founded The Atlas Heart to create a community of travelers inspired to see the world. The Atlas Heart is a space where you'll find anecdotes on slow travel, craft beer, outdoor adventures, and all the eccentric bits in between that this world has to offer.
Mimi McFadden
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