November; the nights are longer, the weather colder and the shops boasting of the upcoming festive season, couples wrapped up in winter wear holding hands and families shopping with children in tow.
The countdown to the Christmas lights and markets await, and as I walk along the busy streets watching people keep each other warm in soft embraces, I feel overwhelmed by the realisation that I won’t be a part of the festivities this year.
In the past I have been surrounded by family, friends and even joined a friends family for Christmas one year. But this year is different, there are no friends or familiar faces. This year the Trans-Siberian will arrive in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia on Christmas day where I will feel that familiar sense of wonder at my new surroundings, shoulder pain from my backpack and the hunger for the unknown.
Yet, every now and again I picture large Christmas dinners, snowfall, holly, decorated trees, laughter, robins, pink cheeks, cold noses, snowmen, gingerbread houses and lots of twinkly lights. I think about baked treats, mulled wine, giggling with my sisters, holiday movies, visiting family, and seeing the youngest members of the family bring the festive day to life. I imagine the seasonal parties, dressing up, anticipating the new year and questioning the changes it will bring. But most of all I think of how the festive season brings out the best in people.
And as I get lost in this magical fantasy whilst looking down into the street from my third storey window, I watch a spider skilfully lower itself from the storey above down into the street below, softly swaying in the wind unaware of what lies below and I start to smile…
An adventure awaits; landscapes to marvel, sands from the Gobi, faces different to my own, the smells, tastes and more importantly the stories to be written… suddenly the glittery fairytale is put to bed once again, if only for a while.