Soon, many of you will be sitting around the dining room table giving thanks for family, health and home. Should travel experiences be included on your Thanksgiving Day gratitude list? I think so. Here are 5 reasons why I’m thankful for travel.
Travel makes me fearless
I never thought I’d be paragliding over Maui’s tropical landscape, zipping over the jungle in the Mexican Yucatan, or squeezing my way through a tight spot in Arizona’s Lower Antelope Canyon. Thanks to travel, I not only lived to write about these experiences, but I thoroughly enjoyed them.
I’ll admit, they made me more than a little bit uncomfortable—especially the zipline—but at the end of each of these adventures, the empowering sense of accomplishment inspired my next one.
Travel reminds me that the world is beautiful
What a beautiful world! I say this to myself every time I hike in Glacier National Park or snorkel in the waters of French Polynesia. Observing a new scene in the outdoors opens my eyes to nature’s intricacy. I’m compelled to stop for awhile to take it all in.
But, you don’t have to travel to some exotic location to enjoy nature’s beauty. Visit a local park or a destination just a few miles down the road from wherever you live. I guarantee you’ll find outdoor beauty that will inspire you to hike, bike, paddle, snowshoe and more. And did you know that enjoying nature is a natural stress reliever?
Travel shows me another side of history
On a visit to Japan, Alan asked our guide to discuss World War II events from the Japanese perspective. I’ll never forget the guide saying, “History is really ‘his’ ‘story’ and I’ll tell you mine if you’re willing to listen with an open mind.”
Hearing a different version of history isn’t always easy, but it exposes us to a new way of looking at world events. We come away with the realization that the world’s citizens are more alike than different—with the same needs and desires—no matter where we live.
Travel teaches me new skills
My arm was sore, and I didn’t catch any fish, but casting for trout in the Missouri River near Helena, Montana, taught me the appeal of fly-fishing. Now I understand why fishermen and women sit in a boat all day or put on waders to stand in a cold, mountain stream à la Robert Redford in A River Runs Through It.
Fly-fishing is not an activity that I would have pursued if it hadn’t been for travel. Will I do it again? You bet.
Travel deepens my relationships
When Alan and I hiked on 14th July Glacier in Norway’s Arctic region, we shared the wonder of exploring a frozen landscape that was alien to us. We maneuvered around the same rocks, peered into the same crevasses and marveled at the same frozen scene. It’s a travel memory that Alan and I talk about to this day.
Experiencing a trip with a spouse, friend or family member builds a bond that will last forever. Long after the trip, sharing travel memories will bring you right back to that special moment on the beach in Hawaii or to the Alaska cruise that you took with the grandkids. Nothing can ever take that bond away.
So when you’re sitting around the Thanksgiving table, don’t forget to share why you’re thankful for travel.
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