Tomorrow is my first Thanksgiving in the United States since 2008 and although it is not going entirely to plan (my mom is currently hospitalized with appendicitis) I am still excited to celebrate my favorite holiday with my family. While I mostly love Thanksgiving because it a good excuse to gluttonously consume large amounts of stuffing and gravy, it’s also a nice time to reflect on the good things in life.
While I try to be grateful on a daily basis, it’s easy for me to get bogged down by the day to day of life and forget just how much I have to be thankful for. Today, the day before Thanksgiving and before the too much turkey haze sets in, is the perfect time to sit back and think about how lucky I really am.
What am I thankful for?
I’m thankful for my American passport.
I am not really proud to be an American. In fact, there are many times that things happen in the US that make me slightly ashamed of the country my blue passport represents. But I will be forever thankful that I was born in a place that lets me travel freely through so much of the world.
When I applied for British visa I really discovered just how much privilege an American passport affords me. The United States is considered a “low risk” country by the UK and because of this I was exempt from supplying a lot of addition documentation, including bank account information. When I talked to a Vietnamese friend about her experience I found out that she not only had to send in thorough documentation, but also be interviewed by someone from UKBA who asked questions that seemed to be completely irrelevant to border control.
I’m thankful for the people in my corner cheering me on.
I have some really wonderful people in my life, especially my female friends. I’ve been fortunate enough to meet and befriend so many supportive women over the past 10 years. My friends are fairly segmented- college friends, study abroad friends, au pair friends, Korea friends, London friends, and travel friends- but the all have a few things in common. They aren’t here to judge. We all want each other to be successful. From tough love conversations over a pint in a pub to being supportive of decisions they really weren’t happy with but understood, I know I have a lot of people who want me to do well. The same things that I want for them. I’m thankful that even though we aren’t physically near each other, these women are always only a phone call, text, or Facebook message away.
I’m thankful for my health.
I am particularly lazy when it comes to taking care of my body. I’m not really proud of it, but it’s the truth. I rarely work out, eat whatever sounds good at the time, and drink too frequently, but somehow through all of that I’ve stayed healthy. This year I had my first health scare. For about two weeks this summer the doctors though I might have an autoimmune disorder. Although it wouldn’t have been something terminal, it would have drastically changed my life. Additionally, I knew I was moving back to the United States in two months and wouldn’t have health insurance. I was terrified. Luckily, the tests proved this be to wrong but it made me realize I had been taking my healthy body for granted. Maybe I’ll try to throw in some running to my calendar next year…
I’m thankful I always have a place to come home.
My traipsing around the world hasn’t always been something my parents were extremely happy about, but every time I come home they welcome me back into their house with open arms. And an open pantry and refrigerator. When they moved earlier this year my mom even made me up a bedroom and put all of my books on shelves. While I’m trying to figure out my life they are letting me live with them rent free and use one of their cars to drive to my internship everyday. Thanks, parents!
And most of all…I’m thankful I’ve been able to see so much of this beautiful planet.
I recently wrote about how much travel has changed me, and for all of those reasons I will be forever thankful that I began this journey five years ago. Traveling, and writing this blog about my travels, has allowed me to meet so many like minded people who make me think that packing up all belongings and moving to random cities I’ve never been to isn’t that crazy. I’ve also been able to interact with people around the world, people from so many different countries and cultures, and from them learn about life.
While so many travel blogs and websites will say that everyone can travel if they really want to, I know this is not true and I know I am lucky that my passport, my country, my upbringing, and my support system has allowed me to be able to live this lifestyle. I’ve worked hard to fund my travels, but I am thankful that the other circumstances allowed this hard work to be enough.
What are you thankful for this year?