Is it really coming time for winter festivities already? It feels like only last month that we were on the coast of Washington celebrating the Fourth of July with family. Two Provinces and four states later, we are close enough to home that we are planning on arriving in time to attend the Fourth Annual Friendsgiving hosted by some amazing friends in LA. On our first Friendsgiving year, a dozen neighbors descended upon a pre-arranged home – in PJs and with breakfast – to watch the Macy’s Day Parade and compare bed head before bustling about with Thanksgiving preparations. It looked (and felt) like a Norman Rockwell painting.
Before that first year and the “official” title, we would host all of the misfits at our place, stuffing our home with friends and visitors, and stuffing our stomachs with all of the traditional provisions. Then there was the year that we had a couple of friends over and decided to head out to Joshua Tree for the Thanksgiving weekend. Innocently thinking that most people would be celebrating with family, we arrived late and found the park was completely full of other non-traditionalists that year. But it's a fond memory of the time we all stayed a night in a cheap hotel and made oatmeal and ramen instead of turkey and stuffing, eating while sitting cross legged on an old mattress instead of around a table. Our first year in LA, we were the misfits and were invited by new friends to our first Vegan Thanksgiving and we’re still searching for something like that wild rice and pomegranate creation we first tried that year.
We’ve been so lucky in our life and travels together to have celebrated special occasions and holidays with the gathering of friends, both new and old. We were in Alberta this August, and when our adopted road buddy Matt showed up with a box of butter crackers for Nick’s birthday, we broke out the peanut butter and had ourselves a celebration! Huddled away from the rain under the awning and making plans over a road map for the following day, that little memory around a box of crackers stands out.
It doesn’t have to be big. We believe that things should be celebrated in community. I’m thinking back to a huge vat of soup made by a handful of strangers on a rainy evening in a converted Monastery in France, and to the small but so very meaningful gifts given by the parents of new friends when we came for Christmas dinner. All of these memories are more meaningful because of the people taking the opportunity to celebrate with us.
It takes a bit of transparency and gumption to ask someone new if they would like to join you for dinner, but we encourage you find a way to create your own gathering this holiday season – wherever you are.
Nick and Laura Ocean, are a couple of artist-adventure seekers driving their truck and pop-up camper off the beaten path, down those forest service roads that lead into the woods, up the mountains and next to rivers. You can read their blog, The Longest Hello, here.