What I’m Thankful for when Traveling

Before I start this post, yes, I know I’m belatedly writing this a day after Thanksgiving. Yes, I know that I’m chronically behind when it comes to things. However, I figured this is as good a time as any to write this, especially if you all back home are in food-induced paralysis and need something to read. As we all took the time to acknowledge what we’re thankful for in our lives (for me, it was my family, friends, coworkers, and my amazing girlfriend), I’d like to take the time to state what I’m thankful for when it comes to the realm of traveling. So, in no particular order, here’s what I’m oh so happy for.

  • Having easy access to many, many countries, thanks to my American passport. At the risk of sounding elitist, my country of birth entitles me to travel visa-free to most of the world. A lot of my Russian students bemoan the fact that they have to go through a ton of of paperwork/bureaucracy just to get visas to travel to places outside Russia, no matter how long they’re abroad for. Just hearing that makes me thankful for something that many citizens around the world take for granted: the power your passport has in literally and figuratively opening up borders.
  • I would like to express my gratitude for the world. Yes, the world. There are so many places out there to explore, with so many amazing people to meet. From time to time I may grumble about the cost of airfare, lodging, and excursions (aka first world problems), but those expenses are absolutely dwarfed in comparison with the enlightenment that comes from the act of travel. After all, travel is the one thing you buy that makes you richer. So,  I just would like to express my sincerest thanks for how humbling it is to be part of an amazing, gorgeous, awe-inspiring world.
  • Not too long ago, I wrote a piece about why hostels should be your first choice of lodging when abroad, and part of that was because of the incredible people you meet. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I want to reiterate that point by saying that meeting such superb people whilst on the road makes travel that much more gratifying. To me, experiences in cities can be enhanced or diminished by the people you’re with, and I’m ever so thankful for encountering so many radiant souls. Cheers, guys!
  • The last thing I want to express my thanks for is technology. Without it, I wouldn’t be able to stay in touch with friends (some of whom I met on the road) and family. I remember back in 2013 in my hostel in Plzen almost breaking down due to being away from home longer than any previous point in time, but having a lifeline in email and social media saved me. For sure, there’s a narcissistic aspect in sharing your awesome pictures you took (hi, Instagram), but on the flip side, as one friend put it, you’re able to share a window into places not many others are able to go to. To conclude this post, having a chance to alleviate homesickness via technology is what pushes me to travel more and to truly live my life to the fullest. For that, for everything, I am grateful.

 

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