There are so many things in this world I’m thankful for: my faith, my husband, my family, my friends, my LouDog.  My life is overflowing with blessings and when I sit down to think about all that I already have I feel overwhelmed and even selfish for always wanting something more.  I feel that that is the human condition, and we must always fight for contentment.  How does contentment fit into the life of a traveler?  I’ll have to get back to you on that.

In the spirit of Thanksgiving I wanted to share with you things that I am so thankful for in regards to travel and what I have gained from it.

First, I am grateful for my husband who is almost always willing to go adventures and misadventures with me.

Annie Jer Train

Second, I am thankful for my family and friends.  Without them being a support network who is willing to take us to the airport at the wee hours of the morning, and pick us up ridiculously late at night none of this would be possible.  They take amazing care of my sweet Loudog and check in on our house.  For them and their sacrifices, I am thankful.


Third, I am so grateful that I live in a place that people choose for their vacations.  Living in Charleston, South Carolina is amazing and it makes coming home from a life-changing trip a little bit sweeter.

St. Michael's Church, Charleston
St. Michael’s Church in Charleston, South Carolina

Fourth, through travel you get to experience so much more of God’s creation and it is amazing.  Seeing the Swiss Alps in person does not compare to pictures–you are so absolutely overwhelmed by their vastness.  It is like standing in the middle of a painting.  Seeing a monkey in its natural environment is worlds different from seeing one caged at the zoo.

Swiss Alps
Swiss Alps

Fifth, you get to meet people that you would have otherwise never knew existed.  I have met some of the kindest people on our travels.  People that want you to know their country, their town, or their pub.

Venice Waiter
Our Waiter in Venice

Sixth, you get to learn something about other cultures in a way that textbooks could never teach you.  Reading that in Germany dinner is served in courses, and going to dinner and not leaving until midnight are two very different things.  Reading that the Irish love to drink, and drinking with them and laughing the night away are two very different things.  Seeing the high fashion of France in a magazine, and walking the streets of Paris are two very different things.

Pub Crawling in Ireland
Good Times in Ireland

Seventh, food!  I am a Southern girl.  I like to eat; I like to eat a lot.  Traveling allows you to try some of the most interesting and authentic cuisines.  The food in Italy is so rich; I can still taste it creamy and seasoned to perfection.  Then, washing down each bite with Italian wine that is less expensive than Coke.  Going to a country and having no idea what you are ordering and sometimes being not so pleasantly surprised.  My favorite food so far might be hand-crafted Dulce de Leche in Costa Rica.  I could go on all day.

Esther with the delicious wine
Esther with the delicious wine

Eighth, I am thankful for my husband’s great job.  After a year of employment, his company’s employees are granted unlimited vacation time.  An amazing perk, right?!

Ninth, you never run out of new things to see.  No matter where I go ,what I see, or what I do, there will always, always, be something new and different to experience.  (The contentment problem!)

Like Perhaps a Squirrel really, really wanting to jump on your face

Tenth, it forces you to grow.  Maybe I didn’t want to take the dank bus in Paris but there was no other way to get from A to B unless I wanted to spend my entire day walking.  I have been forced to learn to use my camera so I can share my world with you.  I have learned bits and pieces of a number of new languages.  I have learned to embrace what different cultures consider to be the finer things in life.

Grow, get it?! heh heh

This is my cheesy little post about what I’m learning along the way.  Writing this has made me think on how incredibly blessed I am.   I have traveled way more than some and compared to others I have barely scratched the surface.  I’m ok with that.  I’m hoping that in the years to come I will continue to add stamps to my passport and hopefully inspire you to get out and travel.

Happy Thanksgiving!





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