Another year is coming to a close. It's New Year's Eve again — where the hell did 2010 go?
I always have fond memories this time of year of New Year's Eves past. When I was younger, my sister and I would always get deposited at our grandma's house on New Year's Eve, while my parents went out to celebrate with their friends. We would stay up until midnight to watch “The Ball” drop, while silmultaneously listening to a countdown of the years top 101 songs on a local radio staion. I remember ringing in 1999 with a semi-choreographed dance to “My Heart Will Go On.”
I had never spent a New Year's Eve away from Ohio until the end of 2007.
Dec. 26, 2007, found me boarding an airplane bound for Boston, where I then met up with three of my friends on a flight to Dublin, Ireland. We had all signed up to tour Ireland for a week with the Irish rock band The Prodigals.
I promise you, it sounds much wilder than it was.
Each year, The Prodigals gather about 50 fans and take them around Ireland between Christmas and New Year's. What I loved about the tour (other than the fact that we got to listen to the band play at a new pub nearly every night) was the fact that we hit up all the usual Irish cities (Dublin, Galway, Limerick), and also some of the not-so-usual spots, like the Aran Islands, Glendalough, and the lead singer's hometown of Cavan.
I rang in 2008 in an *true* Irish pub in Limerick as The Prodigals performed a rendition of “Auld Lang Syne.” It is definitely my most memorable New Year's to date.
I think New Year's is one of the best holidays to spend away from home. You've already done the family thing for Christmas, so why not celebrate the beginning of a new year in style, in a new place?
I decided to ask other travelers about their coolest/most fun/most memorable New Year's Eves. Here are some of their responses:
Kendra Kinnison (@kkinnison): I was in Las Vegas on 12/31/2001. They closed the Strip and people from all over the world sang “God Bless America” together.
Kate McCulley (@adventurouskate): Last year, I smacked myself in the mouth with a beer bottle and chipped my left front tooth. Still haven't gotten it fixed yet — you can see it in close-up pictures!
Andi Perullo (@andiperullo): Last year, I celebrated the new decade on Copacabana Beach in Rio with 3 million people dressed in white.
Caroline Eubanks (@cairinthecity): Two years ago in London I tried to fight someone in Trafalgar Square… And then four years ago in Paris I met some Italians and spent midnight with them under the Eiffel Tower. NYE ends in bad decisions apparently.
Ayngelina Brogan (@Ayngelina): Beach in the Philippines for Y2K. We didn't know if they world was going to explode, and I figured the best place to be without electricity was the beach!
Caz Makepeace (@yTravelBlog): Hogmanay Edinburgh in '97. A great party.
Andrea Spirov (@InspirngTrvlrs): It was New Year's Eve 2004, and John was visiting me in New York City only a few months after we had begun our relationship. The hostel where we met in Crete has a sort of following and its own community, with many guests returning year after year. While it had been my first time visiting the hostel, John had been there a couple of times. Our friend, Dave, decided to organize a reunion of everyone that he knew from the hostel. So we all trekked out in the snow to a bar in Brooklyn to celebrate New Year's Eve together. There were travellers from Canada, Australia, the UK and the US, all gathered because they'd hung out together in a tiny town in Crete at this one special hostel.
This is my favourite NYE memory because everyone made such an effort to catch up with their travel friends again. It was so great to be a part of this meetup, which was really unique for me. It was probably the first time I had seen how important travel friendships become to people. And also, of course, because John was there with me and we were still enjoying the first months of our romance. In a way we were able to relive some of that magic from the place where we'd met. I still think back on that night and smile.
What are YOU doing this New Year's Eve?
Wherever tonight finds you, I hope you're happy, safe, and have tons of fun. Bring on 2011!