Photo Credit: Flickr: Moyan Brenn
Travelers aren't always able to spend time with family around the holidays.
I am over 2,000 miles away from my immediate family on Thanksgiving. Later this holiday season, I'll be serving people their Christmas and New Year's dinners in the restaurant where I wait tables. When other families gather close to carve the turkey, I'll be the attentive server cleaning up after my guests' picture-perfect Hallmark moments. I don't feel resentment, though; rather, I'm thankful to be earning money to afford me the opportunities to travel far and wide.
Around the holidays, people become soft and pensive about what they are thankful for. When family and loved ones are near, it's hard not to feel warm and fuzzy inside. We reflect upon the fortunes that have blessed us. We are grateful for good food and better company.
For those travelers feeling the pangs of loneliness during a holiday away from family - whether you're across the state or across the world -- remember something to truly be thankful for: How lucky you are to travel.
Travelers are fortunate. They are able to experience different cultures, near and far. Travelers are also lucky in that they are resourceful. Unless a trust fund recipient or a lucky lottery winner, travelers often have to use their own ingenuity to carve out a living on the road. That means honing a skill or being willing to learn a new one.
With ingenuity comes sacrifice. Most people gravitate toward friends and family during the holidays, but travelers are slaves to their curiosity about the world. Spending the holidays away from home and donating time and energy to a new people or culture becomes the new norm.
It's a hard pill to swallow, logging onto Facebook and seeing your family celebrating togetherness while you are off on your adventure. Remember, travelers, that you are living your passion. Most people dream of the day they might be able to live a life of passionate pursuit. Travelers do it day in and day out, whether or not it's a holiday.
Often, many people don't possess the gusto to listen to their heart's desire for adventure. Perhaps non-travelers are a victim of circumstance: a static job, familial obligation, or an illness. We might not be able to understand the reasons why people don't travel. But we know why we do.
By being granted the opportunity to reinvent ourselves and re-examine our values in every new place we visit, we discover our purpose in life through travel. Often, though, the evolution of self requires sacrifice.
We may struggle to be alone and far away during the holidays, but remembering the big picture helps: We are lucky enough to constantly explore new places with a burning curiosity and a fire in our hearts.
The truly fortunate return home after time away to a caring family. By bringing home stories about the road, travelers are able to give the precious gift of travel to those they love the most.