How Greenheart Travel Staff Members Spent New Year’s Eve Abroad

How Greenheart Travel Staff Members Spent New Year’s Eve Abroad

It’s no secret that at Greenheart Travel, we travel. A lot. So with 2019 approaching, we’ve decided to reminisce on some of the places we’ve spent New Year’s Eve. Let’s take a trip down memory lane.

“For two years, I lived in Zafra, a small town in rural western Spain. In Zafra, like in every small Spanish town, life revolves around town plaza, where bars and restaurants surround a fifteenth-century church. On Nochevieja (New Year’s Eve), the whole town gathers in the plaza a few minutes before midnight holding bags of grapes. As the clock in the church tower strikes midnight, everyone pops a grape in their mouth for each toll of the bell – 12 grapes in about a minute. By the end, everyone’s looking like a chipmunk and laughing hysterically; it’s a great kickoff to a night of celebration in the plaza!”

-Savannah McDermott, Teach & Work Abroad Program Manager

“I spent a new years eve celebrating in downtown London! Everyone gathers around the London Eye and Big Ben and they light off fireworks from the Eye at midnight. I also celebrated a NYE in Seoul, Korea. In Seoul, everyone gathers around a temple that rings a huge bell at midnight. The bell is really old and it’s been a tradition for a really long time.”

-Sara Thacker, Associate Director of Marketing

“While I was in college, I volunteered in Panama during my winter breaks, so I spent several New Year Eve’s there. One of them was spent at a friend’s beach house, where we had lots of room to partake in one of the most exciting traditions – burning a “stuffed man” at midnight. Our hosts made a life-sized stuffed man to light on fire at midnight with the intention of having the bad energy/evil of the previous year removed before the New Year. Other guests also walked around with suitcases in their hands if they wanted to travel in the upcoming year.”

-Allison Yates, High School & Short-Term Programs Manager

“I spent my first New Year’s Eve outside of the US when I was a freshman in college. My family took a trip to visit our extended family in the Dominican Republic and stayed for two weeks in a small town on the coast. I was used to my parents throwing large and fancy parties to ring in the new year – with sparkly dresses, champagne toasts, party hats, and boisterous countdowns. So when we heard the evening plan for a traditional Dominican New Year’s Eve consisting of a large but laid back family meal, a walk on the beach, music, and dancing I wasn’t sure how special the night would feel. No confetti or high heels or shrimp cocktail? Of course, as many new traveler stories go, it ended up being an amazing night spent getting to know my family better, learning how to fry plantains, developing my love for Latin music, and taking a late night stroll on the beach to watch a few distant fireworks shoot off. I came out on the other side with one grainy photo of myself on the beach, but a love for trying new traditions, an appreciation for another culture, and desire to spend more of my time in warm, welcoming countries.”

– Kate Powers, Outreach Coordinator

“I celebrated NY 2017 traveling through Panama with one of my closest friends.  We arrived at a beautiful seaside, open air restaurant on December 31, 2016 and left in the early hours of January 1, 2017. There was tasty food, great company, amazing music, and a plethora of fireworks. In the middle of the celebrations, we met this great couple, who we ended up chatting with all night.  One of them was from Colombia and the other from Turkey, but they were living in Chicago-same as me! We’ve met up again in Chicago, but I greatly doubt that I would have met them if it wasn’t for our fortuitous NYE in Panama. I wouldn’t say that night was a typical Panamanian New Year, but it was a great example of our small & amazing world.”

– Hope Pavich, Director of High School and Short-Term Programs

How have you spent New Year’s Eve? Tell us in the comments!

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