I’m not one for professing when it’s my birthday on social media. I’m not ashamed that I’m getting another year older (I’ll be making the leap to 26, in case you were wondering) – in fact, I love my birthday, as I love Christmas. I don’t get why people who hate their birthdays do so – presents, celebrations and cheer – what is there not to like?
And while I do understand that there are exceptions – people who don’t party, receive presents or have few people to celebrate with – I, personally, still love it all the same. So for someone who adores celebrating his day of birth as much as I do, why don’t I love putting it all over social media?
Well, I don’t want to look like I’m bragging, or fishing for happy birthday wishes, and I’ve seen plenty of people trying it on before on social media. So I hope that this story doesn’t appear as if I’m doing just that (although if you do want to give me well wishes, you do you).
Let’s take it back a year
One year ago today EasyJet flight 1941 (yes, I was sad enough to go back and look that up) touched down at Athens International Airport. It was in the evening and I had travelled with four of the lads to celebrate my 25th birthday with a trip to the Greek capital. It was going to be a weekend of football, amazing food and a fair share of Mythos beer.
And it was just that, a cracking trip that finished a lot better than it started.
After landing on the tarmac, taxiing and disembarking the plane, we entered the terminal to the news of Swedish DJ Avicii’s passing. We didn’t know him, but we all loved his music, and we saw him in Ibiza on an evening that I can only describe as one of, if not the best night out I have ever experienced.
We were looking forward to getting the Greece weekender underway, but it would be a fair assessment to say that the news had put a dampener on things.
He was only 28, and over the coming days news filtered through containing details of his death. According to TMZ, Avicii’s passing was the result of suicide due to blood loss stemming from self-inflicted injuries with a broken wine bottle. He died in Muscat, Oman.
Fast forward to November…
When I looked at the calendar for 2019, I noticed something that occurred five years prior. The way Easter fell – towards the end of April and only a day after my birthday – meant that it was nicely positioned a few days before the first of two May bank holidays. This meant I could take full advantage and use nine holiday days but get 18 days off overall, taking into account weekends, Good Friday, Easter Sunday, Easter Monday and the May bank holiday itself.
Bank holidays are something I’ve frequently utilised in order to maximise my travels since starting a full-time job and are something I would implore others to do if they want to travel more but keep their nine-to-five.
So, with so many days to use, I wanted to pack as much in as possible and, after extensive research, I found several flights which would take me from Muscat in Oman to Cairo in Egypt, then onto Lebanese capital Beirut, Doha in Qatar and, finally, Yerevan, Armenia.
So why is that weird?
Well, today I’m spending my birthday in the same place that Avicii died exactly one year ago. Not only is that a weird coincidence, but it sounds a little ominous. I’m not going to do anything to myself, but it’s just one of those weird things that happens.
When I was booking my flight, I was aware of Avicii’s passing and the location in which it occurred, but other than that, it played no part in my decision to come to Muscat. Oman Air’s direct flights from Manchester and to Cairo played a bigger part, and Egypt was a must for 2019 as the thing I want to do the most this year is to visit the Pyramids.
While one of the world’s biggest musicians played no part in me coming here and celebrating my birthday on the first anniversary of his passing, I’m still going to spare a thought for him and this extremely bizarre coincidence.