Happy 4th of July…on the 5th of July! As I spent most of yesterday the same way I do every other day (but with fewer emails), it reminded me of the year I was in France on July 4. Being far from home on a quintessentially-American holiday can be a little strange. If you have family traditions associated with the holiday, it can induce unwelcome pangs of homesickness. It is, perhaps, also a little humbling to remember that outside of our borders, July 4 is just another day in July.
You can, of course, make your own celebration wherever you are. Even better, you can seize the opportunity to experience another country’s traditions. In France, for example, the most important day in July is July 14, Bastille Day – a kind of French independence day, which celebrates a milestone in the French Revolution. Conveniently for homesick Americans, the country is also decked out in red-white-and-blue in the weeks leading up to July 14. You can get your summer fix of parades, fireworks and patriotism while also learning something about your host country.
While I sometimes try to avoid traveling on holidays for logistical or sentimental reasons, local holidays offer the savvy traveler a glimpse into the heart of another culture. And that in itself is a reason to celebrate.