A Moment of Thanks
This post marks roughly 3 months of me writing on this blog. At the time I started it in April I was feeling a bit lost and cramped in my life. I re-imagined my blog as a creative outlet. Three months later I am able to look at this and be thankful for it. I am ever striving for a better life and a more fulfilling life. To see and experience great places and meet wonderful people. Be influenced by the beauty of this world and resist being influenced by its ugliness.
I will continue to do these things and pursue a better me. But at this moment, I am talking a deep breath and thinking about and being thankful for that which I already have seen and experienced. I seem to often write on doubt, fear and frustration in life and travel. This post is about inspiration and gratitude.
“If I get it all down on paper, it’s no longer
Inside of me, threatening the life it belongs to
And I feel like I’m naked in front of the crowd
Cause these words are my diary, screaming out loud
And I know that you’ll use them, however you want to” – Anna Nalick, Breathe.
Thanks for the places
As I strive to see more in the world, I stop to think of the places I have been graced enough to see. Just in the past three years I have seen so many amazing places that I never dreamt I would see and see them in such wonderful ways. I remembered on Friday when putting together my post on Venice that trip and all of the feelings that it brought back.Even as I feel the urge to see more based on all of the inspiration of the travelers that I have met, I do not want to lose sight of the places I have been to.
I have been on the train literally all over Europe. From Zagreb and Budapest and Vienna on the East to Madrid on the west (24 hours from Germany for Christmas and New Years). From the Mediterranean coasts in Italy and France to Stockholm in the north (March was cold). Add a bus trip from London to Scotland and several cross ocean cruise ships, my list of places is by no means shabby. I seem to have a talent for night trains that I also give thanks for.
This past May, my parents came to visit me. There was some long discussions of where we wanted to go together. I finally convinced them to go to Italy with me. It was an amazing trip. Especially to see my dad, a self-described country farmboy, and the joy on his face climbing around ruins and towns that were founded nearly 2000 years ago. As he said once, he never imagined growing up on a farm that he would get a chance to climb the leaning tower in Pisa. I realized then (although it took me a while to realize that I realized it) that I take for granted that I can see and go to the places that I want to. I take travel for granted sometimes. I have been changed by the travel in a good way and I want to give thanks and respect this.
Thanks for the people
Here are many groups to be thankful for. Firstly all of the people both travelers and locals that I have met along the way. There are too many to list here. I have made so many friends, some that I still have contact with but most that I will never see again. This extends from the friendly bar owner in Bologna who was worried when we skipped coffee one morning. To the unnumbered friendly people I have talked to on train trips. To other travelers and their stories. I have been affected and inspired by you all.
A special thanks to the locals that deal with us travelers. Thank you for being in the wonderful places we visit. Thanks for giving us the sense of your home and sharing your culture with us. I know we can be intrusive sometimes, but thanks for being kind to us.
Secondly, the wonderful community of bloggers that I have ‘fallen in with’. It is uplifting and great to see the shared passion of travel that we have. I love that I have been able to help out some with my technical skills. Often I am overwhelmed by the amount of interesting people living their dreams. Mostly I am proud to be a part of a community like that. A special thanks goes out to Suzy Guese for giving me the first kind and encouraging word about my project. I have since received many, but her’s was the first and I am thankful to her for that. I hope I can pass that along to others.
And lastly, the great group of locals that I now am a part of as an expat. I have picked to make my home here and be a foreigner amongst you. Saturday night was at a graduation party of a friend. It was so wonderful to see the friends I had made and realize though I was the only foreigner there, no one treated me as such. In this group I add the wonderful expat community that has helped me adjust to my chosen life.
Thanks for the moments
- Standing under the portico listening to jazz from the street musicians and watching people run around as it begins to rain.
- Sitting in the sun with a beer.
- Being stuck on a night train in the middle of nowhere with no clue where you are.
- Being lonely anywhere.
Not all of the moments are necessarily positive at the time, but they all add up to the story we tell of ourselves. I am thankful for all of the moments that make up my story.
So I am taking a moment to be thankful for the life I have and remember how strong I actually am. In remembering I want to remind myself to share this strength with others; whether that is offering help in cyberspace or patiently leading my parents through Italy. It is important for me to remember the wonderful things that have been before and not always strive for the new without gratitude of that which has been.
I like many others have been working on a Bucket List of things that I want to do. I think I should also add a Bucket List of things that I have seen and done.
So I ask you as a reader to take a moment and be thankful of the places you have seen, the people you have met and the moments with them. Appreciate that life whether a nomad or an armchair traveler. Please leave a comment, especially if this post has slipped into arrogance(that so wasn’t the intention).
December 24, 2010 @ 8:14 pm
Now that I’m in my 60’s, with a mobility disability and limited funds, I am so thankful for the traveling I did earlier in life. I think there are 2 (maybe more) choices about how I view this situation:
1. Be grateful for the trips I took & enjoy those memories
2. Focus on what I can no longer do, perhaps with sadness and resentmsent
I’ve opted for #1 above. I’ve learned that living in gratitude enriches my life and enhances my happiness.
December 25, 2010 @ 4:17 pm
#1 is a very good choice, especially in comparison to #2. Thank you for the comment. Reading it reminds me of a game a friend and I play every so often. We give thanks for the misery in our lives. Thank you for the horrible weather. Thank for the chaos that drives me nuts. Even if we don’t really mean it, somehow just the act of saying thanks for it helps.
July 21, 2010 @ 6:43 pm
Indeed. I thank you for your support as well.
Yeah, I expect I will put together a post on my travel with parents at some point. It was a neat trip and eye-opening thing.
July 21, 2010 @ 6:41 pm
Yeah, the point is to not stop traveling or stop wanting to; but just to see the steps we have already taken and appreciate them.
July 20, 2010 @ 8:12 pm
Nice positive reflection Andrew and thanks for including me among your thank you!. I have enjoyed watching your site grow since getting your email a few months ago. I'm happy to see travel is working out for you as well. I love your comments about appreciating travel after seeing your Dad throughout Italy. Often times it takes someone who hasn't seen what we see daily to put all of the wonder of travel into perspective.
July 20, 2010 @ 6:11 am
Loved the post. I especially like the bit about realizing how you take travel for granted sometimes. I think everyone — traveler or not — can relate to that in some way. I am constantly reminding myself to be thankful for what I have seen of the world, especially when I'm feeling restless about not being able to travel. I've already seen more than most people in my family, and I've still got a long life ahead of me! Taking time to step back and be thankful is always a good thing.
And happy 3-month anniversary of the blog!