Happy Thanksgiving! Like many, I also like to spend the day reflecting on everything I am grateful for in the past year. However, with my 3 month international trip coming to a close in 10 short days, I thought it was fitting to specifically thank those who have helped me along this journey:
– To my Spanish family in Madrid, Ramon in Barcelona (thanks to Abi), Shirin’s notes on Paris, Bart in Belgium, Larissa in Amsterdam (thanks to Hallie), Robert in Berlin, Rob’s notes on Prague, Matthew in Poland (thanks to MaiLien), Urbano in Florence, Ale in Milan, Neetha in Japan, Hannah in Hyderabad, and Arun and Lydia in Chennai, THANK YOU for letting me crash with you, showing me around you awesome city and taking care of me, and/or just giving me some great tips on places to go or things to see. My travels have been incredible because of you guys, and I am blown away by how much people are willing to help me out, especially friends of friends that don’t know me at all.
– To all the amazing people I met while backpacking that will probably never read this, thanks for letting this solo traveler into your circle of friends for a bit and watching out for me. From girlfriends reminding me how to safely cover my drink in a club in Barcelona, to Cliff giving me photography tips in San Sebastian, to my Turkish friend Senay that I met in Spain reuniting with me in Amsterdam for an epic day, to a group of fun Aussies I met in Spain who always had my back, and a hilarious group of Brits that were studying in Beppu.. I had such a blast with everyone! And I didn’t even name them all. This trip has given me a whole new perspective on how kind, warm, and friendly people really are. Its easy to forget this when you are in the same daily routine with the same circle of friends (I know in NYC, meeting new people seems so daunting!) Hope to see you kids again soon (and I’m confident it’ll happen for some – Australia 2012 perhaps?)
– Thanks to my friends in Cali and NYC. Even though I’m sure some of you thought (and still think) I was crazy to quit my job and leave town so quickly, I’m really glad to have had your support with this. I also appreciate the many encouraging texts, emails, etc that I got from old co-workers and friends. Es gets a big thanks for helping me downsize what I was packing to fit into my small North Face backpack, and for being my emergency contact (and lawyer, if I need it!) Oh, and of course to Tim for deciding to join me for part of this trip in Japan – those 2 weeks were hilarious.
– Lastly, a big thank you to my parents for not freaking out when I sat them down and told them what I wanted to do and said “I hope I get your support on this, but I want you to know that if I don’t I’m probably going to do it anyway.” Sure, it took a little bit of time, and a lot of explaining and reassurance from my sis (thanks, Neefs!), but they eventually got on board with the idea and supported me throughout the months. Besides, I still blame them both for giving me the travel bug.
Sorry for the sappiness, but this was a big chapter for me and I relied on so many people throughout. And it is Thanksgiving so I can get away with it! Still more traveling to go though after India – December has a lot in store back in the States. 10 days left here in India, lets see what trouble I can get myself into.