Current Events, Travel Narrative

Thanksgiving 365: A Heaping Helping of Travel Thankfulness


Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.  After all, the star of Thanksgiving is and will always be: food.  And I like food.  But I also really appreciate the idea of a day set aside to simply give thanks.  No presents required.

I love thankfulness so much, in fact, that I remain thankful throughout the entire year.  And this year, I had a lot to be thankful for.

This Thanksgiving, I am thankful for all of the in-the-moment thankfulness I experienced, which occurred while:

-Spending an evening with soon-to-be coworkers in a hotel hot tub in Miami, watching planes take off and land and knowing that soon, I’d be on many of them. (So, so many of them…)

IMG_0363-Making eye contact with a large man dressed in a vinyl bondage outfit as he threw strands of plastic easter beads into the crowd gathered at the intersection of St. Ann and Dauphine.

-Sailing past the Statue of Liberty on the balcony of my room aboard a brand new cruise ship.

-Sharing a meal with fellow travel writers at an unexpectedly hip supper club in northern Ontario (did I mention the tandoori risotto?)

-Watching the sun set over the St. Lawrence from the ramparts of Old Quebec City.

-Driving Skyline Drive on the Fourth of July while listening to the ‘America Rules’ country station on satellite radio.

-Walking the grounds of Canyon Ranch in a white, fluffy bathrobe enroute to my massage and facial, post-way-too-many-fitness-classes.

Saloon-hopping in Fort Worth, Texas–post boot-shopping and pre-steak eating (and I don’t even like steak.)

-Looking up at the Chicago skyline from a boat on Lake Michigan–and then, weeks later, driving north on Lakeshore Drive for a similar-yet-different perspective.

-Enjoying breakfast in Virginia Beach and lunch in the mountains of Virginia on the same day (also while sipping wine on the patio of every vineyard in central Virginia).

-Driving the Pacific Coast Highway solo from San Francisco to Carmel  (aside from the part where the cop-on-a-motorcycle pulled me over for using the GPS on my phone.)

IMG_0897-Running my fingers through the sugar-fine, super-white sand in Gulf Shores, Alabama while watching the shadows of gulls sail over the blue, blue water.

-Landing in Boston and driving north until I hit sailboats and seafood shacks.  And then, you know, eating some serious seafood.

-Surviving my first Los Angeles highway driving experience in style (I loved my Dodge Challenger).  And then returning again the following month, victorious and unafraid (but in an Nissan Altima.  You can’t win the rental car game all the time…)

-Hiking and climbing a thousand feet up the side of a butte in northern New Mexico in cowboy boots (and not breaking an ankle–or worse.)

-Celebrating Dia de los Muertos and flying through the jungle on a zip line in (old) Mexico.

-Finally making it to Disneyland.

During all of those experiences–listed in chronological order because I have an odd form of OCD–I felt thankful in the moment.  I also feel thankful every time I look back on every trip I’ve taken, whether that be while uploading my photos, clicking through my Instagram account (I am very, very thankful for Instagram) or while writing about my adventures here on The Suitcase Scholar.  And of course, I’m very thankful for all of the trips I will take in weeks, months, and years to come.  I almost don’t need a special day to give thanks.

But I do need stuffing.  And cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie.

Which brings me to today.  Today is the day before Thanksgiving, otherwise known as The Single Day of the Year When I Avoid All Travel.  According to my trusty pal Tripit, I’ve traveled 31,842 miles this year, most of that in the last five months.  And today, I’m writing this from my desk chair in my home office.  I am wearing pajamas.  And for that I am also deeply, deeply thankful.

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