I turned 25 years old three different times last fall.
Twice last September in Bali, and once last October in Australia.
And my birthday is in April.
Now, I swear I don’t normally travel the world lying out of my ass to strangers.
That’s just not how I like to do business.
But that’s what I was doing. I was going from place to place pretending that it was my birthday. There was no reason for it other than the fact that I wanted to keep the running joke alive.
So that’s what I did.
But I can’t actually take credit for the origin of this trickery.
Though I’m sure some people travel overseas pretending to be people they aren’t, I don’t normally do that. I’m not normally a lying sack of shit to complete strangers for no apparent reason.
Here’s how this all started…
After separating from some friends I was staying with in Bali, I booked myself a hostel in Canggu. After arriving late that night, I hung outside hoping to make friends. I didn’t know anyone, and no one seemed to be mingling much, so I grabbed a drink from the bar and started making friends with the hostel workers.
First I befriended the bartender, then the girls working reception, then naturally more and more workers jumped into the conversation. Before I knew it I was 3 drinks deep, now drinking a “Flaming Chocky”, and was best friends with everyone running the hostel. It was a solid night.
I woke up early the next day, explored the beach, then headed back to the hostel for lunch and a dip in the pool. I spent the rest of the afternoon hanging with new guests at the hostel and laughing it up with the friendly Indonesian staff I had befriended the night before.
As I was returning to my room to get ready for the night, my bartender Chocky asked what my plans were that evening.
I responded with a shrug.
This, apparently, was not the right answer.
“No no,” he said, “You celebrate your birthday tonight. We tell everyone it’s your birthday and you go party.”
WELL OKAY THEN!
Apparently today was my birthday. I mean, clearly it wasn’t, but I loved his humorous spirit. Plus, I wasn’t about to argue with my bartender about a celebration.
So from then on out it was my birthday. I met my new friends from earlier in the day down by the pool bar, grabbed some drinks, and started pulling in stragglers around the hostel to join the group.
The hostel employees and myself spread the lies around the common area. They told people it was my birthday, while I made people feel obligated to come party by pleading, “Come on, it’s my birthday! Everyone’s going out!”
And it worked.
Slowly but surely we had a solid group of people headed to a local bar to celebrate.
And that’s all I really wanted. I played along with the lie because it was a great excuse for everyone to come together and have a good time. I wanted to get to know as many people as possible. Plus, it’s hard to be in a bad mood at a birthday!
But as all lies normally go, my plan slowly started to backfire.
After the table sang me Happy Birthday and more and more people wanted to buy my drinks, I started feeling like a real piece of crap.
I knew when this thing started that I would tell them the truth the next day, but first I wanted everyone to just party with me and have a good night.
While trying to dodge free drinks (yes, some women actually do this!) and avoid any more birthday talk, the night did turn into an epic success. Everyone laughed, danced on the beach, and had a great time.
My birthday was awesome!
The next morning once everyone had stumbled out of bed and made it to breakfast, I spilled the beans.
“Hey guys…so I can’t lie to you, yesterday wasn’t really my birthday.”
All my new friends looked at me in disbelief. Most of them laughed hysterically, while a few questioned if Christine was even my real name. All in all it blew over quite well, so I loved my new hostel pals for the successful plan.
And that’s when it hit me:
What if every time I change hostels I tell people it’s my birthday?
It’ll give everyone an excuse to go out and celebrate! It’s not like they’ll ask for my ID. I mean, what kind of person would lie about it being their birthday??!
So that’s what I did.
When I left Canggu, I was off to Kuta where I made new friends at a new hostel and celebrated a new birthday. I had more free beers, a birthday song, and another amazing night out celebrating with new friends.
I encountered the same reactions the next morning. Laughter and disbelief. I was shamed for the free drinks I received. And I’m sure I gave some people some interesting opinions of pizza-loving American girls.
But when I left Bali and headed to Australia, I sadly forgot all about my birthday. I was having too much fun being who I was, that I forgot to remember to be who I wasn’t.
So it wasn’t until my last week in Sydney when things slowed down that I remembered.
I mean, how could I forget my own birthday?!
The night I remembered it happened to also be Halloween weekend, which is such a fun time for a birthday!
Around my new hostel, I slipped it in at opportune times that it was my birthday. Just slowly sprinkling little seeds around.
A nice American girl in my room surprised me with a bottle of whiskey! And a wild German kid brought me some funky glasses to wear as a costume. The guilt was building, but I had gone too far to turn back now.
The party upstairs was getting bigger and bigger as everyone wanted to celebrate both a holiday and a birthday.
But then, the unthinkable happened.
I slipped up. I SLIPPED UP GUYS.
I was having way too good of a conversation with a girl and got caught up. I noticed her taurus tattoo and immediately mentioned how much I loved it.
A totally embarrassing, “OMGGG, what an awesome tattoo! I’m a taurus too!” type of moment.
I’m a WHAT?!
There’s no way today could be my birthday if I’m a taurus.
I was busted.
But ya know what? Homegirl didn’t even make the connection. We kept on for a few more minutes about how awesome tauruses are without anyone mentioning a damn thing.
Who knew tauruses have Halloween birthdays?!
This was a sign guys.
I’m clearly meant to celebrate my birthday whenever the heck I want while traveling, so I’m ganna roll with it.
I don’t mean any harm. I just wanted people to go out and party with me. I don’t go asking for free drinks and try to say no if they come my way – though they’re sometimes a nice perk.
My hostel pals back in Canggu knew what was up.
They realized that birthdays are just a good excuse for a party.
And I’m always down for a fun time. Being mischievous is just a perk.
See you at my next birthday! 🎉