7 Things This World Traveler is Thankful For

Today is Thanksgiving in the United States today, and while you can take the boy out of America, you can’t take the American out of the boy. So in that spirit I thought I’d list the things I’m thankful for this year.

Air Travel – Given how much we complain about airlines and airports it might seem odd to be thankful for air travel, but I am. We often forget how easy it is to travel nowadays. In real terms, the cost of air travel is as cheap as it has ever been. The notion of a “jet set” which is a rich elite who can afford to fly is passe. Today, almost anyone who saves their money can fly to almost any corner of the world. If it wasn’t for the advances in air transportation, world travel would be much more difficult.

The Internet – If it wasn’t for the Internet, this blog wouldn’t be possible (duh!) I wouldn’t be able to contact and meet people all around the world. I wouldn’t be able to communicate with my friends and family no matter where I am. It also lets me follow the Green Bay Packers in real time almost anywhere I am. Among the many things the Internet has touched, one of them is certainly travel.

My Chaco Sandals – It has to be really cold for me to not wear my sandals. I wore then when I crossed the Arctic Circle and I’m thinking of wearing them in Antarctica. I’ve walked so many miles in them they are beginning to wear out. Wearing sandals means I don’t have to wear socks which means less laundry.

My Immune System – I’ve had two cases of 24-hour food poisoning since I’ve been traveling. That is really the only sickness or illness I’ve suffered while I’ve been on the road. I don’t use hand sanitizer and I don’t take prescription medication. I don’t walk around like Howard Hughes hypochondriac. I’m thankful I have a strong immune system and that I’ve avoided having any serious accidents.

My Luck – In almost 5 years I haven’t been robbed nor have I lost anything major. I haven’t had any of my camera or computer gear seriously damaged. I try to be smart about things when I travel, but I also have to admit that I have just been very lucky.

My Assistant Amy – My long time friend Amy began helping me this year, and I can’t tell you how valuable she has been. While I have been out tramping around the world, she is the one who has been dealing with tourists boards, companies and hotels. She manages my schedule and basically tells me where to go (and I’m sure she often wants to tell me to go to hell). I am extremely thankful to have her in my corner.

You – Believe it or not, all of you who have been following along on my travels help keep me going. Every two weeks when I send out my email newsletter, I get messages of support and encouragement in return. All the emails, tweets and Facebook comments mean a lot when I’m sitting in hotel room in a foreign country by myself.

It really does mean the world to me, and I thank each and every one of you.