How To Travel The World In A Night Like Santa!

Rebecca Herman

What a year it’s been! I’ll tell you, getting my hands on presents has not been an easy job this year with all these national lockdowns popping up everywhere. Don’t worry though, I managed to sneak in a quick Zoom conference with my elves to ensure our factories and wrapping stations are COVID-19 safe and ready for production.

After a long Microsoft Teams meeting with the CEO of the Good List, we decided that this year we are going to abolish the Bad List. Now, obviously we would never want to encourage bad behaviour, but everyone deserves a treat this year!

For travel logistics, I’ve hired a new fellow called Luminen (means Snowy in our language!). A lovely guy, he moved all the way from South Finland to join me this year after being put on furlough. He used to work in toboggan engineering, I was just happy to give him a job.

As always, please don’t try this at home

Luminen has strategized a brand-new route this year, on a budget of course. You wouldn’t believe how many people have asked me for a vaccine, awfully expensive to mass produce (some people won’t get theirs until spring, but that’s between us!). As an extra treat, Luminen and I have decided to share our route with you. As always, please don’t try this at home – not just because you’re all mortals, but because man-handling the Wollaton deer is still not okay.

Since the last pandemic of 1920, we have always circled anti-clockwork, getting America out the way first and then by-passing East Asia on the way home. We usually set out at 5pm after an early dinner, leaving plenty of room for the milk and cookies. The local elf communities come and help load the boot up whilst I go round doing a final check on Rudolph and the gang. This year we are leaving at 4pm due to the longer queues and COVID-19 tests – you may think I’m exempt from all this virus malarky but if there’s one thing we’ve learnt in 2020 it’s that you can never be too safe. However, this year, we are switching things up a little. Firstly, because its tradition to change directions after a pandemic, but also because Jacinda Ardern has asked for her present early this year, and frankly she deserves it.

So, at 4pm sharp we will depart from Lapland. Russia is the first stop, quite easy if I’m honest, not too many people, although the 11 time zones does make it confusing if I’ve had too much mulled wine with supper. Kazakhstan and Mongolia are next, follow by China. Southeast Asia is normally quite quiet for me with not too many people expecting presents, so I give extra bits and bobs to those who do (don’t tell Mrs Claus though, she still thinks the extra budget goes towards the pet insurance). Then we will dash to the Middle East region, again quiet but with gorgeous views this time of year.

After the Middle East we head over the Indian Ocean to Australia. I must admit that if we have time, the reindeer and I do enjoy a splash in the sea in Surabaya, Indonesia. The Australian Outback is exhausting and one of the harder legs of the Christmas journey. Why does everyone in Australia live so far apart? Hopefully next year no one will ask for presents, that would save me hours. After Australia we drop off the Papua New Guinea load and head down to New Zealand. Like I mention, Jacinda is a priority this year, so getting from Port Moresby to Auckland will be speedy.

Pause in Mexico City for our Christmas taco tradition

On the way from Dunedin in New Zealand to Tierra del Fuego in Argentina, we like to take a slow ride through Antarctica and cool off. You see, we’re Arctic folk, we aren’t used to the scorching heat of a desert summer.

It will be around 3.30am by the time we will reach the tip of South America, ready for the climb up to Canada. This stretch is long and perhaps the busiest for me. We stop off for a toilet break in Lima, Peru and then pause in Mexico City for our Christmas taco tradition. And boy do we need the fuel for Central America, so many countries in such a tiny space!

We will probably struggle through America (they do like to go Christmas crazy), normally stopping for petrol in Seattle before crossing the border into Canada. Canadians are just so nice, always leaving an extra carrot for the reindeer. Like Australia, Canada has lots of empty space. That mixed with the cooler climate is delightful, and so I hope we have time to land and take a quick break. By that time the sun will be beginning to rise, and I’ll need a quick powernap.

The middle of the world is the final stretch. I go all the way down to Cape Town and work my way up – just like my grandfather used to do it! We will hopefully have time in Khartoum, Sudan to stop for a light breakfast before Europe.

A magical night of twinkly lights, culture, travel sickness and presents

By the time we get to the Italian boarder it will probably be nearing 6am. Children will be waking up their parents soon, so I expect to be in a rush. Hopping from country to another, I make sure to leave the UK to last as it’s by far the best. When I do finally get to Dover, I’ll probably be running slightly behind, although from I’ve heard about Hermes and Royal Mail, Brits are used to their packages turning up late.

After a magical night of twinkly lights, culture, travel sickness and presents; there is nothing I enjoy more than heading to Nottingham and perching on the edge of the Trent building watching all my favourite students open their gifts. If you see a glimpse of red resting on the three of the clock then wave – it’s me!

Rebecca Herman

Featured image courtesy of Ozgu Ozden via Unsplash. Image licence found here. No changes were made to the image.

In-article images courtesy of Michael Parulava via Unsplash (license) and Cedric Letsch via Unsplash (license). No changes were made to the images.

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