Living in the Now: Travel gratitude

Sam Chillingworth, a high school classmate, friend, and now featured writer in the inspiring book series Wake Up… Live the Life you Love, recently passed on a book he contributed to called Living in the Now. At the time, I had just returned from a two-month trip to the mainland and Peru, and (as I usually do when I return from a trip) was experiencing a bad case of travel hangover.

There’s nothing like reading a collection of inspiring essays about embracing life. Some of the tips I found were so helpful in putting life — and, more importantly, travel — in perspective that I thought it would be worthwhile to pass on some life and travel wisdom to ye faithful Gadling readers. Seeing that the new year is so quickly approaching, these tips should generate some good ideas for your 2010 resolution(s). On Sunday, I outlined how to travel in 4D, and yesterday we learned about the 80/20 travel rule. Here’s my third and final travel tip to get your new year started on the right foot:

It’s easy to forget just how lucky we are to have the freedom to travel — and to have the freedom to choose what we want to do from day to day. My friend Sam wrote in his essay about living in the now, “[Gratitude] has allowed me to travel to more than 15 different countries, experience adrenaline-filled adventures that would blow your mind, and brought me the forgiveness, happiness and love I’d once longed to receive.” Being thankful for life itself and the great possibilities that exist from one day to the next is the first step toward embracing all of the treasures along the journey of life. When you’re on the road, it’s easy to be present and totally engaged, and it’s even easy to be thankful for the gift of travel itself. The true challenge, I find, is the gratitude that should exist even after your trip is over.

After some very difficult personal struggles, Sam began to appreciate life by watching the sun set into the Pacific Ocean every evening: “I would be there no matter what I was doing, even if all I saw was the final moment.” When your travel sun sets, there’s another new one on the horizon — another beautiful journey that begins each day. Be grateful for every moment you have to experience it fully.

Part of my plan for the new year is to say thank you for the gift of freedom, travel, and life. We are all fortunate souls for having all three.