While everyone else is at their designated New Year's Eve get-together this year, counting down to the big ball drop and inwardly debating whom, if anyone, to kiss at midnight, I'll be on a plane on my way to Greece.
You see, for me, traveling on New Year's has become a sort of tradition. My birthday falls on January 3, well within the holiday vacation window, so I can take advantage and knock out two celebratory birds with one stone.
I used to think it was socially taboo to miss out on New Year's Eve.
I would spend weeks trying to plan the perfect outing, either at a club hosted by a celebrity with admission priced at the equivalent of this week's paycheck, or at house parties scheduled back-to-back into a jam-packed evening of “fun.”
I would search for the perfect sparkly dress and walk around like a human disco ball in stilettos and artificially curled hair, ready to have the night of my life.
I've dealt with crowds, advanced reservations, traffic, lines, vomiting and champagne hangovers. Oh, the champagne hangovers.
Then one year, I realized I was going about this all wrong. Instead of working so hard to manufacture the perfect New Year's Eve, complete with sparklers, fireworks and a foot-popping midnight kiss, I was going to ring in the New Year's far away from everyone else, societal pressure be damned.
And it was the best decision I ever made.
Today, New Year's is the one holiday I look forward to escaping the most, and here's why:
1. New Year's is awkward for the consciously uncoupled.
New Year's has no redeeming qualities for us single folk.
Sure, lots of holidays are couple-centric, from Christmas with mistletoe over every doorway to Valentine's Day when you're literally surrounded by hearts, but all of those holidays have alternatives.
You can enjoy time with family or get together with girlfriends for an anti-Valentine's Day bash.
There are no anti-New Year's parties. It's not acceptable to dodge the forced merriment.
There is no way around the dread of having to kiss the only non-coupled fella at a party.
Not unless you're going out of the country that evening.
2. There's no better way to start a new year than in a new place.
We all reflect toward the end of the year. We think about our accomplishments, goals, failures and regrets.
It's natural that with the passing of time we judge ourselves as well and how we've fared. Speaking from experience, there is no better place to do this than in a new city or country.
Imagine how amazing it would feel to make your resolutions while standing on top of Machu Picchu. How about carving out some “me" time to ponder what's next on a beach in Mexico?
If you want to get closure for the past year and start the new one off right, make it a point to do so from a new location.
3. New Year's is actually a good time to travel.
While holiday travel is expensive, New Year's Eve is a little-known exception to the typically outrageous pricing, since most people are trying to get to their destinations in time for a midnight celebration and have no interest in being on a plane.
Their loss is your gain.
Not to mention, there's a sense of peace when you look around at midnight and realize everyone is knocked out and impervious to transition.
There's no pressure and no forced kiss or pity hugs from your friends. It's just you and your bad self, having a sip of champagne and raising a glass to your pending adventure.
4. Solo travel brings unlimited possibilities.
I love traveling with others, but the fact is I'm much more approachable alone. I have an easier time meeting locals and immersing myself in the culture when I'm forced to and don't have an English-speaking travel companion to use as my crutch.
Sure, it's a little scary and precautions have to be taken when traveling alone anywhere, not just abroad, but I've found that life really surprises you when you give it the chance to and open yourself up to new experiences.
If you're debating about taking a solo trip for New Year's, don't. While you can't stop the time from passing, you can find a way to mark it meaningfully, and taking a trip for New Year's will help you do just that.