For the next hour, we danced, shouted at each other, and took photos together like we'd been friends since the beginning of time. Just before midnight, we moved our party to the beach. Kids ran amok throwing minor explosives into trash cans while adults found amusement in the kind of easy conversation that's greased by alcohol and sustained by the giddy anticipation of renewal and regeneration. It was just a bunch of strangers, a boombox, and some cheap booze. It was by far the best New Years I've had since I was a kid throwing fireworks into trash cans. It was nothing short of amazing.
It's true, you do give up a lot for the holidays when you travel away from home. It sucks to be away from friends and family, no matter what a pain in the ass the holidays can be. BUT if you're open to new people and new experiences - garnered with a glass of wine or a splash of tequila - the holiday spirit is never far behind.