I’m assuming everyone within the travel community will be coming out with a similar post on this Thanksgiving Day, however in honor of my first Thanksgiving as a US Resident, I wanted to acknowledge why I’m thankful for travel.
It’s a ridiculous concept to even try and imagine the kind of person I would be, or path my life would have taken, if it weren’t for travel. Every single relationship I currently have, has been influenced by my time abroad. Every friend I have lives overseas, scattered across 196 countries of the world. I met my current husband abroad while we were both traveling alone through the vastness of Africa.
This is more than just being thankful for the 5 hour friends I have met along the way – these relationships, my closest relationships, would not exist had I not traveled.
Travel has become my way of life. It’s how I originally discovered who I was, and is how I continue to discover who I am. While I spent 5 years completing two college degrees, I believe I am truly educated because of travel. The lessons I have learned from the road are far more applicable to life than anything I learned from a text book.
Travel taught me to be accepting of all people and opinions. It taught me how to survive by myself – taught me to become street smart. It taught me that kindness exists in the world, and that strange cultures should be explored and not judged. It continually teaches me new skills, and has opened my mind to new perspectives on history and politics. I will forever be curious, forever be intrigued by different cultural norms, and forever have a thirst for world knowledge and new experiences.
Travel has made me fearless, and for that I am truly thankful. I have lived a life full of more adventure than most people dream of – and I’m 25. I’ve skydived over the Swiss Apls, nearly broken a leg white water rafting through the dense jungles of Costa Rica, walked along the mighty Elephants of Africa and summited the highest free-standing mountain in the world. Nothing is impossible, and I know that I have the courage and determination within me to achieve absolutely anything I set my mind to.
I am thankful for travel as it taught me to value life and continues to make me humble. Traveling will open your eyes to how large the world truly is, and how many people co-exist on this earth. We’re one of 6 BILLION people, and you realize quite quickly that the world doesn’t revolve around you. This much needed reality check continues to keep me grounded and down to earth. Travel forces you to realize what a small part in this world you actually occupy.
But more importantly – Travel makes me thankful.
While today is Thanksgiving – because of travel I am now thankful each and every day of my life. Thankful and appreciative to have been born into a life of opportunity and luxury. Thankful for the clothes on my back. Thankful for the roof over my head. Thankful for each daily meal.
Not once in my life have I experienced true hunger. Not once in my life have I experienced homelessness or true need. Not once in my life have I been truly helpless. Growing up I had access to education, to healthcare, and I have a wonderful family who loves and supports me.
The amazing opportunity to travel through poverty stricken lands really gives you perspective as to what is truly important in life, and I am incredibly thankful for that perspective. After travel you realize just how many comforts we take for granted, and this realization, the ability to appreciate the small things in life and not confuse “want” with “need”, is the beginning of true happiness. You realize your “problems” really aren’t that big on the true scale of things.
I want to thank my family for pushing me to travel, for pushing me out into the world and allowing me to do so alone. I am truly thankful for all of the opportunity I have been blessed with in this life, and I am truly thankful for the ability to travel.