When I look back over the past year, there is so much to be thankful for. For starters, there are the many trips, which offered an amazing variety of experiences. I feel so fortunate that in the past eleven months I have among many other things:
- Touched a dolphin’s impossibly plastic skin,
- Returned to downhill skiing after an absence of nearly 20 years,
- Looked for whales in the Pacific Ocean,
- Ridden in the back of the Griswold Family Truckster,
- Soared over London, and
- Played with a manatee.
The greatest privilege in all of this is that my boys were my constant companions. Every experience I have is made richer and more tangible by sharing it with them. Now in my ninth year of traveling with children, I’ve come to realize that the increase in joy when you are all having fun and sharing something new is not a simple equation, but is exponential. That I get to so routinely share in this joy is the ultimate blessing of my life.
Another blessing, sill more fully realized this year than in the past? The relationships I’ve discovered in the online community. There are so many other travelers out there doing interesting things and sharing them in words and pictures that when I am not actually traveling myself all I have to do is turn on my computer to take a tour around the world. I’m especially grateful to the many bloggers who have participated in Monday Dreaming series this year.
And of course, I’m not limited to simply reading other blogger’s writing (much of which you’ll find by clicking on the links in the Travel Sites I Love section to the right) but get to connect with them on Twitter or Facebook. Their commiseration, enthusiastic support, and genuine friendship are just as great as if we were all regularly hanging out together in a coffee shop – even if some of us have never met in IRL (as “in real life” is called on the Interwebs). It is these relationships that led in the past eleven months to the creation of Best Family Travel Advice, a project of which I am deeply proud – where else can you go to ask questions of real traveling parents and get them answered in such helpful, witty, and realistic was? To have been invited partner in this site with so many other amazing family travel bloggers is another thing for which I daily give thanks.
And finally, today I’m thankful for the means and the opportunity to give back. I like to think that by helping to build a village in India through Passports With Purpose I am empowering other mothers (and fathers of course) raise their children in ways that make them feel thankful too. And it also makes me happy that the prize I am offering will give another family the chance to have the kinds of experiences together that I so routinely share with my children (more gratitude: thank you Smart Destinations for your generous sponsorship!) Whether you are celebrating Thanksgiving this weekend or not, I hope that you will take the time to stop by the donations page and browse the prizes, maybe choosing a few of them and giving what you can to this project, a demonstration of what can happen in the real world when people come together virtually.
I share this post as part of the Family Travel Holiday Blog Carnival at Best Family Travel Advice. What have you got to be thankful for? Please feel free to stop by there and share your link.