As we head into Thanksgiving, take 10 minutes to appreciate all your amazing travel memories with the Grateful Challenge!
This morning, I woke up and – like clockwork – grabbed my phone to check the forecast for this week’s trip to the Adirondacks.
This afternoon, I mapped out the best time to get a cheap flight to Iceland for another peek at the Northern Lights (obsessed much, Stephanie?).
This evening, when sharing said Northern Lights plan with Frank (the BF), we brainstormed where to go for sunshine and sand because apparently I gravitate toward ridiculously freezing, bundle-up destinations.
As travel lovers, we’re constantly consumed with what’s next, feeling more stressed about how to get everywhere than satisfied with all the places we’ve been. I’m beyond guilty of this (obviously), and I don’t anticipate my mindset changing anytime soon.
But this week – or at least part of this week, if we’re being realistic – I’m forcing myself to be grateful. Instead of waking up with the urge to find flight deals, I’m going to relish in the amazing travel experiences I’ve had thus far.
Introducing the Grateful Challenge, Travel Style.
One of my favorite business blogs, Spin Sucks, runs an annual Grateful Challenge around Thanksgiving, inviting readers to spend 10 minutes listing out all the things in life they’re grateful for. It’s an eye-opening, warm-and-fuzzy exercise that leaves you feeling just plain happy.
I’m bringing that happiness here to The Wanderlost Way, and (in just a short time – yay!) will be setting my timer for 10 minutes to list out all the travel experiences I’ve already had that I’m thankful for.
But it’s not just for me – you’re invited to the Grateful Challenge, too! If you want to participate on your own blog, on Instagram, or in the comments below, please do so! I’d love to hear about your favorite travel memories as we head into the most gratitude-filled week of the year, Thanksgiving!
OK, now for the fun part. Timer’s at 10.
Grateful Challenge, Travel Style!
- Riding camels into the Sahara Desert
- Seeing 15+ shooting stars while sleeping in the open air in the Sahara
- Teaching little children in Morocco English – gah, they were SO cute!
- Going on my first solo trip to Ireland
- Defying all logic and bike riding solo through the Gap of Dunloe in southern Ireland
- Getting absolutely lost for hours in the pouring rain after accidentally exiting the Gap of Dunloe onto the Ring of Kery (oops)
- Finding my way home – again, all alone – and taking the hottest shower of my life
- Meeting Crosby, Stills & Nash while studying in Ireland
- Watching a wildebeest give birth during a safari in Tanzania
- Climbing up the ridiculously challenging Mt. Meru in Tanzania – my first big, multiple night hike
- Backpacking through the Smokey Mountains with complete strangers during my freshman year of college
- Teaching English to little Tanzanian kiddos during college
- Going to the Olympics – the REAL Olympics – in London!
- Watching the U.S. Women’s National Soccer team take gold in the Olympics over Japan
- Antelope Canyon – need I say more?
- Visiting the Grand Canyon with my mom, she used to work there when she was in college, so it was fun to see it (and hike it) with her
- Exploring the gorge in Ronda, Spain
- Getting way, way to buzzed in Ronda, Spain – but hey, when craft beer bartenders are talking about the rise of craft beer in Spain, you listen. And drink.
- Moving to NYC! I’ve had so many amazing travel experiences and opportunities just being here!
- Staying in a bubble hotel – and seeing the Northern Lights – in Iceland. (Remember… I’m obsessed with Iceland…)
- Hiking behind the waterfall and through the stream to see Seljalandsfoss and Gljúfrabúi
- Going with Frank on our first big road trip together through Iceland – that’s when you know it’s really meant to be
- Stumbling upon the Secret Lagoon in Iceland. What a find!
- Spending all morning watching lounging seals in the Lost Coast
- Hiking up above the Hollywood Sign in LA
- Having a mini Italian romance while studying abroad in Rome – so cliché, so fun
- Seeing my dad for the first time in a month in Africa – this is his favorite place in the world, and he showed up during my last week as a volunteer teacher. Was incredible to be there with him for the first time!
- Having our whole family in Africa at the same time … and it was the best safari yet.
- Watching flamenco in Seville, Spain
- Living in Dublin for a month
- Living in Rome for a month
- Living in Morocco for a month
- Living in Tanzania for a month
- Living in London for 3 months
- Living in Boston for a year
- Sitting on the Green Monster during a Red Sox game – #SoxGoals
- Taking Harry to the beach on Thanksgiving – that puppy loves the ocean!
- Getting blessed by the pope in Rome
- Accidentally trespassing on farms with my family in Switzerland
- Climbing Ireland’s highest peak, Carrauntoohil
- Trapeze class in NYC
- Six marathons, including NYC!
- Watching baby cheetahs for at least an hour in Tanzania
- Having a cheetah actually jump on our car in Tanzania (we survived…)
- Scaling a mountain in Alyeska, Alaska, because the snow was much worse than we had expected (and by we, I mean my parents, too – they’re pretty adventurous)
- Whitewater rafting on a level five in Alaska (again, the ‘rents joined us)
- Watching the Queen’s Jubilee flotilla in London
- Getting to London for the first time with Frank on our first international trip together
- Fort Lauderdale with Frank for our first trip together ever
- Winning a trip to the North Fork on NY for a weekend of wine and revelry
- Swimming with dolphins at the Dolphin Research Center in the Keys
- Catching a view of the Milky Way in the Lost Coast
- Getting stuck in a Spanish celebratory parade on our way out of Segovia
- Finding the famous – and secret – nun pastries in Toledo, Spain
- Sleeping in a castle – HAUNTED castle – in Scotland
- Sleeping in a Lighthouse Hotel on the coast of Scotland
- Staying at a remote villa in Umbria, Italy, and waking up super early every morning to explore the grounds
- Meeting Bill Clinton at a work event in Oxford, England – and getting a special Secret Service pin from his peeps
- Taking Harry on his first big road trip to Portland, Maine!
- Visiting the uber remote town of Civita di Bagnoregio in Italy
- Exploring the abandoned Tintern Abbey in Wales
- Waking up to the dog at our B&B actually having puppies during our stay in Wales
- Experiencing the naked bike parade in Cardiff, Wales
- Mapping out my first big road trip start to finish in Iceland – I had free reigns, and that was pretty liberating … and a sign of what’s to come
- Going with strangers on 4-wheelers through the Sahara Desert at night – and making it out alive
- Visiting the original site of Woodstock with my dad, mom & brother
- Landing my first travel article about – what else – the Bubble Hotel!
- Sitting on the tiny, mountain-view balcony in our Ronda apartment, letting myself think differently, explore life/ career options, and eventually embrace the idea of an unconventional, free life, which I’m working toward now…
OK, so I cheated and gave myself upwards of 30 minutes, but seriously – how fun is that? The Grateful Challenge is a great reminder that we all need to take a step back and appreciate the incredible stories we’ve created. I mean, at the end of the day,
Why make memories if you don’t take the time to remember them?
If you’re participating in the Grateful Challenge, Travel Style, don’t forget to share your post in the comments below or with me on social! Cheers to a grateful, happy Turkey Day!