A year ago we didn’t celebrate Thanksgiving. It wasn’t a conscious decision, we simply weren’t around. We were a few months into our around-the-world journey and enjoying spring in New Zealand. We hadn’t even realized it was a holiday back home until we glanced into a pub window and noticed an American football game on TV.
Thanksgiving is one of those holidays that doesn’t really transfer to other countries, particularly since it occurs on a Thursday. (Well, except for Canada, since they have their own Thanksgiving in October.) Elsewhere in the world it’s just another working day.
Unfortunately, in some places around the world we visited, it’s also just another day without clean drinking water, or free elections, or pollution-free skies, or safe trains, or even something as innocuous as Facebook because it’s banned by the government. So much of the world doesn’t have the things that we in the United States take for granted. Yet people we met in those countries without these conveniences seemed to take it all in stride. They were warm and friendly and had their own national pride.
This year we’re back in the States, and will be partaking of the traditions of eating too much turkey and pie, watching football and catching up. We’ll give thanks for family and friends and food and health.
But this year we’ll also take a moment to give thanks of a more specific nature—for all the comforts and freedoms we Americans enjoy. We’ve visited many wonderful places in the past year, enough to see that the U.S. is far from perfect. But it will always be home to us, and it’s pretty damn good.
No matter where you are in the world, we wish you a Happy Thanksgiving.