Here in the United States it is Thanksgiving Day. I thought about not posting this week, since I wasn’t sure if folks would be too stuffed full of turkey and…well, stuffing…to read. And then I thought, “perhaps a post that challenges the readers to engage, think and respond, will snap them out of tryptophan stupor.” I hope the list and questions below get you thinking about those things, organizations and people in your lives who make your travel possible, enjoyable, and unforgettable.
So without further ado, I am thankful for:
My freshman roommate, Simone. She fueled my wanderlust, and convinced me to take a trip to Ireland with her after our freshman year. It was my first trip that required a passport, and my first significant trip unaccompanied by a chaperone. Who inspired or inspires you to travel?
My parents, who, to their credit, when informed of my various travel plans have never asked me if something will be dangerous. Instead, they ask if there’s anything I’ll need. Sometimes, they ask if they can come along, and every so often I say yes. Their tacit encouragement and confidence in me makes all the seemingly impossible so much more possible. Who boosts your confidence and makes your adventures possible?
My cars. I love to road trip. I love to travel by automobile, because it allows you to really see the country you’re driving through, and provides the most freedom for detour (oh, how I love unexpected detours). My current car, a 2007 Honda CR-V, has yet to be tested on a significant road trip; it has only taken me as far as New York city and back to Boston. I have no doubts, however, that many adventures await us. After all, it has heated seats and lots of cargo space. What is your favorite mode of transportation while traveling? Why?
The American Automobile Association. Ah, the times we have had, the scrapes you have gotten me out of, the free maps, guidebooks and passport photo service. What service has saved your life/cash/trip?
National Park rangers. Every single ranger I have ever taken the time to speak with has seemed to love their job. Their enthusiasm is contagious. Whenever I go to National Parks, I seek out the rangers and ask for advice, or I find the ranger-led hikes and science talks. I’ve never been sorry I did. Who are the strangers you seek out to brighten/enrich your day while traveling?
The National Civil Rights Museum, Memphis, TN. This museum changed my life. I was there alone, walking through at my own pace with an audio tour. The emotional impact of this museum cannot be described. I’m glad I was there on my own, because not having anyone to talk to forced me to reflect within myself about the civil rights movement, its meaning for my life, and how I needed to be an active participant in the continuing quest for lasting, meaningful equality for all. What sight/place has had the most unforgettable impact on you emotionally, intellectually, or physically?
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!
My Thanksgiving Thankfuls:
-My friends here in Sao Tome, who all gathered yesterday to celebrate a holiday that many still don’t quite understand, but knew it was important to me so came anyway.
-Ned, a really amazing man who has made so much change in Sao Tome and on top of it all opens his house up to volunteers in constant selflessness.
-Weird coincidences, like seeing how small the world is when my boyfriend’s party guest at Thanksgiving actually knows one of my best friends from home via the Internet. How sometimes I find myself strangely prepared for the challenges I come across in life, as if someone had already planned it all out for me.
-Fresh, delicious pineapple, plucked right from the plant.
-The ocean, and being surrounded by it everyday.
-Everyone back home who sends me love and support. Even miles away I am showered with confidence in my project and in myself. Even when I have nothing to offer…all these people do is give.
-One Laptop Per Child, a controversial, complicated project that is, albeit very messily, bringing light to thousands of children around the world.
-GO GIRL…which has allowed us travelers of the world to unite!
Transportation: We love sailing (Beneteau: 37, 41, 43) but also have VERY fond memories of many train rides, some rental cars (our Holden Commander in Australia), and I have nothing but good things to say about international rentals from Avis (we had a wreck in Melbourne and they totally took care of us).