Today I’m celebrating 26 years since I discovered travel. Seven continents, 128 countries, and 3 passports later (plus one temporary emergency passport and a few different hairstyles later), here are some of the things that I’m most grateful for:

  1. a globe full of the most amazing friends that a girl could have. (yes, this includes you)
  2. exposure to a world full of cultures that has taught me that my culture is not the center of the world.
  3. the ability to close my eyes and transport myself almost anywhere
  4. having a passport that gives me freedom to travel most places
  5. the wisdom to understand that not everyone has these freedoms
  6. experiences that have challenged the idealism for a better world that I started with
  7. faith to hang on to a sliver of idealism anyway
  8. the opportunity to stay awhile in places and get to know the pineapple sellers
  9. my profound gift of charades to build these relationships and compensate for my inability to become fluent in any language
  10. the resiliency I learned by watching individuals overcome conflicts, disasters, and life shattering circumstances
  11. an international community that supported me when I needed to learn how to practice resiliency myself
  12. mountains climbed, seas swam, cities explored, deserts crossed, all the experiences had
  13. good health that lets me keep going
  14. the Thai healthcare system that provides the healthcare to me that my US insurance doesn’t
  15. the most amazing travel companions
  16. learning to love traveling by myself
  17. a renewed appreciation for home
  18. learning the skill to build a home anywhere with a teacup and carry on
  19. the ability to remember that clean water, bathtubs, spinach, strawberries and good coffee are a gift.
  20. recognizing my privilege
  21. grace to understand that I’ll always have to be learning more.
  22. a career that supports (and enables) my wanderlust
  23. that I got to travel before cell phones and can read a map and a compass
  24. the magic of airline miles
  25. that I’m not finished yet (I easily have another 25 or more solid years of travel to go)
  26. 200 million photos that someday–when I’m 100– I might have time to look at.

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