[Photo credit: Flickr user Fly For Fun]
While travel as the act of discovering a new place can be exhilarating and exciting, travel as the act of being in transit can be annoying and exhausting. Long lines, delays, rude people and all the frustrations that go along with moving large amounts of people from A to B can make the physical movement involved with travel something to really complain about. But this Thanksgiving, I wanted to take a step back and think about all the travel-related things that we do have to be thankful for.
I know, I know, we spend a lot of time griping about all the things the airlines are doing wrong. They run late, they lose our luggage and they charge us extra for everything, but without them, traveling would be a completely different experience. Thanks to the airlines, we can leave home and arrive on the other side of the world within a day – a single day. That kind of immediate access to a far off country was unfathomable just a few decades ago. Back then undertaking a long-distance journey meant days, if not weeks spent on a train or a trans-Oceanic boat ride. And for all but the rich, that kind of travel was cramped, uncomfortable, dirty, and often dangerous. So I’m thankful for the airlines, for making long-distance travel quick, affordable and safe, and for allowing us to travel the world with relative ease.
I’m very grateful to airline staff, especially to the good pilots (you know, the ones who aren’t too drunk, crazy or horny to do their jobs) who do everything in their power to get us all to our destinations safely. I’m thankful for mechanics, baggage handlers and ground crew who work hard and are rarely recognized for it (Seriously, just think about the massive coordination it must require to sort, load and unload all that luggage and you’ll be surprised more isn’t lost). And I am very, very thankful for the cheerful flight attendants who probably put up with far too much crap from stressed and cranky fliers, yet still manage to serve my vodka and cranberry drinks promptly and with a smile.
Chris Elliot may think it’s time to get rid of the booze on flights, but as a nervous flier, this girl needs a cocktail or two to help stay calm during rough flights. I’m even more thankful for the handful of carriers that still offer free drinks on international flights. You guys get my business over an airline that charges for drinks, every time.
It’s easy to lament the high cost of traveling or that fact that we never seem to have enough vacation time to fulfill all our travel dreams. But the truth is, for most middle-class workers, travel is very attainable. With a little bit of penny pinching and some attention to the budget, most people can scrape together enough money for at least one vacation per year.
Before the internet, booking a trip was a difficult process, one best left to the professionals. But the invention of the internet and its easy access to nearly unlimited information has changed the way we plan trips. Now anyone can go online, search for the best flight fares, book tickets, search for a hotel, check the reviews, and make reservations all with a few clicks.
I’m thankful for my American passport.
As an American, I am free to go almost anywhere in the world knowing that in most cases (with the exceptions of North Korea, Cuba….and maybe Paris), I’ll be welcomed with open arms. People in many other countries aren’t so lucky. For people of many other countries the Visa process is a long, complicated and expensive one, one that usually ends in rejection. Would-be visitors are turned away from our (and other) borders every day. Because we fear they may be terrorists or because we wonder if they might not plan on ever leaving, we refuse to let them in. But it’s very rare that we ever hear of an American tourist being denied entry to another country. It’s one thing I take for granted, but I’m very thankful that I have the freedom to travel the world as I please.
I’m thankful for my husband and my home.
I enjoy traveling by myself and with friends, but I love traveling with my husband the most. So I am thankful that I not only have a person in my life who loves me and supports my travel habit, but who also loves to travel as a couple with me. And I am thankful that after I venture out into the world, I have a loving home to return to.
So today, and everyday, let’s remember all the little things we have to be thankful for!
On Thanksgiving Day in 2006, Patrick Powers was at the beach in Orange County, California feeling thankful for the weather that allowed him to surf. The movement of the surfer embodies a surefooted pleasure and determination as the water arcs above his head. Very well done!
Here’s hoping your Thanksgiving brings you a sure footed pleasure whether you’re catching waves somewhere or sitting in a easy chair waiting for your food to digest.
If you have a shot to share, send it our way at Gadling’s Flickr photo pool. It might be chosen for a Photo of the Day. Powers’ photo is one of the four in our pool tagged “thankful.” It also appeared under “thanks.”